How do people feel about your small business compared to how they feel about your competitors? What types of emotions are engendered when customers and prospects think about your company? The answers to these questions form the essence of your company brand. In the pre-digital age, when brand promotion required putting ink on paper or picking up the telephone, small business owners had limited marketing options. These options included business cards, brochures, and direct mail. Today, you need to promote and protect your brand across the vast digital landscape. This means you need to build in healthy doses of social responsibility and brand accountability. In the digital age, brand marketing is highly competitive, and more important than ever.
Your digital brand is visible across multiple channels on a global scale. This 24/7 exposure requires you to keep your marketing messages tied to your brand ideals in an authentic, transparent way. By managing your brand accountability, you can get people to fall in love with your brand. This is important because consumers tend to make buying decisions for emotional reasons.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that lets you put a human face on your brand and personally connect with consumers. If you employ quick, public social media interactions that are consistent and authentic, you can foster the kind of goodwill that creates brand ambassadors. You can also successfully manage negative online comments, which might otherwise damage your brand reputation.
The concept of being a “good guy” brand makes excellent business sense because companies that go good generally perform better. Surveys show that consumers like to support brands that are good citizens because it makes them feel like they are also making a difference in the world. To be effective, your brand’s social commitments must be part of your brand’s purpose and seamlessly align with your business goals.
Branding, marketing, and advertising are all tools you use to help promote your business. They help you acquire and retain customers as well as drive sales and profits. These elements are all closely connected in purpose and tend to feed off one another, making it easy to get them confused. Understanding the differences can help you develop more focused business initiatives, and maximize the effectiveness of each tool.