November 12. 2012 9:00AM

Build your brand

The Last Word

  

Steve Laughlin, partner and creative director at Laughlin Constable, says a corporate brand is at stake with every interaction a company has with its potential customers. He recommends nurturing and protecting that brand at every turn.


“How a brand relates to its customers has undergone incredible changes in the last several years, and thanks to the Internet, every communication with your customers will be etched in stone forever. A brand is really an important promise, and smart marketing means figuring out what message you're going to deliver to your customers every time out.

“Conversely, companies have to figure out what their customers expect from them. That's what a brand is all about. Every communication that comes from a company, its employees and its leadership is a branded experience, and it's critical to make sure it's a consistent experience. That challenge can be harder because thousands of bits of information are running through various channels at any given time, so it's important to be succinct. Today, less is often more, and people remember that.

“It's also important to remember that carrying on a conversation with your customers is just that – a conversation. Don't talk to people. Talk with people, and use the conversation to listen and reinforce the attributes of your brand and your brand personality. That's why Coca-Cola is refreshing; Harley-Davidson is feisty and independent; and We Energies is reliable and efficient. Understanding a brand personality is key to success in all marketing efforts, and in whatever way you communicate, it should reflect the persona of your brand. Everything you say about your brand should be important, and if you treat it that way, it will be.

“It's good business to keep the promise of your brand and remember that every word you speak, every image you convey, every comment you post or what others post about you is part of your brand. Thanks to technology, it's also part of the historical record.” n
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