Brand management is constantly changing with the growth of technology. What is different today is the speed at which these changes are taking place. Today, communication channels reach people all over the world at lightspeed, disseminating information and competing for attention at a pace we have never seen before.
"Where marketing hasn't changed is the creativity and the passion from brands that have really helped build loyalty and emotion," said Tanya Cordrey, former chief digital officer at Guardian News. "Those things you still need, but almost all aspects of marketing have changed very dramatically."
So when trying to build brand awareness, consumer loyalty, and reach new audiences, businesses and marketers must leverage the speed of technology without sacrificing quality. Here are a few ways brands can leverage communication technology advancements to improve brand management:
Personalize communication at scale.
Streamlining communications to thousands, or sometimes even millions of people is no easy feat. But when this is executed properly, the results are outstanding. So when brands are looking to scale, they must gather a lot of information about the people they are communicating with. Unfortunately, gathering data from consumers can be a daunting task.
"Not only do many businesses lack the resources to send personalized messages at scale, they lack the tools to mobilize their community to action," says Sharon Savariego, CEO and co-founder of Mobilize. "Without the tools to properly collect user data, they have no way to analyze it. To overcome this data disparity, brands need to leverage tools that can aggregate and sort unstructured data from every person in your network, such as where they live, the last time they communicated with you, or what their interests are."
Luckily brands can utilize all access digital communications, including social media, to better connect with and understand customers at a 1:1 level. Monitoring real-time social and email response gives organizations the opportunity to serve the interests of specific customer subsets.
Listen to customers.
Mobile devices mean there is nearly limitless access to information. Anything you want to know can be found on your 'mobile appendage', a fact that is especially true for younger generations. The way brands combat this unlimited competition is by listening to consumers.
Brands must now refrain from shouting their message from the rooftops, and instead be a bit more introspective and think about what their users are saying and how they can best approach them with a personalized message.
Customer listening must be central to any marketing strategy today. Listening helps brands understand the 'why' behind customer behavior.
John Ellett, writing for Forbes, summarizes this well, saying, "Marketing 5.0, the era of marketing in which marketing cloud technology and rich customer data are enabling brands to meet the expectations of today's demanding consumers and business customers: Treat me like you know me and deliver highly relevant personalized experiences at every touch point."
Build ambassador relationships.
External networks are an authentic and efficient strategy that marketers can invest in to reach marketing goals. Brand ambassador programs build brand awareness, referral programs drive leads, a group of resellers can boost sales, and a thriving group of developers can bring new features to your existing product.
Many brands are starting to integrate tech vendors to help create large-scale, yet highly segmented, databases of influencers. These influencers can be sorted and contacted in a personalized manner that streamlines the communication process for dozens to thousands of contacts.
But it's not enough to simply build influencer lists comprised of social media superstars; brands can and should leverage communication accessibility by taking the time to interact with brand ambassadors across all social platforms. If ambassadors feel that brands are making the effort to engage with their content, it is likely that they will output more meaningful and authentic posts when it is time to post on the brand's behalf.
Take action based on analytics.
We all know that businesses have grown increasingly adept at collecting and analyzing data. For organizations working with large groups, networks, stakeholders, volunteers, etc., the analytics of their members are only valuable if there is an action attached to it. That includes anything and everything -- events, polling, RSVPs, tracking member growth, positive activity, engagement rates, active members, targeted follow-ups, etc.
"The ability for businesses and marketers to communicate and mobilize their networks has never existed like it does today," says Savariego. "Group communication has gone from a nonchalant, nice-to-have feature that mimicked a digital water-cooler scenario, to absolutely business critical."
Thanks to real-time data aggregation, brands have the power to enact real-time responses. If brands want to truly prove to their customers that they care about their experiences and opinions, they can prove their commitment by responding to audience activity and commentary--good or bad-- as it unfolds.