Contributed by Jeffrey Budiman
Being in the industry for almost a decade, and people will still ask me “How can I start building my brand so that in the future, I can compete with the big players regionally or even globally?” Well, start building the strategy and don’t worry, brand building process is not rocket science either. It is just many tend to limit themselves by talking solely about their products and offered services, but not the story so unique that establishes emotional connection with the targeted audience. So please stop talking simply about ‘Quality’, ‘Commitment’, ‘Great service’ and expect people will come to you afterwards since those are a MUST if you want to conduct business.
Now, let’s revisit the reasons, values, or any emotional elements that will establish an appealing story so emotional that people can relate to. Nike’s well known strapline of ‘Just Do It’ is not about ‘I am making super comfortable sport shoes’ doesn’t it? It is about the human attitude and building the right story that is truthful to the brand will help defining the right direction for your visual language and off course the personalities of the people working under your company, since they will be your brand ambassadors. Great story will also establish unique differentiation, thus ensuring that you can stand out against other competitors.
Then, what is needed next after you have completed the most basic requirement for a complete brand experience? You have your great products, passionate people, branded retail design, but how we can start communicating these unique differentiation of yours to the mass audience?
Facing the many channels that we have today, brand owners cannot simply focusing on conventional media, and neglect the rest. At the same time, brand owners need the right strategy of activating their brands and not simply opening a Facebook or Twitter account just to follow the social media trend nowadays. I am not against those who will utilize as many media as possible for communications, but not all of us have the luxury of doing so.
An all-round 360 degrees brand building consists of different elements, from products, internal people, retail experience, design implementation, social media management, public relations, advertising, etc. The picture shown in this article simulates the different elements, and It affects many touch points of interaction. It is our job as brand owners to ensure that each of them will run according to the essence of the brand and the strategy. Off course, each of them will have their own unique activities to support the brand building process. For example: in Social media, we are not talking only about posting messages, but at the same time we can establish conversation, get feedback, increase database, or even managing complaints. Then, when it comes to PR, it will cover not only press releases or media gatherings, but at the same time it involves media training for internals, even crisis management to ensure that our brand will not be badly affected when the time comes.
At this point, please do not get overwhelmed, you have to define the goals of what we want to achieve. Some companies set up a team or hire a company who can provide assistance of developing the strategic roadmap that fulfills both the short and long term brand building objectives. This means that the team will help defining what are the steps required so that it fits the current capacity, and budget. By doing this right, an effective 360 degrees brand building will enable brand owners to effectively interact with their targeted audience from different angles, and off course, efficiently.
Jeffrey Budiman is Chief Innovation Officer at Augmented Reality & Co as well as Chairman of Spacesym. He was previously with DM IDHOLLAND, a global brand consultancy.