Creating a Seamless Brand Experience, Online and Offline

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May 25, 2016 | Marketing & Branding

With all the buzz around online, digital marketing, it’s easy to lose sight of more traditional – but still very viable – offline marketing avenues. Some large organizations have entire departments separately devoted to running independent campaigns and programs that, to a consumer, bear no resemblance to one another.

“The problem with this separation is that a seamless brand experience both online and off ensures that your customers and prospective customers recognize and remember you no matter where they go,” says Dean Kistner, Creative Director at SageAge Strategies. “Using various methods, including creative ones, to tie all your marketing and branding together – online and offline – can help create a consistency that ensures your brand remains top-of-mind.”

While it might make perfect sense from an HR perspective to have separate teams for your traditional and online marketing, from the customer’s perspective, it’s confusing. All they know is one brand – your brand. They don’t delineate between ads they see online and ads they see in a newspaper. Consumers are being bombarded constantly with an overwhelming amount of information, so if the look, feel and messaging from one of your marketing mediums to the other is disjointed, you risk losing their attention.

Marry Your Online and Offline Presences

One powerful way to bring continuity and top-of-mind awareness across all your platforms, from social media to publications and billboards, and everything in between, is to encourage cross-platform participation.

What does that mean? To put it simply, it means driving your online audience to offline assets, and vice versa.

When an organization runs a television ad campaign and encourages viewers to use a hashtag on social media to share their input or feedback, that’s an example of cross-platform promotion. The company is using a traditional outlet (television) to drive traffic to online platforms (social media). When another organization runs a promotion on their website that results in a real, hand-held book or pamphlet landing in the hands of their prospective customers, that’s an example of using digital marketing to drive traffic to more traditional collateral.

When your audience experiences each of these potential touch points, it’s important for them to feel as though all of it is coming from the same source. Here are some ways to accomplish that.

Creating a Seamless Brand Experience

Know your various buyer personas. No two customers are created equal, and while you may have a general idea of your ideal customer, it’s important to dig deeper if you hope to create a seamless and relevant experience for all your potential buyers. A certain segment of your customer base is probably more likely to find you online, while another segment is more likely to pick up the phone or stop by in person to pick up some brochures. While your approach across all of these avenues from a look-and-feel standpoint should be consistent, you must also adapt to meet the desires, needs and preferences of each individual audience segment. That means crafting audience-specific CTAs, content and more.

Assess what’s working – and what isn’t. Before you embark on any sort of adjustment to your current strategy in order to make the experience a more seamless one, it’s important to know what is driving conversions and what’s leaving consumers with a bad taste in their mouth – or maybe just leaving them with a feeling of apathy. Like getting to know your audience, you can accomplish this task a variety of ways, from looking at your website analytics to your email marketing metrics and using a trackable URL or phone number on your printed collateral.

Make sure your information is consistent. How many times have you read something on someone’s website only to be told something completely different in person? The key here is communication. If your sales representatives are working off of one set of data and content but your website designers are crafting online content that runs counter to that, you must rectify this inconsistency through cross-departmental communication. Doing so ensures that no matter where your various customers go, they’ll get the same story. Consistency and reliability breed trust. Ultimately, it’s a leader’s job to cultivate a work environment that emphasizes communication.

Create brand standards and stick to them. There’s nothing worse than having a brand new, updated website with your new logo and then handing out brochures, pamphlets, books and fliers with old branding on them. The solution is to create a brand standard guide, complete with every usage – online and off – that could possibly be needed for your colors, logo, key messaging and more. It should act as a glossary and reference resource for all things that display brand in your organization. Then, it should be driven home through in-person conversations with your team, brand camps, internal communication strategy and more.

What steps do you take to ensure your branding is consistent and effective with your customers? If you’re not sure, or you think your look could use an update, we’d love to help. We have expert creative professionals on our team, like Dean Kistner, who have the experience to make creativity work in your favor.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that provides multiple strategic growth solutions. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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