Maximizing Brand Potential: Where Brands Fall Short

in Fern Lee by on July 11th, 2012No Comments

In today’s buzzing world of social media, brand awareness is a distinctive voice that cuts through the rest of marketplace noise. Almost every branded business has a Facebook and Twitter presence, as well as a mobile-optimized app or site. Although many big-name companies should be applauded for their strong digital existence, many are also ignorant to the fact that they are falling short of their full branding potential. In this blog post, I provide a variety of ways to capitalize on branding – through a medley of rich Facebook engagement, vocal Twitter feeds, and booming mobile offerings – in order to strike the most resounding chords.

When it comes to online branding, the category leader is undoubtedly Facebook. According to a recent study conducted by Ask Your Target Marketer, approximately 85% of Internet users have a Facebook profile, while only 49% of users attain Twitter accounts. Likewise, 58% of Internet viewers have “liked” a brand on Facebook, while merely 29% follow a brand on Twitter. When it comes to using the new  Facebook version, called Timeline, make sure you are exploiting all means of the social networking site for brand recognition. Here, engagement is everything. Focus on the quality of interactions with fans, not the quantity of strangers that can “like” your page.

It is far more important to have 200 Facebook fans that communicate, reliably buy your products, and share their approval of your brand through word of mouth, versus 2,000 fans that idly show up to your page, acting in total silence.

When applying Facebook content, go back to the basics. Internet goers are fast-paced consumers with no time for errors, slow speeds, or lengthy paragraphs, so simplicity is key. Thus, it is important to post high-resolution photos, short, targeted web links, and succinct status updates that drive home your brand message. With the advent of Facebook Timeline, viewers can see your whole story from birth to today, so you need to always execute the fundamental steps of CRM: appreciate happy customers, swiftly take care of complaints, and answer all consumer questions.

In today’s increasingly fast-paced tech environment, more and more consumers are purchasing products via mobile. When branding, make sure your logo presentation is crisp and your content is concise on your mobile site, allowing for easier navigation and reader retention. Consistency is key: make sure all colors, fonts, and styles of your brand are identical to your online and offline presence. Maximize your mobile conversions by including mobile coupons, QR codes, and store-specific prizes to enhance the on-the-go experience that mobile offers.

Testing is another major aspect of branding success. My suggestion is to use Facebook metrics and analytics to explore how fans’ react, and what they are particularly intrigued by. Conduct a study to see what hours your target audience generally checks Facebook, in order to gauge the peak times to send out videos, photos, and posts, containing new trends, facts about the company’s history, or exciting new deals and prizes. In the whirring world of Facebook, potential consumers can view your page just as quickly as they can exit it, so you must make a stirring first impression.

Take REI, the renowned outdoor apparel and equipment retailer. Although REI acts as a leader in its field and places a significant amount of energy in its social media presence, Direct Marketing Magazine demonstrates how the company still falls short of its full branding potential. According to Will McKeand, associate creative director at Wunderman, REI could implement Facebook Places to allow customers to record their adventures and get together with other travelers. Similarly, REI could use Twitter to create outdoor hunts or challenges, motivating consumers to use and continually buy more of their products. Jay Joyce, president of The Idea People, also contends that although REI successfully displays product photos and descriptions on its Twitter page, it is not maximizing its social presence due to its lack of engagement with its followers’ responses. With more than 400,000 likes on Facebook and over 120,000 followers on Twitter, REI could raise recognition and potential revenue by taking advantage of clear avenues for further branding.

Twitter is another fortress for building a brand image. Here, always remember that etiquette and professionalism are of the utmost importance. On Twitter, let your brand’s personality shine through by developing and maintaining your brand voice. It is all about “Joining the Conversation” with the chatter akin to your product or service message.  For example, known for its red-hot colors and modern décor, Virgin Atlantic is recognized for its fun, in-your-face personality.  One of its latest tweets reads: “It’s the book that everyone’s talking about, but would you read it at 30,000 Feet? #FiftyShades‬.” On the contrary, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, known for their luxurious amenities and dignified clientele, tend to tweet with a more sophisticated, worldly air: “Crème de la Crème Sweets, exclusively by our pastry team can be ordered all year!” Next, make sure you recognize your company’s purpose. Are you tweeting to promote, converse with customers, sell, or execute a combination of these effects? DisneyPixar tends to use their Twitter page as a promotion tool to endorse upcoming films, while the more localized, homey nature of Starbucks uses its Twitter to interact directly with customers.

Finally, remember that less is more. Targeted messaging is crucial to brand recognition. Recent research conducted by Zmags demonstrates that Macy’s increased use of digital while in-stores has “inspired” buyers. This has enabled the company to avoid flooding customers’ home mail and email with promotions and special offers. With such simplified, focused marketing, stores such as JC Penney have begun to adopt similar methods of basic branding. Today, digital is the support system for a strong traditional presence, further increasing brand awareness.

Of course, there is no magic formula ensuring a perfect harmony of tools for brand awareness. However, following these steps will help your business build a well-defined brand, whose voice will continue to resonate with your company through increased customer satisfaction and profits.  While every piece of the marketing pie must be touched, never forget that traditional marketing plus digital strategies like the thoughts above, create a robust ROI.

At THOR Associates we build more profitable relationships every day for our clients. THOR understands your landscape and the integration of technology for management, best practices and the ease of information exchange. THOR gives you the tools and strategies to compete more efficiently. THOR Associates always focuses on a solid return on investment. THOR Associates creates and executes programs that deliver dollars to the bottom line.