Karen Post‘s excellent book Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds is presenting eleven tatoo tactics that speak loudly even when you whisper.
The strategy is set. You clearly know who you are, you’ve decided on your brand difference, you’ve found folks who want what you have, and you’ve mapped out the great experience you will deliver. Now you must employ the big brand bang and let your message resonate through every point of market contact.
The next step in building your brand is tactical. What specific weapons are you going to launch, at whom, and with what frequency? How will you be heard, noticed, and remembered in a crowded, chaotic playing field, possibly working with less money than your competitors? I refer to this engine as ‘‘speaking loudly even when you whisper,’’ by which I mean making sure that even your smallest effort is on target, relevant, and working to build the brand.
Tactic 1: Visual Identity
The footprint of a brand—your corporate identity, graphic system, or visual voice—can take your brand many good places. It can also head you straight into a wall if it does not accurately project what the brand is and consistently stick to the story.
Tactic 2: Advertising
Advertising can be used to generate leads, sell product, advocate beliefs, persuade, calm unrest, and build brands. Advertising is the act of paying to showcase a message, and more. Advertising gives the brand builder a high-speed lane to the market. On the other hand, it is not immune to falling trees, lightning, bad weather, careless drivers, or an occasional competitor with wings. Smart advertising can fertilize the brand soil and aid in the brand’s growth.
Tactic 3: Brand Partnerships
Sometimes two brands are better than one. Collaboration with other brands, vendors, and distribution channels not only adds firepower and reduces costs, but it ultimately can strengthen a brand.
Partnerships can be as simple as two brands co-hosting an event or as formal as an agreement involving new selling channels, co-op ad spending, joint research, and licensing contracts. When choosing any brand partner, you should adhere to an established set of guidelines that complement your brand and meet business goals.
Tactic 4: Media Relations
Twenty-four-hour news, free-flowing information, and breaking reports offer vast opportunities to get your brand message out with an added layer of authority and third-party endorsement. Despite the cynics, the media has immense influence on the market.
Organizations that don’t take full advantage of this powerful vehicle will miss sales, stature, and a substantial brand bang.
Tactic 5: Community Relations
Community relations encompasses any niche community where having a strong positive relationship is important and valuable to the brand and the market you serve. For many organizations, this includes your category industry and nonprofit interests.
Tactic 6: Sales Promotions/Events
Promotions are any activities that stimulate purchasing. Promotions can work well in both consumer markets and the business-to-business space if planned and executed correctly. A great sales promotion can launch new products, reintroduce new and improved ones, clean out an old line or inventory, synergize co-brands, cross-sell among product lines, arouse loyalty, and entice first-time sampling or trial purchases.
Tactic 7: Customer Service
Serving customers seems like a simple task, yet many savvy business leaders are blind to the huge service cracks in their business. A crack in service is extremely dangerous. One too many rude encounters, another insensitive act, or a downright bitter battle, and your customer will not only make you history, but his rage can spread like wildfire and burn up even the best brand.
Tactic 8: Sales
Selling with brand in hand shortens the distance to the finish line. Selling today is no cakewalk. New products, trillions of choices, and floods of options surround us. Pressure is high, competition is everywhere, and the economy is faltering. So what. Quit your whining. Add some brand to your sales arsenal, and the process gets easier and more effective.
Tactic 9: The Environment and Merchandising
Visual seduction is not just for retailers. Merchandising and environmental branding needs more respect. Once thought of as merely decorative displays or point-of-purchase sale stimulators, today merchandising and the environment are a significant brand-building tactic.
Tactic 10: Online
Building a brand, one thousand clicks at a time: Online technology has catapulted the brand like no other tactic. The impact on all business sectors and models is immense. Small companies can be global. Virtual stores can operate without inventory. Time to market is condensed to a warp speed, and the customer has more options and choices than ever before. As with every new horizon, there lie vast opportunities and difficult challenges
Tactic 11: Alternative and Buzz Activities
Guerrilla or alternative marketing has no rules. The more you can get away with, the better. Such campaigns are nontraditional. They disrupt and surprise. They can be crazy, irreverent, or bizarre, and many times they are extremely potent and effective for a lot less money than the ordinary campaigns