Module 6
Let’s Talk 0.5hour

Communication is crucial, but it does not only entail actually talking to your customers. In this module, you will learn about creating channels to express your brand.

In the age of the Internet, communication is the key to establish your brand. In this chapter, you will learn how to do it effectively in order to engage your customers.

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One of the key aspects of branding is communication. The way your company communicates with customers shapes the image of the company. So how to do it right? How to communicate in a way that will strengthen your brand? – Be Consistent

No matter if it’s about TV advertising, engaging customers on social media or designing a leaflet, your message must be consistent across all channels of communication and be part of a coherent strategy. If your company is about providing top quality products and professional customer support, then you should present yourself as a professional. When you communicate with your customers always stay true to your brand values. It might be worth preparing a small guide for your employees and train them on how to handle phone calls, how to approach customers etc. It is very popular and it really helps you deliver the right message to your customers.

Be authentic

People like to engage with people rather than answer machines. When you communicate with your customers, act and talk as a person. How do you feel when you call a company to make a complaint and you are forced to get through 10 different answer machines and eventually reach a person who doesn’t seem to listen to you and simply repeats the same thing over and over? This is destructive to every brand and leaves a very bad impression. Your voice and your tone matter significantly. By being authentic and sympathetic you can win your customers’ trust.

Engage with your audience

Before the social media revolution, it was enough for companies to simply send their message to customers. Now things work differently. Your brand is shaped by what is being said about you on social media. One customer can tweet something that goes viral and influences how people will see you.

That is why you can’t just talk to people. You need to engage with them and actively shape your image on social media. By having a conversation on Twitter or Facebook you will strengthen your brand. If you have an interesting conversation on Twitter it will not only influence the person you talked with, but also thousands of others who are going to read it. Don’t waste that opportunity!

But do it right..

One bad tweet can lead to a failure on a truly global scale. This is what happened to DiGiorno Pizza who decided to join a conversation on a trending topic #WhyIStayed. Unfortunately, the company did not notice that it was a discussion about why women stayed in abusive relationships. Rather insensitive “#WhyIStayed You had Pizza” shocked users and damaged the company reputation.

Know your customers

You know your values and you should also know your customers. Your communication should be tailored to their needs and preferences. If you communicate with your customers the way they communicate with each other you will find it easier to build a real relationship between you and your customers. Such relationships create a loyal customer base and contribute to the image of your brand.

These few simple tips should allow you to improve your communication and ultimately build a stronger brand.

What would your brand be like if it was turned into a person? In this chapter, you will read about the importance of ascribing human features to your brand and how to do it for your business.

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The concept that we are going to discuss now is brand personality. We will give you a quick definition and show how you can use it to strengthen your brand awareness. To put it simply, brand personality is a set of human-like characteristics that describe a brand and help customers relate to it. In other words, brand personality is a deliberate personification of a brand. Usually, it is possible to distinguish between five main types of brand personality  – excitement, sincerity, competence, ruggedness, and sophistication. As you can see the concept itself isn’t too complicated. It does not mean it is not important. On the contrary, attributing personality to a brand is one of the key tactics used by skills marketers to increase brand awareness and in turn help build brand equity.

Customers find it easier to remember the brand and most importantly to like it when they are able to relate to it. Brand personality transforms brands into human like entities which customers relate to just like they relate to other people. In fact, research has shown that customers are more likely to pick a brand with a personality most similar to their own. That is why it is very important to think carefully before deciding on your brand personality. Make sureyou know your customers! It will also be very beneficial to research your competition and position your brand against them. Most importantly however, make sure that your products and your brand personality go hand in hand. Customers are not likely to choose a ‘rugged’ bank or an ‘excited’ dentist. Brand personality can be a key differentiator between companies that offer similar products. Just think of how different automakers present their products- passionate, cool, sophisticated, aggressive, each company has its own unique personality.

There are different tactics that can help build a strong brand personality. Large companies often hire celebrities to take part in their marketing campaigns. Picking up celebrities associated with the same trait as the brand can send a powerful message to consumers. For example, Pepsi presents itself as the ‘cool’ brand. It is then no surprise that Pepsi adverts feature footballers performing unbelievable and ‘cool’ tricks. On the other hand, Coca-Cola positions itself as ‘happy’ and ‘joyful’. Their adverts are always full of joy and the Coca-Cola ad featuring Santa is world famous.

Social media also plays a key role – creating a Facebook profile or setting up a Twitter account for your brand will allow you to communicate with your customers directly. By interacting with you, your customers will grow attached to your brand the same way as they grow attached to people they spend time with. Just remember – brand personality just like human personality is built over time. It cannot be constructed in a day and it requires a consistent approach across all channels of communication.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the concept and you already have some ideas for implementing them!

Every business wants to sell. Business is created to make money and grow. However, if you are tobe like the all othercompanies you should ask yourself “Why should they choose me? Why am I different?”. Don’t be indistinguishable, be different. Be funny, be cool, create your own style – a unique style.

We, humans, are programmed to follow the crowd. Don’t you feel safe when surrounded by people who you can trust and rely on? We all do. However, if you want your business to succeed, you have to detach from the crowd and go in your own direction. Instead of following others, become someone who will be followed. Undeniably, it requires courage. Swimming with the river current is much easier than swimming upstream. It demands thinking out of the box, creativity, strong will and consistency.

Lack of courage may result in choosing paths which have already been discovered. In other words, instead of building a strong, original brand, you may end up with an organisation which hasn’t introduced anything new to the market. It means that your business hasn’t  added any value.

Notice that ideas which may seem to be stupid or ridiculous can turn out to fill a product/service gap and succeed. Need examples? Would you believe that millions of people will be willing to sleep at the homes of complete strangers, even abroad? This is what Airbnb does and they cannot complain about the lack of interest. Also, it may seem irrational that adults care about the number of the virtual symbols which express a positive feeling about the content posted by them. Yet, users and organisations spend  a fortune to increase the amount of “likes” on their Facebook accounts.

Original, brave ideas will not always lead to success. However, if you decide to not even try, then you will never achieve anything. If you’ve already established a business and now you want to focus on building a strong brand, it is definitely not too late to find the courage to introduce, for instance, a new design, a new approach or a new function of your product. Regardless of whether you wish to change the world through a technological innovation or you just want to influence your local community, always start with yourself. The organisations which lack courage and refuse to adjust themselves to changes often are forced to disappear from the market. For example, look at Blockbuster which lost to Netflix. They operated within same industry; Netflix had the courage to adjust to new technology and Blockbuster didnt. One of them now had a revenue of $8.83 billion revenue in2016 whereas the other  simply went bankrupt.

To put it simply, brand personality is a set of defining human-like characteristics that describe a brand and helps customers relate to it. In other words, brand personality is a deliberate personification of a brand. Usually, it is possible to distinguish between five main types of brand personality that is – excitement, sincerity, competence, ruggedness, and sophistication.

As you can see the concept itself isn’t too complicated. However, it does not mean it is not important. On the contrary, attributing a personality to a brand is one of the key tactics used by skills marketers to increase brand awareness and in turn help build brand equity.

Customers find it easier to remember the brand and most importantly to like it when they are able to relate to it. Brand personality transforms brands into human like entities which customers relate to just as like they relate to other people. In fact, research has shown that customers are more likely to pick a brand with a personality most similar to their own. That is why it is very important to think carefully before deciding on your brand personality. Make sure that you know your customers! It will also be very beneficial to research your competition and position your brand against them. Most importantly however, make sure that your products and your brand personality go hand in hand. Customers are not likely to choose a ‘rugged’ bank or an ‘excited’ dentist. Brand personality can be a key differentiator between companies that offer similar products. Just think of how different automakers present their products- passionate, cool, sophisticated, aggressive, each company has its own unique personality.

There are different tactics that can help build strong brand personality. Large companies often hire celebrities to take part in their marketing campaigns. Picking up celebrities associated with the same trait as the brand can send a powerful message to consumers. For example, Pepsi presents itself as the ‘cool’ brand. It is then no surprise that Pepsi adverts features footballers performing unbelievable and ‘cool’ tricks. On the other hand, Coca-Cola positions itself as the ‘happy’ and ‘joyful’. Their adverts are always full of joy and the Coca-Cola ad featuring Santa is world famous.

Social media also plays a key role – creating a Facebook profile or setting up a twitter account for your brand will allow you to communicate with your customers directly. By interacting with you, your customers will grow attach to your brand the same way as they grow attached to people they spend time with. Just remember – brand personality just like human personality is built over time. It cannot be constructed in a day and it requires consistent approach across all channels of communications.

Hopefully, know you have a better understanding of the concept and you already have some ideas to implementing them! Stay tuned for more useful tips.

What’s the story of your business? What are your motivations and how it all started? In this chapter, we will talk about the ways, in which storytelling can benefit your business.

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Everybody likes good stories. If you don’t have one create it now! How did you establish your business? Why? Who do you want to sell to? What ideas do you support?

If you don’t have a distinct message, you can’t sell anything. Let me explain this by using a metaphor. Imagine that you left your cosy sofa and decided to go for a walk. On the street you heard the noise of numerous cars, which were moving in different directions. At first, you might be overwhelmed by the uproar but then, you quickly got used to it. Which cars would attract your attention at that moment? The noisiest ones or those, which were different in some way? Would you rather admire a poorly modified old Citroen Saxo with a big bore exhaust or an elegant Mercedes tuned by AMG? If you are like the majority of people, you’ve chosen the second option. It’s the same with brands! You need to be different. Not necessarily louder, but different in your style. The best way to do it is to create your own story. The story that creates emotions and gives a promise to the customer. You should have clear way of communicating the mission and vision of your business. Remember that price is not the only factor that influences people’s choice to buy a product. You need to open your customers’ hearts and try to make them fall in love with your brand. That’s exactly what Apple did! They have a story and values that give you goose bumps whilst watching their adverts or holding the latest iPhone.

Many other big brands also have stories and personalities, look at Red Bull, Facebook or Coca-Cola.

If you could describe them as people, what kind of characteristics would you attach to each of them? Personally, for me, Red Bull is a dynamic, extreme and very open character. Coca-Cola is also very open and friendly spreading positive experience and connecting people from different backgrounds. Apple is exclusive, perfectionist, trendy and always on top.

What would be your business story and personality? Would you try to be cool and friendly, or aggressive and dynamic? Remember that your story should be real and not faked. Let your business be itself.

Do NOT try to pretend to be someone who you are not. Sooner or later, it will be seen by your audience and you will lose customers.

Telling your story can’t be done in a few days. Storytelling is a huge part of branding so preparing a good strategy might take years. Using both visual and verbal communications with your audience should be coordinated with other marketing tools that will help you show your brand’s personality.

Remember that the whole strategy needs to be consistent and transparent across social media and your website. Even your employees are a nimportant part of the storytelling process. The way they speak to your customer, e.g. seriously or wittily, should be a part of a brand’s personality.

Not being consistent may lead to failure. A real-life example includes a mistake made by Coca-Cola in 1985. At this time the company was struggling with the increasing popularity of Pepsi, where, according to the company’s research, people tend to prefer the sweeter version of the drink rather than the original one. A new recipe was introduced, however, this decision made consumers angry instead of satisfied. People weren’t happy with the new taste of the drink, it wasn’t the same original Coke anymore. Customers were so used to the old version of the drink that they wanted it back. And this is what Coca-Cola had to finally do – admit that introducing a new recipe was a mistake and start selling the old recipe again. This case proves the importance of consistency.

To support this statement with another example, a company that sells insurances must be benevolent and professional as they provide a service that is taken seriously and is supposed to protect our future, life or assets.

However, a company that specializes in marketing software (such as Brand24.com) can be funny and entertaining in order to keep its profile  cool and aimed at easy communication with clients and fans.

Lesson: create your personality, write your story (there is always a story), plan your storytelling, stay consistent in everything you do.

Stay relevant, stay funny, stay cool, stay trendy, stay updated.