The following is the third in the series "Marketing Like the Big Brands," running every other week in which marketing expert Jim Joseph shows entrepreneurs on a small-business budget how to apply marketing strategies used by big brands.
Marketing is all about the kind of experience you deliver to your customers with each and every interaction. The more compelling the experience, the faster you will build brand loyalty. In fact, the experience you build becomes your brand in your customers’ minds.
You must think about both the totality of the experience as well as the tonality. The right combination will make the experience unique to your brand and motivating for your customers. Without both totality and tonality, you won’t have a great brand experience, and without a great brand experience, you're just another product.
Totality of the Brand Experience:
Totality is about the completeness and consistency across your various marketing elements. If the experience isn’t complete and consistent, the totality won’t be effective in creating customer loyalty. Consistency is important so that your customers know what your brand is going to deliver each and every time.
For example, if you’re a travel agent specializing in helping singles book group excursions, you need to make sure you have a total brand experience that relates to your specific customer. Having a local office with beautiful brochures may be a good start, but without an online experience that appeals to the social nature of your customer, your brand won’t be complete or consistent with your customers' needs. You need the totality of your brand experience to create brand loyalty. This includes engaging with your customers through the various ways they live their lives.
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Tonality of the Brand Experience:
Tonality is about the spirit of the experience. It should also be in line with how you have defined your brand and with what you know your customers want. If the tonality is at odds with your marketing, you won’t be able to make an emotional connection with your customers. Others may refer to it as brand personality or voice. I call this tonality. Regardless, tonality should be a conscious decision on your part.
For example, a restaurant can have the most welcoming website, amazingly warm online reviews and an incredibly inviting front door entrance, but if the host and wait staff are obnoxious throughout the experience, the overall tonality of the experience is tarnished. You need everything to be consistent for your customers to feel good about engaging with your brand.
For an effective brand experience, you need totality and tonality working together to give a complete picture of what your brand can offer. Both elements need to be consistent with each interaction. As soon as one element of your marketing falls out of step with the rest, you put the brand in jeopardy with your customers. Execute your marketing consistently in both totality and tonality and you will have a winning formula for your brand.
Ask yourself, what is your brand experience?
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Jim Joseph is the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the author of three books, including the latest, The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About 2013). Joseph also teaches marketing at New York University and blogs at JimJosephExp.com.