The company brand is what our customers use to identify our business. In the Forbes.com article, What is a brand anyway?, contributor Jerry McLaughlin gave a clear and simple definition of a company brand. He said your brand is everything the public thinks it knows about your company. The key word is “public”. It’s what the public says about us, not what we say about us. Our job as business owners then, is to make sure the image we want for our company is the one our customers see. So how do we do this? One effective strategy is to create content that is up close and personal. Here are four ways to get started.
#1 Improve the employee brand experience
To personalize marketing content, begin by looking at the complete customer experience. What is the employee culture like at your business? Do employees like coming to work? Are they helping to advance the customer experience? Do they know how important their role is with helping grow the business? When developing personalized content, begin by examining the inside of the business. Remember, it’s what the public thinks about your brand, and your employees are one of your most important publics.
Create and implement an employee development plan that supports your company brand. As you implement the employee development plan, capture the progress of the plan. Record employee focus group sessions, training sessions, and capture employees engaging with customers. This gives you great personal content to share! Here’s more in depth information on the importance of employee development.
#2 Focus on Grassroots marketing and outreach
Grassroots marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy that targets very specific audiences and starts from the ground up. A recent article on CNet shares how big brands are turning to grassroots advertising. These stories focus on user-generated content that was developed using contests. What’s so appealing about user-generated content is that it demonstrates real-life experiences and testimonials of your brand. Contestants are sharing their content with their circles and giving businesses coveted third-party endorsements. Here are a few more grassroots marketing tactics that have worked for businesses of all sizes.
#3 Invest time, talent and treasure in the communities you serve
Investing in the communities you serve demonstrates the company’s commitment to the community. Investing includes financially supporting important causes and events, but more importantly, offering time and talent. I recommend businesses form an employee advisory group to help the company identify causes and community projects that are important to employees, customers, and the local community. Volunteering for important causes and community events is a great team-building opportunity, and it gives employees the chance to meet and engage with team members they might not otherwise get to know. Stories of community involvement can be shared across all marketing channels.
#4 Become your customers’ brand advocates
Are your customers successful? Share about their successes in your marketing efforts. Share about your role in the success, whether large or small. Especially with the B2B arena, becoming your costumers’ brand advocates will strengthen the relationship, and demonstrate the high level commitment you make to your customers.