Six requirements for a responsive brand
How fast are your brand’s reflexes? How fast should they be?
Keep in mind that we live in a time where a brand can be targeted on social media one day without notice, send all of their employees home to work remotely the next day, and not long after their program for physical Need to convert events into a virtual one.
Also, keep in mind that people’s media consumption habits changed almost overnight in line with their ability to travel (or in) travel, resulting in some media channels falling off the radar and others gaining newfound popularity (webinar platforms of the world, bow down yourself).
In short, responsiveness has never been more important.
So far, most marketers have used the term “responsive” to mean websites that automatically adjust their content to the screen on which it is displayed. In 2021, however, “responsive” is a better way of describing a brand that can quickly adapt its marketing to deliver relevant messages to customers as soon as they need them, regardless of which channel they choose.
How can marketing teams, many of whom face the added pressures of reduced resources, prepare for success since responsiveness is an integral part of good brand health?
Examine your brand, structure, processes, tools, and expectations to determine if your brand can really be viewed as responsive. In particular, ask yourself the following six questions.
1. Can your brand react to the changing market in hours instead of days?
In the post-COVID world, speed is about being able to respond to regulatory changes and shifts in attitudes within hours or overnight, rather than within two or three weeks.
This skill doesn’t develop on its own. It’s not enough for the executive team to understand the value of making a quick decision. In turn, the marketing team must have the decision-making, production, and approval processes to enable quick action, as well as the means to get the word out.
For example, if you pulled the pencil at your annual physical meeting, you need to get the word out quickly – preferably along with news of other virtual activities you may be planning. At the very least, it means revisiting and updating all of your conference marketing materials, from your website and conference page to your online ads and brochures.
B2B marketer RedHat quickly reinvented its extensive program of events from physical to virtual in 2020 and still managed to gain 40,000 registrations for its annual summit. The move was aided by a responsive production process that enabled the international marketing team to quickly edit and update multiple documents with universal changes in minutes, not days.
Among the processes and tools that support this ability:
- Automated daily or weekly reports. Monitor mentions, comments, and testimonials related to your brand on the web and social channels on a daily basis. Track website traffic, content trends, and lead generation at least weekly.
- A structure to support quick decisions. Some companies have set up a COVID management team that meets daily to discuss developments in the business and the world, as well as ways in which these developments can best be addressed with the customer in mind.
- A crisis management plan. If your brand is hit on social media or embroiled in a PR nightmare, it helps to avoid having to manage the response process on the fly. Having a plan in place ensures that everyone involved is aware of their role and the time it will take to respond.
- Responsive production technology. The process of physically making small changes to a large number of marketing materials is slow and expensive. Communication across multiple channels must be able to be updated precisely and quickly while maintaining the appearance of the brand.
2. Can everyone in the organization conform to your brand identity?
It’s not just marketing that needs to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Sales, product, human resources, finance and accounting are likely to have changing requirements – regardless of whether new offers are brought to the market, sales and product marketing collateral is updated with repositioning, work guidelines adapted for a remote working environment, or customer relief is provided flexible payment terms.
Responsive brands like Monash University have frameworks that allow their teams to produce their own content within established brand guidelines to protect brand consistency, maintain flexibility, and accelerate time to market without limited marketing and design resources with repetitive manual changes burden.
Your framework should include:
- Brand and style guidelines Here you will find clear explanations of how the brand, logos, colors, language, etc. are used (and not used) to represent your brand
- A central repository for approved assetsbe it a library, a digital asset manager or a file directory with all your approved formats accessible to the entire team
- Editable templates That way, your teams can create the collateral they need while maintaining brand consistency. (Locking the templates to limit the changes teams can make reduces the approval burden on the “trademark police” or marketing team.)
3. Does your branding depend on someone to keep the wheels moving?
Many organizations struggle with a certain organizational inertia due to anchored bottlenecks and blockers.
In brand marketing, often the CMO has to approve all work or the chief designer alone has to understand the brand guidelines.
Really responsive brands are taking steps to lubricate the wheels. You might consider …
- An approval matrix: If staggered according to the complexity or budget of the campaign, less complex marketing work can be approved by other team members, which makes things easier.
- Creative Committee: In larger companies, having a team of people making creative work decisions, especially those from outside agencies, can help develop a shared understanding of brand values and enable work even when key people are away.
4. Can your brand marketing be done on a large scale?
If everything is a bespoke execution, your marketing organization will need to add resources to keep up with the growth. Responsive brands understand that in order to scale marketing activities, structure and tools must be put in place to handle predictable, repetitive manual work so that the marketing team is free to tackle strategic work and new projects.
Although most marketing teams use a variety of martech tools, brand marketing generally requires a relatively low level of automation. At least it’s worth considering …
- Email automation: Automate lead scoring and progression as well as email delivery and content-based maintenance with marketing automation tools
- Brand Automation: Embed brand guidelines in responsive templates that enable rapid editing and production of approved assets within limited parameters at speed and scope
- Content automation: Tagging content as it is created to enable its quick use and reuse (e.g. a list-style blog post that can be used as social tiles, checklists, and cheat sheets with minimal human intervention)
- Process and administrator automation: By automating compliance or billing processes, for example, team hours per week can be saved
5. Can your brand address your customers directly?
At the heart of a responsive brand is the ability to speak to customers in a personalized way. However, many personalization initiatives don’t generate the amount of content needed to serve all of the key people at different stages of the buying process.
Depending on the degree of personalization required, some integration may be required between the tools used by the marketing team and those used by the broader organization, including the following:
- CRM system
- Marketing automation platform
- Accounting software
- Brand automation solution
- Content management system
- Digital asset manager
6. Does your brand marketing depend on external production processes?
A creative agency can be a great asset to a brand. Regardless of how efficient and responsive external suppliers are, they always increase response times. And when your account manager has a few days off, the process slows down to a crawl.
According to the Association of National Advertisers, which reported in 2018 that 78% of brands have some type of in-housing, in-housing, or the process of engaging creative and other agency services in-house, has been speeding up house capacity.
The importance of this ability will grow during the pandemic. Over 90% of advertisers say they adjusted their messages during the pandemic and 55% named their internal agency or other “internal team” (42%) as “very important” (only 26% nominated an “external” ) Agency”).
Brands should be self-sufficient in their ability to respond quickly and not rely on outside agencies to find and update assets.
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As the economic and social landscape continues to change, responsiveness becomes a prerequisite for brand marketing success. Companies need a mix of the right technology, the right processes, structures, and a commitment to a coordinated approach in order to be as responsive as possible. Everything else is irrelevant at best.
More resources on brand marketing
How To Get Hyper-Relevant: Build A Free Range Brand: Nicole Ertas on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
Five Differences Between Branding And Direct Response Every Marketer Should Know
Effective Marketing in 2021: Integration of Performance and Brand Marketing