What is Brand Communication: CSG’s Ultimate Guide
Understanding how brand communication works is essential for creating a successful marketing strategy. What a brand says and how it says it attributes to 45% of its overall image — and color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. In fact, 99% of all brand communication focuses on light and sound. Finding the correct combination of messaging and visuals to bring your marketing communication and brand strategy to life is a critical exercise that creates internal alignment and lays the groundwork for external recognition. With these tools in place, every part of your marketing team — from creative to social media to digital strategists — can work from a single source of truth and create integrated communications with efficiency and consistency.
As a brand communications agency, Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) approaches every brand challenge with a guiding question: What problem are we solving or opportunity are we activating? The answer provides the guiding foundation to bring your overall marketing efforts and brand strategy to life, creating internal alignment and boosting external recognition.
What is Brand Communication?
In short, a brand’s voice strengthens its relationship with stakeholders on a long-term basis. Branding and communication are vital business strategies that involve crafting and perfecting a brand’s unique nuances and all-encompassing image to support the company’s aims and objectives. Brand communications involve communicating and delivering meaningful and focused brand messages to stakeholders through a variety of communication channels — from traditional media channels, such as newspapers and television, to social media platforms, content marketing, blogs and digital marketing. The best brand communication leverages an integrated approach to enlighten customers and other stakeholders, including employees, investors and sponsors, about the brand’s latest news and developments.
What Does Brand Communication Strategy Include?
No two brands are alike, which is why no two situations should have precisely the same brand communication solution. Brand work isn’t just one thing. It takes many forms and answers many challenges, both expected, such as inconsistent visual identity, and unexpected, such as a poorly defined product or service. An effective branding and communication strategy can be the answer to all of those problems, and then some.
CSG’s team of brand communications experts offers support for the following services:
While love-at-first-sight might be up for debate, it’s important to note that brand awareness-at-first-sight is unlikely. In fact, it takes 5-7 brand impressions before someone will remember your brand. Brand awareness and the associated benefits are ultimately built on brand experiences. In the quick-moving world of marketing and advertising, brand development is a long-term play that is easy to overlook in favor of faster ROI, but the opportunity cost of not taking the time to build a thoughtful brand communications plan is considerable.
Brand refresh and rebranding
Effective brand communications is an evolving strategy, which can sometimes require the need for a brand refresh or rebranding. Successful case studies recognize when brand materials no longer reflect the organization’s goals and need to be recalibrated to resonate with target customers.
From social media, events, digital media and traditional platforms, marketing campaigns are pivotal tactics to support an organization’s overall branding communications and goals.
A brand guide is the stage direction that cues how a brand should look, sound and interact. It’s a source of truth that keeps everything, from tone and voice to the application of color and the size of fonts, consistent. In any application, any medium, any context.
The work has to work. It’s an old adage because it’s true. Every successful branding case study details a visual identity that exists to support an organization’s goals and successfully answer the question — why?
A successful logo should reflect a brand’s mission and values and support its unique differentiators in a way that resonates with its target audiences.
A successful brand perception case study demonstrates how an organization’s human element is key to developing its brand story, demonstrating its value and distinguishing it from the competition.
Voice and tone
How brand communication works is the difference between a customer internalizing or forgetting a message. Strong brand voice and tone are crucial to creating effective brand communications.
What are the Benefits of Brand Communication in Business?
The right brand messages, a well-chosen look and the most effective mediums in which to share them can be the difference between controlling the conversation around your brand and letting others do that for you. Here are some of the many benefits of an effective brand communication strategy that helps organizations achieve their short-term goals and prepare for their long-term plans.
Get your brand noticed
Impactful brand communication leads to excellent exchanges with customers that result in lasting impacts that help them feel more connected to the organization. The best brand communication works to differentiate a brand from its competitors, boosting customer loyalty and brand affinity.
Creates positive brand association
Building a brand through cross-brand affiliation is another impactful benefit that helps more customers have a positive experience with your organization. Interacting with other companies can result in brand association, building recognition and brand value — and can help brands tap into a new niche community of potential customers.
Makes you an authority
Who are the authority brands that come to mind when you think of job seekers? Engineering? Running shoes? The answers to those questions are the result of quality products and services that are paired with strategic brand communications.
Improves customer loyalty
Nurturing customer loyalty is another vital advantage of branding communication. When a customer has a positive experience with your brand, repeated touch points continue to strengthen customer advocacy and generate more customers.
Develops the market
Brands that communicate with their customers also slowly and steadily build positive markets for themselves. When companies that produce a variety of brands at the same time need to launch a new product, they turn to strategic branding and communication to make a splash in the market.
Expands your audience
Brand communications are a great way to communicate and cross-pollinate with an entirely new client base, sharing your brand story and messages across channels that will resonate with your target audience.
How to Create Your Brand Communications Strategy
No matter the size of your organization, branding communication is essential for ongoing success. Today’s digital world and emphasis on content marketing give brands a spectrum of opportunities to communicate effectively with their customers.
In fact, an effective brand communication strategy can even turn consumers into co-creators of your content plan. With a cohesive and thoughtful framework in place, your organization can effectively bring your brand vision to life across any medium, channel or implementation.
Here are a few best-practice tips to consider when creating and evolving your branding communication strategy:
1. Create buyer personas
The best way to ensure your message resonates with your target audience is to truly understand who you are talking to. Creating buyer personas will help you understand your core customer groups and guide the corresponding voice and tone of marketing materials.
2. Identify your USP
Once you understand who you’re talking to, you need to determine what you need to talk about — or the unique value your brand has in the marketplace. A unique selling proposition (USP) is more than the product or service you’re selling, it’s the key element that sets you apart from your competitors.
3. Describe your brand image
Your brand’s USP and tailored buyer personas should guide the voice, tone and look of all brand communications. For optimal success, a brand needs to connect on an emotional level with its target audience. Designing a brand manifesto and developing brand guides are great ways to project a single voice, look, and core message every time you communicate with your audience.
4. Decide where and how to market your brand
Today’s robust digital marketing space means that there are more ways to communicate online than ever before. The key to building successful brand communications is understanding which avenues will resonate the most with your target audience and help you achieve your company’s specific goals.
5. Define success metrics
To measure success, it’s imperative to determine what your organization wants to accomplish with your brand communication strategy. Attract more customers? Build brand affinity? Develop loyal customers? Once you determine your goals, set key performance indicators to track your success. Here are some metrics to consider:
- Average shares/likes on social media
- Comments on your website, videos and social channels
- Customer satisfaction (ratings, reviews and testimonials)
- Conversion rates
- Email subscribe or follow rate
9 Ways to Improve Brand Communication
Whether you plan to cultivate your own brand communications strategy or consult an expert, long-term success relies on finding the right voice and tone that represents the unique aspects of your brand and the offerings you provide to stakeholders. Here are nine key elements to consider.
1. Select the spokesperson
Who is the face of your brand? Developing a spokesperson who will communicate important messages and brand perspectives is a key step in brand communication strategy. Ensure this person has the expertise, charisma and experience to represent, support and protect the brand.
2. Set up the appropriate media channels
Brand messages are worthless to the communication strategy if they aren’t communicated through the right media channels. Create your branding communication plan with a mix of traditional mediums and digital channels to effectively communicate with target audiences.
3. Display authenticity and establish credibility
Authentic and genuine communication is critical for building customer loyalty and developing long-lasting relationships with investors, sponsors and other stakeholders. Leveraging employees as brand advocates is a savvy way to bridge the gap between your brand’s talent strategy and brand communication strategy — and generate long-lasting brand champions that effectively contribute to the overall brand communications.
4. Engage the audience in conversation
Branding and communication should never be a one-way street. Whichever medium your brand communicates through, be sure to create opportunities for conversation. Feedback, input, suggestions and sentiments are crucial information that will continue to inform your ongoing branding communication strategy.
5. Highlight the brand’s personality
Using emotion in communicating your brand is essential in humanizing your organization. Leverage your brand’s voice and tone through the entire customer journey to differentiate your organization, create an emotional connection, build trust and develop long-lasting brand affinity.
6. Offer helpful information
The best brand communication provides audiences with resources, information and solutions that help overcome their common pain points.
7. Keep your communication open and transparent
Transparent communication is key to building and maintaining stakeholder trust. From a press conference to newsletter content, every communication should be clear, open, true and relevant.
8. Turn your customers into advocates
Focusing on developing exceptional customer service experiences and creating shareable, enticing content ensures your brand’s fans will carry the message much further than your organization could go on its own. Brand communications that leverage social media campaigns and influencer relations can successfully transform customers into brand advocates — and exponentially multiply marketing efforts.
9. Create exceptional customer experiences
Beyond the quality of your brand’s products or services, customer experiences are key to creating and nurturing customer affinity. The best brand communications look for opportunities to create exceptional customer experiences at every turn — from responding to blog comments to customer service interactions.
Develop Your Brand Communication Strategy With Us
What is brand communication? It’s an evolving marketing strategy that promotes your brand image by perfecting its unique nuances and authentically communicating them to all stakeholders. Contact us today if you’re searching for an expert branding partner that can take your business to the next level. Armed with a spectrum of brand communication services, CSG brings brands to life with purpose and helps organizations achieve their goals.