As a member of the Forbes Agency Council, I participate in a monthly forum that allows me to offer insight on a number of marketing topics. Forbes provides a series of questions and the other members and I submit our thoughts for publication on Forbes.com.
This blog post is the first in a short series that will feature my responses to a few of those Forbes questions. The theme: Brand.
Question: How can you encourage employees and consumers to be advocates for your brand?
Answer: I prefer to believe that few people will surrender their integrity or risk their reputation to serve as a mouthpiece for a company or product they don't believe in. But no one needs to be "encouraged" to talk about a brand that's truly excellent or uniquely valuable. So, focus on nailing what you do! Once you've got it right, the fans will come, and the advocates will speak for you willingly.
Question: Case studies and surveys continually show that authenticity helps brands succeed. How can brands remain and come across as authentic even when customers are unhappy, a PR crisis is unraveling, or the business is struggling?
Answer: It's a fact of life: things are going to go wrong now and then. If you ignore that fact, you may end up paying in the form of clumsy, delayed or unfocused responses to customers or the media. Arm your staff with the knowledge and tools to "make it right" before a service mole hill turns into a mountain. Then, learn from the problem. The world can be very forgiving when you 'fess up and fix it.
Question: Re-brands require a lot of time and money, and getting existing customers on board can be a difficult process. What’s one way a company can refresh its image across platforms without a full re-brand?
Answer: Showing up more often in front of your audience - or a sub-set of your audience - may give your brand the kick it needs. Experiment with placement. If you've never tried radio, for instance, consider how you might take advantage of the medium's unique characteristics and its ability to introduce what you sell to more consumers.