In the past, brand building was mostly about advertising and sales promotions – outbound campaigns designed to interrupt consumers, grab their attention and deliver well-crafted messages. Today, strong brands are developed through deeper engagement with customers. This deeper engagement is driven by creating experiences with your brand through the many touchpoints of the internet, social media and mobile.
Traditional communications and digital media are often segregated into separate departments or even separate cities, making integration all the more difficult. Increasingly consumers expect a seamless brand experience as they navigate between channels – from the web to mobile to in-store. Marketers need a sophisticated, holistic organizational approach to achieve that seamless integration.
Marketing departments are more comfortable with what they can directly control – creating outbound communications and using traditional media – than with receiving unfiltered messages from customers and responding appropriately with relevant content. Clearly, in a marketplace where consumers drive the conversation, listening and responding to customers becomes critical.
An increasing number of shoppers are using brick-and-mortar stores as product showrooms before purchasing online from lower-priced e-tailers like Amazon. Not only that, shopper satisfaction at retail stores is declining at a rate of 15 percent per year, according to IPG’s Media Lab. Traditional retailers and brand marketers need to develop seamless shopping experiences that promote discovery in-store and continue the sales process at home or on-the-go. They need communications solutions designed for a multi-channel world that flows from the web to mobile to in-store.
The challenge marketers face today is making sense of mountains of data collected at multiple touchpoints. What’s needed is a way to measure the effectiveness of marketing investments in a systematic way that aligns with the customer's experience and allows for actionable decision-making.
A good starting point is getting senior management buy-in, followed by a concerted effort to include managers across the organization's divisions and functions. The assembled team should then focus on clearly communicating objectives, positioning and values. A Brand Book should be created and shared, supported by a strong marketing information system allowing stakeholders to use important brand assets, codified communications and other information.