Managing brand perception and alignment. It’s easier said than done. In this day and age of ubiquitous social media usage, marketers are challenged to monitor, measure and drive brand perception. Long gone are the days of controlling the message. That’s why it’s critical for organizations to establish a sound brand strategy internally and align the key tenants of a brand with external stakeholders. For channel marketers, this can be especially challenging as they rely on independent dealers, retailers or distributors to represent brands from a physical and marketing perspective in the local marketplace.
When considering brand perception and alignment, it’s important for marketers to:
- Establish an internal brand platform with team members
- Ensure consistency between internal and external messaging
- Support positioning of the brand with external stakeholders like dealers or distributors
Establishing an Internal Brand Foundation
Many companies create their brand positioning without considering one of their most important brand assets, the team members inside their organization! A key foundational element of any brand framework is how well internal stakeholders understand, communicate and deliver a brand’s key messages day in and day out.
Creating a solid foundation starts with developing a cohesive brand platform that includes input from and alignment among internal team members. While there are numerous brand platform models, they should include elements such as brand ethos, brand vision, an organization’s core values, brand position, dimensions of the brand that address what a company does, as well as how it goes about its business and the style with which it interacts with the marketplace. Finally, and maybe most importantly, an internal brand promise that resonates with all levels of an organization provides the connective tissue between how a brand is positioned internally and how it is communicated externally.
Aligning Internal and External Messaging
Having a brand framework in place and alignment established with internal stakeholders is great, but it’s also important to create an extensible brand messaging framework that helps ensure consistent communications with external audience touchpoints. If internal and external messaging isn’t aligned, ensuring brand alignment becomes that much more challenging. Couple that with the variety of paid, owned and earned media channels available, the challenge becomes even more daunting.
Brand marketers must be hyper focused on ensuring external brand messaging is executed consistently. They must also be disciplined when thinking about connecting and aligning brand messaging with external stakeholder audiences. Just like having a solid brand framework is important to align a brand’s characteristics with internal team members, creating a messaging framework that identifies external audience segments and aligns those segments with key brand tenants is essential. This matrix approach allows for developing key messaging and copy points for each segment and aligning them to tenants of a brand.
Supporting Brand Consistency in the Channel
For brands that rely on channel partners to distribute and sell their products and services, it’s important to have tools and resources in place to facilitate the consistent delivery of overall brand messaging. Oftentimes, this is accomplished through co-op or market development fund programs as well as ad building and asset management technologies. To be reimbursed or to receive funds, channel partners are required to follow brand guidelines in terms of creative outputs, such as a digital advertising or point of sale materials, for example.
Ad building and asset management programs and technologies allow a brand to manage compliance and visual integrity as well as corresponding messaging. When these technologies are supported by a partner who understands a brand’s desired outcomes and serves as the front-line enforcement of design and communication guidelines, channel marketers are able to ensure consistent delivery of branded creative and messaging.
Ensuring brand consistency can be challenging. By taking a methodical and disciplined approach to establishing a brand platform internally, creating consistency between internal and external brand messaging, and partnering with the right provider of tools, technologies and support services, companies that rely on channel partners to sell their products and services are able to ensure brand consistency and more effectively achieve their desired outcomes.
About Channel Fusion
For nearly 20 years, Channel Fusion has provided brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.