Six Strategies for Evolving your Brand

2014 strategic brand development

The economy is improving and as 2013 came to a close, I believe all of our clients finally felt this to be true. It is now our collective job to get out there and capitalize on the reemergence of commerce. Do you have a plan to convert more business in 2014?

We’ve been working with many of our clients on setting that plan. Here’s six of the most common strategies we’ve found on the “To Do” list for 2014.

1. Create a targeted direct mail piece
Everyone got the memo that print is dead and guess what—now our inboxes are jammed full, and our mailboxes are sleepy. We see this as a great opportunity to make some noise! Create something exciting, memorable — heck, even beautiful — for recipients to open! Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a nice card in the mail? You’ll be surprised how many recipients will tell you later that your mailer is still out on display, keeping you top of mind.

2. Create a more effective presence at shows
Is the trade show dead? Across nearly all industries, attendance is down. People are still attending, mostly to see existing colleagues and connect within their community. However, what about the people you haven’t met yet? When was the last time you actually put some effort into meeting new people at a show? If you’re an exhibitor, consider a contest, in-booth activity, or promotion off of the floor itself. Make your time there worthwhile — a little extra polish could make all of the difference. Chances are all the other participants are just as bored as you and hungry for a change.

Prucheek Tradeshow In-Booth Activity from MSLK on Vimeo.

3. Improve sales and retail support
Across the board, we find that brands are neglecting their sales and retail teams with regard to their marketing outreach. These people are on the front lines! Make sure that they have the tools, scripts, and incentives to truly help you move your product! Sales/line sheets and hand outs with clear, memorable, and compelling promotional stories really help. The key here is a process of continual simplification, reducing the information until it’s easy to say, and easy to share. Create the message and make sure they pass it on! You’d be surprise how often a simple quip or phrase can help someone else sell a product on your behalf.

4. Improve inbound web traffic with organic SEO
It’s almost old news by now, but still something that needs to be noted once again: millennials do their purchasing research online. The question you should then be asking is: what are they searching for when they go looking for a brand like yours? An assessment of the words you use most frequently, as well as the words you want to be found under is of key importance. You should also research the words and phrases your customers use when searching to find the best opportunities. This strategic process will help you evolve the words you should use — and the words to lose — in your marketing efforts.

5. Connect with customers in person
In contrast to those searching online, there’s still a strong undercurrent of business done by virtue of personal connections. Relationships matter now more than ever. Create opportunities to personally engage with your customers in 2014. That could be via an in-person event, a lunch, or even just a phone call.

Not enough time to connect with everyone one-on-one? I love promotions that bring the social media conversation offline into in person touch points. One of the best ideas I saw in 2013 was Nordstrom identifying products in store that were fan favorites on Pinterest.

nordstrom pinterest

6. Identify and secure a group of brand ambassadors
Everyone wants to build a word-of-mouth following on social media, but gone are the days where you can do it alone. You’ll need a network of brand ambassadors to truly penetrate the social media noise. You can attract these ambassadors by focusing your efforts on a select group of fans, developing them into well-honed brand ambassadors. These are the fans who will be singing your praise in your absence.

Consider targeting a small, narrowly defined group which all share similar challenges and interests. Their similarities will help you focus your efforts in how you reach this group as well as help them bond and converse with each other.

Start Fresh
2014 is a great time to get out there and “do.” We suggest you start doing as soon as possible. It’s easy to be active when all of your competitors are out there doing the same things. However, that’s the time when customer attention is most fragmented. Seize these opportunities during this sleepy period and you’ll get more bang for your buck!