Thinking of a company as a person isn’t instinctual, but whether you have an upbeat cartoon tiger, a redhead who eats fast food constantly and is a beanpole, or no mascot at all, you still have a personality behind your business. That personality is the bones of your brand, and cultivating that brand is critical to reaching your target audience: your customers.
With the ever-growing throne of content marketing, it’s becoming easier and easier to develop and share your brand with your customers. The Internet gives you a proverbial layup every day just by being there. If you’re not taking advantage of its omnipotence, that’s on you.
Through digital marketing, you can enable customers to not just get to know the key individuals who work for your company, but the “person” who is created by all of them combined. This person is the face and voice of your brand, the person who will attract and hold the attention of your customers. Adhere to this voice in your content. Honor it when writing blogs, social media posts and white papers, and when creating infographics. Let your company’s personality shine through. If customers can identify you, they can identify with you – which ultimately leads to their business.
If It Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck…
Cardinal being the small Atlanta marketing agency that it is, we are made up of young creative minds who have built a non-traditional, laidback culture. We often pass around extremely inappropriate, humorous email chains that would normally get you fired if the CEO hadn’t been copied on and chimed in on himself. One of our full-time employees is a nine-pound cavapoo (picture adorable poodle mix), and half of our office looks more like a Dave and Buster’s than place of actual work. But yes, we do, and we work really hard. That’s the Cardinal way.
This culture has parlayed into creating our brand. We are a group of unique, quirky visionaries who think outside the box and challenge ourselves to grow our clients’ businesses. Aside from using our blog to explicitly share this with you just now, we also adhere to this brand throughout the content across all our channels. Each team member’s bio includes a goofy headshot (see below the title), we blog and Tweet about pop culture, and we created an agency video resembling a video game.
It doesn’t matter if your industry requires more conservative branding, such as the neighborly feel of Publix’s Where Shopping is a Pleasure slogan. As long as you stick to it, customers will respect you as a company with a strong and consistent vision. Consider how much more you respect someone whom you perceive to be genuine than someone who talks out of both sides of their mouth and doesn’t give what they promised you. As a business trying to sell a product and/or service, this is dangerous territory in which you never want to be.
Controlling the Message
Using content marketing to parlay your brand isn’t some secret kept by smaller companies desperate to create a name for themselves. Industry leaders and global conglomerates also understand the power behind this strategy.
I was recently amazed to learn that Xerox does more than just offer photocopying machines, they also provide IT and business operations outsourcing services. Xerox was also apparently surprised to discover few people knew this, so Content Director Ken Erickson started a campaign to let their customers know. He was quoted as saying: “One of the largest tasks that we have through our content is to be able to change the perception of our brand.”
Xerox’s strategy included 13 different specialized blogs, two microsites and external columns with Forbes and The Week to cover multiple customer segments. As a result, they were able to generate more traffic to their sites and target a new demographic, all while establishing themselves as thought leaders.
This strategy is one that is easy enough for you to capitalize on as well. When developing your business’ content marketing strategy, never overlook your brand and for what you stand. You’re constantly representing your company and products and/or services. Don’t miss a single opportunity to tell customers who you really are and how they can identify with you.
Which companies do you feel have the strongest, most consistent branding?