The only way to truly be competitive in the modern marketplace is to continually adapt to the new demands and challenges consumers are placing on you and your competition. While it’s easy to be complacent, allowing your business to be contented with what it has currently is a recipe for complete doom and upheaval in the future – the not so distant future!
Here’s 6 branding tips you should adapt and use leading into 2018 and beyond:
1. High end “real” video – likeable, shareable, emotive – must be at the forefront of branding
I’m not talking about product placement videos either. The emerging trend over the last few years has been capitalizing on the marketplace-dominant 18 – 49 year old crowds where they hang out most (ie., YouTube and Facebook). A successful brand in 2018 will find a way to brand cool, fun and informative videos with their name by engaging consumers with content they can identify with.
YouTube dominates with more of this demographic now watching videos than any known cable or satellite network (that’s remarkably) still in existence. Facebook claims visitors are watching some 8-billion videos daily via onsite content and external video links.
Dove has been doing this successfully over the last few years with their Real Beauty Productions content – giving their female demographic touching videos that make women see themselves in the people they’re watching. This makes for rapid and permanent brand awareness and loyalty from viewers.
2. Take full advantage of a customer’s need for instant answers on digital media
Smart successful brands in 2018 and beyond will realize that customers touch their phone anywhere from 2,617 (on the low end) to 5,400 times a day (on the uber-compulsive end). Customers want information when they want it; not when it’s most convenient and/or cost effective for you. Your brand needs to be front and center with helpful apps to let them navigate product information and pricing.
Your SEO needs to capitalize on all the important keywords related to your brand, ranking them as close to the top of the first page as possible. Your company website must provide all the necessary pre and post-sales information possible, and multiple contact points must be available including real-time online chat, email, and a toll-free customer service phone number.
3. Kill pop up advertisements and replace them with native ads
Customers are sick and tired of pop up ads. Unless you’re running a MMO lander, it’s time to stop alienating visitors with these disruptive popup banners and autoplay videos and start giving them native ads that actually blend in with the theme and purpose of your website. Otherwise, what you’re doing is anti-branding, as those nasty popups that lack contextual appeal will forever be what your brand is associated with in customer’s minds.
All the big ecommerce retailers and monetized blogs are making this shift; a shift that social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have been using for years. Use in-feed ads, recommendation widgets and paid search ads to promote your products, and offer actual valuable cornerstone content to draw people in and keep them onsite. Native ads get up to 4 times the CTR on mobile devices over non-native ads, according to Search Engine Land.
4. Personalized content and CTAs are like sales dynamite!
Hubspot ran a year-long survey way back in 2013 that analyzed nearly 100,000 CTAs on their platform; the results found that engagement was over 40 percent higher with custom CTAs over generic one-size-fits-all placements. With the majority of consumers demanding a more personalized approach, the results from this survey have never been more relevant as they are today.
Encouraging existing customers to create an account on your site and sign-in whenever they visit can work wonders to your ability to personalize content and offers that pertain to their interest. This encourages them to visit you without the need for prompting (ie., emails) and increases their lifetime value with continued sales of additional products and services that meet their needs.
New visitors can generally be pulled in with engaging content relative to your brand, and a healthy snapshot of your current offerings. However, once a visitor becomes a customer, you need to constantly strive to personalize everything you put in front of them – each and every time they visit. Personalized content has proved itself in the loyalty department, with over 60 percent of consumers claiming they rely more on companies that individualize content to them specifically, over those who do not.
5. In-house content development should be a priority
With content being so important, there has never been a call more important in the coming years than to hire dedicated content developers. Even when outsourcing through freelancer sites and content development agencies might seem cheaper at the outset; outsourcers simply cannot fill the gaps quickly enough because they don’t just work for you, they work for multiple others in a variety of industries.
This goes for both informative and sales-driven: written, video, audio, etc. Having a dedicated team will drive branding innovation forward. Just as personalized content drives more sales and maximizes branding efforts, so to will content developers creating content that’s intimately acquainted to your company and its objectives.
6. A strong culture with happy employees is key to branding in the years to come
Take a look at some of the most successful well-known, best brands in the marketplace. Google, Walmart, Starbucks – the list goes on and on. One of the big underlying themes is that obviously all provide excellent value to their loyal customers. However, the amazing level of care and concern they give their employees have made each a brand that garners respect from the consumers who spend money at their business.
Reputation is everything when it comes to the quality and level of service you offer. The company’s reputation for treating employees right solidifies your value, as most consumers out there are also employees. Last, the more top-notch employees you attract and retain, the better you’ll be able to implement the other suggestions mentioned already.
Are you ready for 2018?