Modernize your Marketing with these Brilliant Tactics By collaborating with complementary players, a brand can accelerate its innovations, offerings and create new experiences and exponential value

By Harsh Pamnani

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Many people assume that marketing is about identifying potential customers, hiring an advertising agency, redoing logos, redesigning brochures, getting media coverage, pushing promotions, creating brand awareness, and fund deep discounts to increase market share. Unfortunately, this assumption is obsolete in today's changing, competitive, crowded and cluttered market.

In today's market, customers are getting exposed to thousands of marketing messages in a day and more messages are creating more confusion for them. They are simply not able to remember which advertisement talked about which product and what differentiation. Additionally, they get confused about which celebrity-endorsed which product and talked about which benefit.

In this kind of environment, when differentiation is diminishing and almost every brand is selling similar stuff with similar kind of campaigns, emotional connection has become one of the strongest differentiators for brands. It has become very important for marketers to establish their brands' emotional connect and manage relationships not only with customers but also with all other stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Let's have a look at a few important marketing aspects that marketers have to focus on from modernization perspective to differentiate their brands in today's changing, competitive, crowded and cluttered market:

Establish Leaders' Personal Brand:

An organization's image is based on accomplishments and personal brand of its top leaders. Personal brand of top executives especially CEO has become an important competitive advantage. If a business leader has a credible, trustworthy and distinctive identity, then various stakeholders in the ecosystem feel comfortable in associating themselves with the respective brand. LinkedIn profile is a powerful platform to share a leader's story, journey and credentials. When someone searches for a leader's name on Google, LinkedIn profile appears in the search. Moreover, a well planned and strategic public relations strategy would help in getting CEOs compelling articles, interviews, stories out in business publications, their names being nominated for relevant awards and speaking engagements arranged in popular conferences. But the most important point to be kept in mind is that this campaign has to be realistic, a personal brand can't be built without authentic substance.

Engage People Behind the Brand:

Brand experience is the collective effort of people behind it i.e. employees. If employees are emotionally connected with the brand and enthusiastic about their work then they will put in extra efforts to come up with more creative and innovative ideas that eventually drive business performance. Many marketers think that employee motivation is HR's job, but they have to appreciate the importance of internal communication, an important part of marketing strategy. It acts as a great way to develop brand internally, improve employee morale, retain talented employees and direct their energy in a positive direction. Blogs and videos by leaders, stories of employees doing extraordinary stuff, business achievements, market updates, client appreciations, forums to capture and highlight employees' valuable suggestions, town halls and fireside chats etc. can be the regular ways to remain in touch with employees and translate their behavior into a behavior leading to superiority in brand experience.

Connect Communication with Desires:

Before buying any product physically, customers buy it mentally. People have desires to succeed, stand out, get freedom, belong to a like-minded group, get into stress-free state, live in the clean environment, improve themselves, be safe etc. The Marketers who are able to understand deep desires of their target segments can tap into their fundamental motivations and fulfill their unspoken needs. Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship and communication consists of strategically orchestrated elements such as words, images, characters, music etc. Right words with right visuals have the power to connect with right customers at an emotional level and persuade them. When brands' communication touch customers at an emotional level, it becomes easier for brands to get welcomed by customers in their lives. Marketers need to strategically pick and choose right words, visuals and use these assets carefully to craft a communication connecting with customers' deep-rooted desires. But they have to keep in mind that these words should truthfully support their brands' claims.

Build Brand Advocacy:

Customers find messages more believable when they hear them from trusted and respected people as compared to advertisements, brochures, memos and press releases. Advocacy means right word of mouth by right people at right time. Advocates not only contribute to brand's profits themselves but also influence profits by recommending a brand to their friends, followers and acquaintances. Brands that have the highest levels of advocacy, outgrow their competitive set by multiple times. Brand advocates can range from existing customers to active participants on social networks to people working for a cause to product reviewers to experts to celebrities. Marketers need to identify right advocates and nurture them but they have to remember that brand advocacy has to be authentic as if customers find that advocate is paid and not trustworthy, they could get upset with the brand.

Form Strategic Partnerships:

Partners strengthen a brand in multiple ways such as by opening up additional channels to customers, by enabling access to larger customers quickly, by organizing joint promotional activities such as events etc. Additionally, having a few marquee names as strategic partners adds on to the credibility of an organization. Moreover, partners can help in broadening an organization's capabilities leading to innovative products to meet evolving needs of customers and faster time to market. By collaborating with complementary players, a brand can accelerate its innovations, offerings and can create new experiences and exponential value.

Collect Ratings and Recommendations:

Every industry has its own consultants, futurists, analysts and watchers who sort out and publish information about the industry, its top performing companies and sometimes even top companies' top performing brands and products. Favorable rating and recommendation can significantly improve chances of success of an organization and its brands. There ratings and recommendations also uplift and influence the attitudes of employees and shareholders. Marketers must identify the key players who rate and recommend brands and try to get involved in the process, remembering that great ratings and recommendations are hard to gain and even harder to regain.

These efforts though happening within the marketing organizations are sometimes executed in bits and pieces. From marketing modernization perspective, they need to be part of 'must to do' initiatives instead of 'nice to do'. Through a phased approach towards these initiatives, marketers can affordably attain the new capabilities required to align their brands' growth with business objectives.

(Views expressed are author's personal and don't necessarily represent the company's opinion.)

*About the Author: Harsh Pamnani is a Marketer and Author. He is an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Harsh Pamnani

Marketer & Author

Harsh is passionate about marketing, and has authored articles in various business publications such as Advertising Age, Business Insider, Business World, Economic Times, Entrepreneur, Firstpost, InformationWeek and Retail. He is an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur.

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