The importance of developing a strong, singularly focused brand cannot be understated. Considering that today it takes shoppers a whopping 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a brand, maintaining your unique voice in the marketplace is more important than ever before.
But, as the internet continues to evolve and expand, the proliferation of channels increases pressure on brand managers who are trying to be true to their brand while leveraging these new opportunities at the same time.
The question is: how do you achieve both? The answer may well lie in brand activation.
What is brand activation?
Brand activation is a holistic and strategic approach to engaging with your audience.
With a wide range of online platforms at their disposal, retail and b-to-b shoppers today are more actively involved with brands than ever before. The research they conduct is more extensive and exhaustive. The resources they use to learn about you – from online reviews to comments on Amazon to video unboxings --- continue to grow.
Buying cycles are getting longer and longer, too. In fact, studies show that the vast majority of buyers in the retail and b-to-b sectors are 60%-70% of the way through their purchasing journey before they talk to a single salesperson. Back in the “dark ages” before the internet, the salesperson would have been their first call.
Buying habits are also changing at light speed, so it’s important that you update your retail and b-to-b strategies to include brand activation. The key to a successful activation strategy is to make sure you are meeting your audience where they are on their buying journey. And that takes content. Lots and lots of content.
Content is king
Savvy sellers understand the importance of engaging with their audience online. But not many understand how to do it effectively. A lot of companies see content development as an afterthought – put a few posts on Instagram each month, say a few funny things on Twitter, and you’re done. There’s no strategy. No coordination. And as result, content is inconsistent and sporadic, engagement is confusing and compromised, the brand is diminished, and sales are ultimately lost.
If you want to put out content that is meaningful to your audience and meets them where they are in their buying journey, plan ahead. Here are some steps to start with:
- Define your goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve with your online content? Increase sales? Gain leads? Build loyalty? Understand your goals and then execute a plan to achieve them.
- Select the best digital channels. Not all channels are built the same or offer the same opportunities. Demographics differ. Buyer engagement differs. Choose channels where your content meets/matches the audience’s expectations. And remember, just because a channel exists doesn’t mean you necessarily need to be on it. TikTok isn’t for everyone.
- Coordinate your content across channels. The same message isn’t going to be appropriate for every channel. People going on Twitter, for example, aren’t looking for case studies and deep insights. By the same token, those going to LinkedIn probably are. While the content you post on each of your selected channels will usually be different, it’s imperative that your brand voice remains consistent across the various platforms you choose.
Do’s and Don’ts
Now that you have your plan in place, it’s time to develop your content. Here are some best practices to consider.
- DO create one plan for all platforms. You don’t need an Instagram plan AND a Twitter plan AND an Amazon plan. You need one plan that integrates all your content across all platforms. By doing so, you can create synergies that enable your target audience to get the information and engagement they are expecting when they expect it.
- DON’T let the platform influence your brand. Be true to who you are wherever you are. Your brand was built on consistency of personality, tone and promise. Don’t abandon that.
- DO reuse content. Work smarter, not harder, as the saying goes. Content can and should be repurposed across different platforms, when appropriate. The practice builds brand consistency, enhances the audience experience, and saves you time.
- DON’T create content just to have content. Make sure your content is meaningful to your audience. Make sure it meets their expectations and needs. Make sure it aligns with your overall strategy.
Strong brands require thoughtful brand activation. Your audience expects you to provide the information and content they need when they expect it. This requires a comprehensive activation strategy that aligns your messaging across all platforms. Your content must be meaningful, it must move the audience along their sales journey, and it must align with your brand.
In our next post, we’ll take an in depth look at the different opportunities the various online channels provide for your brand activation strategy. Stay tuned.
Kreber Has the Expertise You Need
With more than 100 years of experience, we’ve built a reputation for our hard work and dedication to delivering creative ideas and positive outcomes for retail and B2B clients. As an independent content marketing agency with a history of thinking ahead, we create and grow opportunities that allow our partners to thrive. We take pride in our mission to Think, Create, and Deliver compelling content that’s visually stunning, innovative, and purpose-driven within the creative market. We use our century’s worth of industry knowledge to help our clients save time and money, execute successful campaigns, utilize technology, and handle the strategy, planning, creation, management, and distribution of advertising and marketing content. From print and digital content marketing to social media marketing and everything in between, we’re the advertising agency of choice to bring any vision to life.