Corporate Branding

In the current business landscape, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what you’re selling, the competition is undoubtedly high. Markets are saturated with brands that are all asserting themselves to be the “first” or the “best”, and they “disrupting” their industries with their innovative ideas. Brands have even begun calling themselves “the Apple of [insert industry]” to reign on top of the competition. In industries such as, but not limited to, technology, food & beverage, and entertainment, the key to ensuring recognition and recollection - without having to lean on generalized statements - are by creating brand awareness. To achieve this, companies must start thinking like a media company.

Adopting a Media Company Mindset

It is easier now than ever before to leverage organic and paid promotional opportunities. There are dozens of tools, strategies, and platforms that allow brands to communicate their message globally. Every company is trying to make money and beat the competition, so rather than focusing on how to beat them, hone in on what makes your product or service incredible so it will speak for itself. How this message is portrayed will become the foundation of your marketing strategy to create brand awareness.

You also can’t assume that customers will come to you directly just because you think you have the best product. Whether your product or service is the best or not, nobody will know if they don’t know you exist. Being proactive in your marketing and finding creative ways for brand promotion to reach your target audience is what having a media mindset is all about. The beauty of marketing is that it is a form of storytelling, and there are no limits to how a story is told.

Share Your Message and Your Story

The first step in thinking like a media company is finding the right people and platforms to share your message. This is the culmination of earned (public relations) and paid (advertising) media opportunities. In a sense, it is a number game; the more places you can market your brand, the more people will see it. However, the quality of the engagement is far more important and impactful. Having a loyal consumer base of 100 who are life-long customers and a referral source is more valuable than 500 one-off customers.  

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Be where the customers are. We’re operating in a digital age, and social proof ranks high in terms of credibility and reliability. This is when it’s helpful to have a well-built website, blog, social media profiles, newsletters, and so on. If you don’t already have a presence on important platforms, now is the time to get set up. You can easily start by optimizing profiles to accurately represent your brand - this is the basics: name, location, description, photos/logo - and begin creating content a few days per week, ramping up over time. What to post is a strategy in itself. But the best content that moves the needle is thoughtfully crafted, gives consumers a sense of trust and is relatable. Social media is a way for brands to personify themselves and build a community because, at the end of the day, people trust people and not big conglomerates or a board of directors.

On sites like Facebook or Instagram, you might consider running paid ad campaigns that target users by their interests, location, or demographics. Maybe you start contributing to a widely-read publication in your industry. You could even sponsor industry events to get your name in front of more people in your target audience.

However, promoting your brand and your message needs to be strategic. You need to be showcasing your company on the right social media platforms where your audience spends most of their time. For instance, an online clothing boutique should be investing in content for Facebook and Instagram whereas a tech startup looking to raise a round of funding should focus their energy on creating recognition on LinkedIn.

Before you start creating content, identify the platforms that will yield the best result. Don’t be tempted to blast your message everywhere—your audience isn’t everyone. That tech startup I mentioned doesn’t necessarily need an Instagram account - they would be more successful building out profiles on AngelList and Crunchbase. But if they do have one, it would have to be used differently than a clothing retailer.

Every company has a story, and adopting a media company mindset will help you tell it effectively. Make sure you’re spreading a thoughtful message that will resonate with your target customers. You don’t want to waste precious time and resources making content that isn’t grabbing the attention of the right people.

Brand Awareness = Credibility

Here’s the honest truth: If you aren't seen, then you aren’t relevant. When competition is high, brand awareness is essential. Companies today need to make brand awareness a priority in order to keep up with competitors. Once another company gains momentum, it can be difficult to catch up.

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There is a wealth of data that shows how powerful brand awareness really is. For example, companies that provide a unified brand experience across all their platforms increase revenue by as much as 23%. Almost 80% of B2B marketers believe that branding is important for company growth. And over 70% of brand managers say that building an audience is more valuable than converting sales.

This data suggests that companies who show unified brand awareness are more credible. Companies who have credibility are able to build trust with their audience. When you create trust with your customers, they are more likely to purchase from you. Without it, your prospective customers will take their business to a competitive company that they do trust.

Brand awareness can also be driven by word of mouth, which can only happen when trust is established. If a customer buys from you, and they have a good experience, they are likely to recommend your company to their peers. But the same works in reverse. Mistrust between your company and your audience means that customers may give you a negative recommendation to their peers.

True media companies are in the business of establishing trust with their audience. Whether you’re a clothing retailer, a software company, or anywhere in between, trust should be the guiding principle for your media and marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is this: Every company has a story, and you need to share yours with the world. Take advantage of the tools and opportunities you have to promote your brand and your message. Find new and unique ways of communicating with your ideal customers, and spread a message that builds trust. Today, every company is a media company. Changing your mindset to reflect that notion will help you achieve your goals -- and beat the competition.