Posted on June 2, 2017
First of all, let’s address what a brand is and why it is important.
A brand differentiates you from your competitors; it communicates your company’s values, purpose and capabilities; it’s a method of shaping where and how your company sits within the minds of its customers.
The financial brand space is becoming more crowded and differentiation weakening, it can be difficult to be heard. Remember, if you want to be listened to, your brand better have something important to say; that represents the company’s values. After all, if you don’t stand for something, then why should a customer stand by you?
For a brand to be successful it must be integrated across all touchpoints; externally and internally. A brand is a representation of your values, what you stand for, and therefore must be coherent to be believed. Research shows that 40-60% of integrated brands report a 10-15% increase in revenue.
Brand integration aligns marketing activity; coordinating efforts to provide a seamless consumer-brand experience and as a result, requires four types of integration to be achieved.
1. Vertical integration is all about the alignment of your company’s vision, values and purpose. This is vital as an unclear brand message can lead to a misguided work force and a loss of market distinction.
As a result, we suggest you ask yourself, ‘What is our purpose? What are our values? And what is a vision we can be proud of?’.
We suggest you write a vision statement, for internal use only, this will unite aspirations; and provide the team with a purpose. It will connect your company’s vision and purpose and acts as a promise to one another, as well as a promise to your customers.
2. Horizontal integration refers to the alignment of your company’s brand, marketing strategy and capabilities.
For instance, some brands pride themselves on their client intimacy; and as a result, their marketing strategy should be consumer centric. However, this can only be achieved if the company has the skillset and correct employee to customer ratio.
3. External integration focuses on the alignment of external communications, with emphasis on visual brand identity across all consumer touchpoints.
To create a seamless experience for consumers, we advise that you break down your company’s offerings to correspond with the buyer’s journey as way of recognising touchpoints that may have gone unnoticed. This is important, as the reoccurrence of a coherent brand cements a company’s values; anchoring, to the consumer, why you are a fit for them.
4. Internal integration unites employees through internal brand communication; informing and hopefully inspiring them by relaying what the company stands for; and as a result how they should approach their work.
For example, if you are working as a copywriter for a brand whose characteristics are playful, the TOV you should use would reflect this. Therefore, employee participation is essential to the success of internal integration and is entwined with vertical interaction – encouraging employees to remain focused on the brand’s vision; keeping the ‘promise’ they made one another.
We have only briefly looked into the power of brand interaction, but by providing you with an overview we hope that this will get you questioning what your brand stands for and how it lives.