“At its core, a brand is a promise to consumers. What will consumers get when they purchase a product or service under your brand umbrella? The brand promise incorporates more than just those tangible products and services. It also includes the feelings that consumers get when they use your products and services.” – Branding Strategy Insider
I asked four market research experts from MTV, J.P. Morgan, Meijer International and Union Bank to answer what that questions means to them.
This is what they said:
“In our world, it’s the brand of the company. As a retailer, this is tricky, because we sell products for many well-known brands. That said; we define brand as what our company stands for (services, products, etc.) and how we want customers to perceive us. We’re tasked with bringing the brand to life through content and creative, so it’s really about how we communicate through tone, visuals and story.”
– Brad Hileman, Director of Digital, Brand Development, Meijer Inc.
“The way a customer remembers you.”
– Xavier Corona, Vice President, Sr. Marketing Manager-Multicultural and GCM
Corporate Marketing, Consumer Lending, Union Bank
“Brand is the public ‘image’ or ‘perception’ of a given company. Brand is more than just a logo or name, it’s the “embodiment of a company and its’ values to the public.”
– Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director, Corporate and Investment Bank Marketing, J.P. Morgan
“Any brand that is turning old models on their heads, for example, mattress companies Caspar and Tuft & Needle that are calling BS on the outdated and opaque mattress industry model. These new brands offer Millennials exactly what they want – perfect design in both product and communications, transparent product details, free trials with no commitment, convenience, affordability and promise of perfection. Industries that try to pull the wool over consumers’ heads like Sleepy’s are dead. Millennials won’t stand for them.”
– Alison Hillhouse, Vice President of Insights Innovation, MTV
If you want your sales professionals to be advocates of your brand, you must first sell them on it. Naomi Garnice, Director of Marketing at Salucro, makes sure her sales professionals understand that part of being a brand advocate is the realization that daily duties with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image.
What are the best ways to breakdown the “Great Wall of China” between content marketers and sales professionals to ensure that all employers are active brand advocates?
Breaking down the walls is easy when you open lines of communication in the right way. Marketing and Sales professionals usually speak in completely different dialects. Numbers and measurable goals move people in Sales. Part of being a brand advocate is the realization of how your day-to-day actions with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image while supporting your own professional goals and quotas. To pitch your Sales leaders and department you’ll need to sell them on the direct benefits: how their added visibility will support their clout in the industry, client relationships and quotas. At the Advancements in Content Marketing event, we’ll take a deeper dive into this with some go-to lines and examples.
What metrics and measurements do you use to determine what content is most valuable to your customer base and has the most likelihood to build trust and brand recognition?
Let your audience show you which content moves them by tracking their monthly clicks, shares, comments and resulting referral website traffic. This will take time to gauge as you build a meticulous content strategy centered around the goals and needs of your customers and prospects — we’ll look at different approaches to ensure that content is valuable to your intended audience.
What can we look forward to learning at the conference?
At the conference, I will walk you through a powerful brand advocacy training series I’ve developed at B2Bs, which not only produces results but also aligns the business goals between the Sales and Marketing departments. Further, we will touch on all of the must-topics for your own brand advocacy training series, why they are important and how they can directly impact your business and Marketing efforts.
Sue Kwon is an Emmy award-winning storyteller and global corporate communications leader, holding on-air and leadership positions in CBS, NBC, and ABC stations around the U.S. She is also on the Stanford GSB Mastery in Communications team, teaching branding and storytelling to entrepreneurs.
Before joining Symantec to lead Content Strategy & Storytelling, Sue served as Digital & Social Media Director for Gap, Inc. leading internal and external communications focused on increasing employee, customer and influencer engagement.
What are the key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader?
You can’t SAY you’re a brand leader, you become a brand leader. It’s like saying ‘I’m cool’ on a grade school playground. Others will determine your ‘cool’ factor by what you say, what you do and how you are perceived by the most vocal influencers.
So key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader include:
Do you have something interesting to say that is unique or differentiated?
Is what you do actually relevant to what people need?
And, is the experience you offer as a brand worth participating in and advocating for?
Establishing your company as a brand leader requires a plan – not just for those one-off moments of positive reinforcement – but for telling a story through unique experiences over the course of a customer’s journey.
Will you outline for us the necessary materials and personnel required to elevate a content marketing strategy into a functioning media outlet that can publish, promote and deliver content across a spectrum of mediums?
I will outline an overarching Content Marketing strategy, which includes:
1. Building a Content Lifecycle plan to reach the right audience.
2. Building your Content Marketing ‘Newsroom’
3. Budgeting for multi-channel production.
4. Why Cross-Functional collaboration is the key to success.
What are your tips for re-envisioning content to imitate news media outlets?
BUILDING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING NEWSROOM:
• Your Marketing Team Structured like a Newsroom Roster– At the conference, I’ll show you who on your PR & Marketing team should play these roles– News Director, Managing Editor, Executive Producer, Show Producer, Reporter(s), Photographer/Editors/Graphics, Promo Dept.
• Secrets of the Field Crew– I’ll show you how 3-5 person crews work on deadline, within expertise, and toward a common production goal – despite hierarchy.
• Thinking like a Reporter not a Marketer – I’ll show you how to tell stories that can beat the competition – that are relevant to customers, influencers, advocates and critics.
• It’s not just about Prime Time – I’ll show you how to map your content against the customer’s journey where you are positioning assets at the right time and on the right channels.
• Speed and Expertise – TV ratings are based on capturing and keeping audience attention… and offering the most compelling insight. I’ll show you how to secure audiences early and keep them around through a structured thought leadership amplification plan.
How can you ensure that your thought leader’s subject matter stays aligned with business initiatives?
It’s important to define what a “Thought Leader” is in your organization and get shared vision across Marketing, Global Communications and C-suite. A shared definition will allow you to create a Thought Leader amplification plan where the right individuals are selected and supported. The plan will ensure that individuals authorized to speak on your company’s behalf are aware of inputs and considerations that line up to business priorities. The plan will also empower those thought leaders to show well and show often on Owned, Paid, and Earned channels – LinkedIn, 3rd party blogs, media outlets, etc.
What are the ways you can create content that has an enhanced accessibility by focusing on highlighting relevancy and importance rather than assumed value?
• Adopting a Breaking News “fast flow” content production process is important to add thought leadership and value in conversations pegged to headlines and trending topics.
• Creating a global content production plan that lines up to a company editorial calendar is important to prioritize “evergreen” stories that are supported across Geos.
• *Teaching all writers, editors and producers across the Content Lifecycle process the principles of Award-Winning storytelling is important to teach marketers how to talk about products … without literally talking about products.
**At the Advancements in Content Marketing 2014 event, I’ll give the 3 Secrets to Winning an Emmy – that will change the way you think about storytelling and content marketing.
What does the future of content marketing look like to you?
I will be out of a job. Telling great stories will become an easy habit. We need to master the science of positioning those stories with robust SEO strategy, for multi-channel consumption, with instant metrics insight. Marketing automation and the ability to position our stories to the right audiences at the right time and measure acquisition, retention and product renewal is the shiny object we should all focus on. (But first, we need to produce great assets to pump into the system.)