Long has it been said that people buy people but actually the same can be said for brands. What I mean is that increasingly consumers are looking for brands that align with their values and their personalities and therefore the more a business can create a product, campaign or company with character the better.
Starting with marketing materials
The way that marketing literate is designed impacts on whether someone will pick up the piece in the first place and the way it is written will determine if someone will read it. The tone of voice will then either appeal to someone and make them receptive to the message or not.
This is then often followed up by a call, an email or a meeting, all providing a further insight into the personality of a business. This is where people come in and why it’s important that those you employ believe in your product or service in the same way that you do.
As a PR agency working with many different brands across a range of sectors, we always make it clear to our clients that we have to understand and buy into whatever it is they are offering in the same way that they do.
We are essentially an extension of our clients’ marketing and sales functions and there is nothing worse than listening to someone drone on knowing that they are either reading from a script or don’t really care about the company they represent.
Then there is social media to consider in this mix and that can be a whole new headache. Sharing the same content across all platforms is a classic way to fall at the first hurdle. Think about it, each channel has been created to differ from each other and even if they target the same audience, the functionality they offer can bring a range of benefits to a business, if they are used correctly.
The harsh reality is that some channels don’t work for business. It doesn’t matter how long you spend on them or what budget you assign, they just won’t engage with the people you want to communicate with, so don’t use them. Simple. Put your efforts into something that will deliver a return on investment.
The truth is that marketing isn’t brain surgery. Fundamentally, any marketing campaign, whatever channel you use is about creating an affinity between product and person. It’s a complex tapestry of ‘touch points’ and many have their part to play but there are only so many hours in a day.
A planned launch
The reality in business is that when a company launches they often have the luxury of time. They are able to take a step back and to think carefully about their marketing which includes design, message and preferred channel. Then, when they become more established, all that goes out of the window.
They no longer have time for the ‘fun stuff’ it’s all about keeping machines running, staying on top of suppliers, invoicing at the end of the month, managing staff and of course nurturing and growing the customers base – but the relationship no longer becomes a focus.
What a huge mistake!
It’s like making friends with someone and taking the time and effort to become BFF before then turning your back and walking away – because you’re just too busy – but then expecting them to be there when you need them.
They may be. But when it comes to loyalty and brands, you have to remember, for the benefit of this analogy, there is a pub full of friends just waiting to take your place and that’s why it’s so important for businesses to put marketing – in all its forms – firmly on the agenda.
It has always baffled me that when times are tough – or as has appeared to be the case over the last 18 months turbulent – the first budgets that people pull are those that have been allocated to marketing.
I appreciate that factories need to keep running, staff need to be paid and that keeping the metaphorical plates spinning is a priority, but that doesn’t mean you should stop communicating and take your eye off what is arguably the biggest asset a business has: its reputation.
There are few things more exciting than seeing the launch programmes from a new start-up, particularly those that come from former entrepreneurs that have made the mistakes only to come out of the other end stronger and more determined than ever.
Putting marketing front and centre
What is most interesting is that many – or I’d even go as far as to say most – of these businesses put marketing front and centre. Yes, they may be clever with their budgets, but communication and a strong launch campaign with sustainable messaging and a longer term plan is never far from their boardroom table.
For all those businesses out there that are looking for the winning formula – those that are looking for the one thing that they feel is missing – I can almost guarantee it goes back to personality because a company with no character is like a shop window with no display.
In a time when high streets have never struggled so much, yet start-ups that are eager to please are on the rise, it’s imperative that businesses think carefully about their budgets, where they are putting their cash and what they are getting in return.
Marketing will deliver if managed well and whether you choose to appoint in-house or to work with an agency, a good solid campaign that you can get excited about and that delivers against objectives will make all of the difference.
Create your character, underpin it with the values of your business, inject some personality and start to engage with people. You’ll be surprised at what can be achieved when you think like a start-up and go back to basics.