Consider brand strategy for a moment. What is the most effective branding strategy? The question has been torturing marketers for years, and its relevance has only increased with the further integration of companies and corporations in a single global market. Somehow, the same brand, not to mention the imagery, slogans and story that go along with it, needs to successfully address people from all over the world.
Overcoming different cultural backgrounds and walks of life can be a challenge for marketers. What may appeal to a certain audience might even be insulting to another. How do major brands handle the situation? The solution is branding. All-encompassing and general enough to be understood by everyone, the way in which brands promote themselves worldwide and online can sometimes be as subtle as a font or format. It should all start with clearly setting the brand’s goals and strategically following a goal worksheet to achieve them. Also, identify the main target market (plus the 2nd) the business is aiming for to ensure those goals are being properly addressed.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, every successful company has had a powerful brand image, meaning the sum of perceptions that customers have about it. Some companies have even more, namely a brand identity. This is the way in which the world sees them. The identity says something about everything the company offers and its stance within the market.
Taking into consideration its own position, goals and customers, the company can understand the foundations of its personality. Silicon Valley companies, whether start-ups or even established names in the industry, are by definition “new money,” brands that address a new generation. As a result, their young, geeky and inventive vibe is never entirely lost, being part of their image.
As brands have value, companies invest vast amounts of money on building and then maintaining their brand identity. Once firmly established, the commercial side of the brand can face the addition of other parts, such as company values. However, everything falls within the flexible domain of marketing.
Today, corporations address their global audience through an array of mediums, from the age-old billboards in major cities to targeted online ads on social media. And yet, certain elements of their image can be found across the entire spectrum of communication channels. Whether Coca-Cola is asking you questions regarding your purchasing patterns through email or posting trendy new pictures on Instagram, you know it is Coca-Cola. But how?
Corporations present a unified image of their brand through integrated marketing communications techniques. This starts with identifying every contact point a customer has with the brand. With that information, a professional marketing team can build an entire brand experience that would leave the customer with a positive image about the company and its products, prompting him or her to buy more of them.
Factors Connecting Customers with the Brand
Country-specific messages that appealed to patriotism and caused increases in sales no longer work, or face a limited effect. Instead, corporations consciously make use of the same tone, colors, font and logo with their every appearance, statement or activity, no matter where on earth. For that reason, customers can even become attached and familiar with certain brands, personalizing them.
Synchronizing the entire marketing strategy means that the company finds and defines its brand, makes its unique nature explicit, and promotes it in a similar manner across every promotion channel. The key is not to put out a single message, but to synchronize and integrate every platform so they work in concert.
Synchronized marketing is based on shared experiences. Videogame producers, for example, address an audience that experiences the same emotions when it uses their products (games). Other companies focus on the family, friendship or youthfulness. Emotions are a global language, and using them to send the desired message is both smart and cheap.
When they hear the word template, people most often think of a form to fill in or a standardized design. However, it can also mean an approach to marketing that is successfully and repeatedly used in different situations. One great example is Red Bull. In numerous countries the company used the same approach – the promotion of its product in connection to extreme sports.
Identifying one of the major common traits of its customers – the love of sports – the company proceeded to put out similar messages across different channels. From this effort came the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, and so on. Other companies followed its example and made use of the same approach.
Similarly, when Coca-Cola builds 650 clean water installations in Egypt and sponsors Ramadan meals for countries in the region, it’s a local marketing move that fits right in its overall humanitarian strategy. Its customers can, therefore, commend themselves on their choice of a responsible and globally-aware brand. That is the brand image and identity that Coca-Cola wants to put out.
Use Templates for Both Start-up and Established Brands
In the context of synchronized marketing, designing templates that are meant to be used again and again can be a brilliant strategy for up-and-coming companies. These templates can be used on a variety of channels of communication. They are cost-effective and can easily establish the much-needed level of familiarity with customers.
A marketing strategy built on general templates that still exude the company’s own identity and personality is preferable to developing dozens of country-specific strategies. This is true when a company is in the expansion phase, but is also true for already developed and known brand names such as IBM.
Templates Are Economical and Effective
The template-based marketing strategy is no less impactful than a fully-fledged, focused campaign intended to win over a segment of the audience. Moreover, if sustained, its impact on the long term is hard to contest.
These examples speak to the power of familiarity. While synchronized global marketing might seem easy when done by large corporations, the logistical and financial efforts are still large. For small or online-based companies, bringing a template-approach or design to its new markets is a sensible move, both financially and in a strictly marketing sense. It establishes a link between customer and brand no less effectively than more expensive methods.
Are you using templates in your brand strategy? Share a favorite example of template use in the comments below.