The concept of brand positioning is being challenged by the incredible power at the consumers’ fingertips. Recently, there’s been a profound shift in the way we do marketing. Traditional marketing uses the power of seduction and persuasion, while new marketing focuses on engagement.
In the digital age, having a social media strategy is a must. However, do you realize the magnitude of the change? Is your marketing still based on brand positioning and about reaching your target market? In this case, you’re using a traditional approach to marketing even if you have a presence on social media.
The new approach to branding offers an incredible potential for igniting engagement. The following six principles explain what the essential ingredients for branding are in the 21st century.
1. Define Your Purpose
A purpose that goes beyond profit should be at the heart of your branding strategy. It should express why you exist and be inspirational to your employees and customers. Today, consumers demand that businesses contribute something positive to their well-being and to society in general. In other words, businesses must solve an important problem we face and go beyond the scope of the product.
A business’s commitment to its purpose must be genuine and authentic. With an ever more sceptical consumer armed with powerful social tools, any faux-pas could damage the brand.
2. What Role Should the Brand Play?
For more and more brands, the prime objective is not selling to consumers. Consumers have shifted from being passive to being active contributors. In this scenario, the objective becomes to enable them to do things, and the quality of the user experience becomes of utmost importance. What role should the brand play in people’s lives? In other words, what can the brand enable people to accomplish? How can it help the consumer in his or her desire for self-expression?
3. Who’s Your Audience?
With a traditional approach to marketing, segmenting the target market is usually done using demographic factors such as age, sex, and geography. The new way of thinking is to address an audience. While demographic factors might still be at play, the audience is usually a community or a tribe sharing a common passion. To better understand our audience, we create personas or archetypes to identify to whom the brand provides solutions for.
4. Your Employees Are the Best Brand Ambassadors
In a sharing economy, people have more social capital than businesses. Thus, passionate employees who are engaged and enjoy their work should be considered the most trustworthy brand ambassadors. Passionate employees have more trust in social media and can drive engagement more effectively than anything the brand can do on its own.
5. The Brand Is a Story
Nowadays, the brand’s message is substituted with storytelling. The brand’s story is a powerful way to communicate its values. It provides an emotional experience and proves to be much more personal and intimate. Good stories that are entertaining and surprising stick with us and help us recall ideas and concepts about a brand in an interesting way. The story reinforces the emotive link that exists between the brand and its audience.
6. It’s Not Your Brand Anymore
Historically, companies maintained full control of the brand. Any inconsistencies would have been addressed quickly. Today, brands are much more flexible and they’re not designed with a monolithic mindset. Instead of static elements, brands design elements that vary according to patterns or a common theme. The brand should be considered as more of a starting point for people’s creativity.
Moreover, in a sharing economy, the relationship embodies the brand. Therefore, the brand does not belong to the organization exclusively, but is being shared with consumers. We might argue that the balance is tipping towards them.
More than a trend
The scope of social media transcends the marketing mix. Social media sits at the center of a branding strategy with building social capital as the goal. However, important changes must be made to the strategy. Brands that understand the new branding paradigm have the best potential to initiate change and make a difference in people’s lives.