Coming up with a brand identity is one ball game and sustaining over the years is completely a different battleground for most brands. To maintain the identity while being in touch with the users requires frequent communication through emails, advertisements, social media activities, billboards and other Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) tools. Marketing frequently puts organizations at the risk of overdoing it, which could lead to misinterpretation at times. We have seen brands going wrong with their positioning numerous times as they jump in at every social media trend.
We will discuss some ways to keep the brand identity in good shape even after years of brand establishment.
You don’t want your users to forget your presence even if there is no business happening. Numerous brands go out of their way to remind people of the previous engagement and future prospects when there is nothing happening at present. When the world was under rigid lockdowns and we stopped moving then also brands kept the communication going. Brands like Myntra were seen sending the newsletters giving positive vibes even when there was no scope of buying and delivering the products. As a result, the wish list kept getting bigger and when the markets reopened people ordered their favourite products.
Source: Times of India
Sometimes, it becomes crucial to stand out and create a buzz around the initiatives you take as a brand. Doing this helps in maintaining that brand image, which was developed by the brand managers. Microsoft has come up with a new Taj Mahal based office in Noida that corresponds to the heritage of India and creates a talking point for every person. Taking initiatives like these helps strike a chord with the local audience and creates human connection going a long way.
Logo placement and hygiene
A brand serious about its brand guideline and image will never let anyone use its logo, inappropriately. Even the slightest of tilt, which is not in correspondence with the brand guideline is not acceptable if you look at the big picture in terms of brand identity. The most important brand asset for any organization is its logo, and its usability on numerous occasions is always mentioned in the brand guideline. Logo options like square, round, rectangular, night mode one, logo to be used with other brands etc. are mentioned along with the dimension range, colour pallets, fonts, typography and several other instructions. A company must make a strict policy against inappropriate brand asset usage to minimize the chances of moving away from the established brand identity.
To achieve the milestone of successful brand coherence, organizations need to make sure that every component of the brand including products, services, communication, appearances, CSR, should fit together and come out as a distinct, single unit carrying brand identity at large. Taking an example, if you look at the strategy of ‘Volvo’ you will see that every aspect they portray is related to safety and security. Due to the same reasons, Volvo is even joked as the brand of elderly because it’s so safe while driving, and youth prefer aesthetics over safety in most cases. This brand coherence never hurts Volvo as they are targeting a specific segment, satisfied with their offerings.
The target audience
You will be making that innocent yet sizeable mistake if you start branding for every target group in the market. Every brand, irrespective of its size, goes for set target audiences that correspond to its product or service. In the same way, branding is also targeted at every instance irrespective of any other variables. To bring in more perspective, take an example of ‘Royal Enfield’ and its outreach programs that are always targeted towards their target audience of bikers, who love adventure sport and activities related to bravery, and athleticism. The below tweet validates our statement; Royal Enfield was promoting its product ‘Interceptor650’ when the post was shared by a user. You may see the person with a surfboard along with Royal Enfield, which corresponds to their positioning of fearless lifestyle. Every other post will also offer you a similar perspective.
Standing with a cause
Every company has some values and beliefs that are the driving force of their organization. On similar lines, brands must be seen taking a step forward for the real causes that are crucial for the public. If brands start speaking up for the cause, a lot changes in the perception of the administration as well as the public. Like many other brands, Netflix spoke out for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ initiative with a black background in an Instagram post. Not only that they have made numerous contributions to the cause like, co-founders of Netflix donated $120 million to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
Social media interaction
Social media is the most efficient and dangerous way of positioning yourself for building the desired brand identity as it doesn’t require much budget nor a team of many human resources(mostly). At the same time, it leaves a tremendous amount of space for misinterpretation and weak communication. Many brands have failed at times, the founder of Dolce and Gabanna posted a photo of sneakers that had the text “I’m thin & gorgeous” and was not taken well by the Internet users. He was seen as body shaming, tarnishing their brand image back then. We should learn from brands and only communicate after checking for several interpretations.
Following a consistent tone
Every single communication medium, be it a presentation, comment on social media, tv commercial or a public appearance, has a tone of your brand. This tone is to be embraced with utmost care so that it is consistent every time. Your brand must be having some values, approaches and opinions about the world, the same must be reflected in every single statement being made. Successful brands can maintain consistency from top to bottom in their communication, even the sales executives follow the guidelines if they are laid out for the employees. Here is the example of Coca Cola and their approach of using the brand colour ‘red’ everywhere possible that gels perfectly with their brand identity.
Robust approval process
Amongst every step to be taken strategically to position a brand, the approval mechanism stands out due to its critical impact on the outcome. The company may execute a perfect guideline, but implementation is in the hands of several employees being human and subject to honest mistakes. To minimize these instances, there must be a resolute approval process in place so that every single bit gets checked numerous times before getting out in the public. We have seen ‘Samsung’ tweeting from ‘iPhone’ and several instances like these, which could have been avoided if a strong process was followed. Though this could impact the timelines, the brand must make sure that only the responsible people are the stakeholders for maintaining the accountability and quick turnaround related to brand communication.
For an organization, this goes without saying that customers are the most integral part. Every activity is centred to attract more customers and retain the existing ones. Often brands forget to service the customers effectively by neglecting a complaint or failing to resolve their issues. When that customer starts tweeting, brands come in action and come up with a solution straight away. It would be better on the part of brands if they resolve the issues before customers start to criticize them on social media.
At the start, every brand looks to ace the game of branding and maintain consistent brand identity, but with time, they lose track and deviate from the original positioning. There could be several reasons, but sustainable communication strategy lacks in most cases. Often, companies aim for the highest peak and end up as the brand with no identity of their own because sustaining the same brand language over the years demands constant and novel efforts. The brand should take a reality check at regular intervals and aim for the achievable positioning to grow consistent with their brand language.