5 tips for your own brand loyalty

At this very moment, your brand is under assault. Definitely from the outside, possibly from the inside. In an age of brand proliferation, message bombardment and seemingly unstoppable media fragmentation, making the right choices as a brand manager can seem more like the job of a field general.
Building a solid, lasting perception of your company depends on how well you align short-term marketing initiatives with larger brand objectives and common-sense brand stewardship. As you battle to defend and grow your brand, keep these five basic tips in mind:

1. Live your mission with a credible vision
It may seem like old-school advice, but the value of a vision and mission statement can’t be underestimated. Having a realistic, attainable vision (where you want to go) and clearly defined mission (what you do) are critical tools in aligning staff toward a common business goal and instilling confidence in customers and stakeholders. It’s worth noting that in a study by Business Week, companies with a clear, well-written mission statement have a 30% higher return on select financial measures than firms without.

2. Stake your claim
Never to be confused with a flashy tagline, a positioning statement is foundational to a successfully integrated marketing program and helps define your customer audience, your niche benefits and competitive differential. This document serves as a weigh point for all marketing materials, ensuring that your messaging accurately and consistently represents your brand and goals. Companies that don’t stake a defined position run the risk of becoming a “me-too” brand, always chasing after a differential.

3. Be unified in your message and voice
Your company values, along with a mission, position and vision, serve to unify the message and voice of the brand at every single touch point. Whether a customer is on your website, reviewing collateral or talking to a sales rep, the experience should be consistent and of a tone and feel reflective of your brand. Every experience with your company is an opportunity to reinforce your brand, and therefore should be scrutinized for maximum effect.

4. Make your visual assets consistent and accessible
Equally important as brand voice; having a consistent visual presentation is key to maintaining a successful brand identity and creating the right impression with customers and prospects. Brand guidelines have traditionally been an obvious step in helping to ensure the proper use of colors, fonts, logos, imagery, templates and even brand language. But a growing number of companies are complementing their guidelines with digital asset management systems (DAM). Hosted online, DAMs can serve up brand assets, such as logos, images and other resources. More advanced systems offer integrated functionality for creating and managing fully customizable advertising, collateral, websites and social media programs. The critical takeaway is that DAMs provide users global, instant access to your most current brand assets, helping to ensure proper usage and minimizing management time. While a digital asset management system typically requires an up-front investment, the return can quickly appreciate.

5. Consider your online real estate carefully
Too often, companies make the determination that they must have a separate microsite for every new product release. The microsite is sizzling at launch, but over time it beco
mes an orphan and languishes as other new products get their own microsite. Cumulatively, this presents not only
a management headache, but can also create a disjointed online brand experience as users navigate to and from your corporate site.

Similarly, social media sites are another online touch point that should be considered carefully. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter–whatever the flavor--if used properly, they can be valuable brand-building, traffic-generating tools. If left to sit and not fed new content regularly, they serve no purpose beyond being an embarrassing online doorstop and a band of useless icons in your advertising.

Autor: John Lindsay, Godfrey, the US B2B Partneragency from Wächter & Wächter Woldwide Partners.