How to balance long-term brand building and short-term activation
1. Start with the brand, never the tactics – this is the first tip for good reason, and your key to getting the balance right. Because a strong brand is unique and can’t be copied, whereas tactics are what everyone is doing or could copy.
2. Find your purpose – Brands that continue to thrive have one thing in common: they stand for something that matters to the people who matter. They have a clear purpose. And even as their market evolves, and they stay agile, they remain true to that purpose. Your brand’s purpose is its reason for being. It acts as your anchor in a sea of change. When your brand launches new products and services, adopts new technologies, complies with new legislation, and responds to changing needs, finding its purpose means it never loses direction.
3. Sharpen your point of difference – Defining what makes your business different is vital to ensure greater market share and profitability. In today’s multi-channel world, this needs to be considered from every audience and channel perspective, so your point of difference shines out at every opportunity.
4. Investing in customer insight and research isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity – This ensures your customers are at the heart of sales, product and service strategy – so growth becomes sustainable because it’s based on robust customer understanding, not simply the need to grow. This may sound obvious but it’s so often forgotten by many brands and organisations in the built environment. Products and services that are sharply focused on customer needs will always perform better than those who are not.
5. Build the best short-term tactics to achieve your goals – BUT only once you have clearly defined the four points above. Doing it the other way around never works and often ends up wasting more budget. ROI can only be truly measured based on long-term goals. The gap between your short-term activation results and your long-term brand building will soon start to grow.
6. Digital shouldn’t be dull, and should be an extension of your brand – With so much sales activation reliant on digital or telesales channels, ensure your brand message translates without losing emotion and that the customer brand experience is fully integrated across retail, online, telesales and event touchpoints. The winners are those who see sales activation as an extension of the brand experience. Sales, brand and marketing must be truly aligned at every point to hit the mark, and score the profits.
7. Ensure the board understands the need to get the balance right – It’s all for nothing if the Board isn’t on board. They need to clearly understand that it’s not brand or activation spend, it’s a balance of the two. A 60:40 ratio to be precise, for optimal results, with campaigns lasting no less than six months. Those who heed these lessons and strike that balance will see the results, and count the rewards.