How brands communicate with consumersWritten by Tom Wrigley 2 November 2021
With literally millions of businesses competing for the attention and custom of potential clients, ensuring your brand is able to communicate in a strong and effective manner has never been more important. Indeed, according to Forbes, a brand’s ability to successfully communicate with their customers in a consistent and authentic way across all platforms has the potential to increase revenue by up to 23 per cent.
Of course, brand communication has always been an essential part of business. However, with the monumental rise of social media over the past two decades and the virtual soapbox this provides, implementing effective methods of brand communication – both in terms of traditional forms of communication and through digital channels – needs to be taken more seriously now than ever before if you want to succeed as a business.This is perhaps reflected in the fact that, in the US alone, an incredible 91 per cent of all businesses use social media for marketing and communication purposes. This is a figure that is also expected to grow.
With this in mind, in this blog we’ve explained and critiqued some of the major methods businesses use to communicate with their customers, before then looking into how these processes can be successfully implemented. Read on to find out more.
How do brands communicate with consumers?
From running commercials on TV and placing adverts on social media platforms to implementing public relations campaigns and sending marketing material directly to customers digitally, there are plenty of ways in which brands communicate – both directly and indirectly – with their customers. These methods all tend to fit into one of four major categories.
The least subtle yet typically most powerful form of brand communication, advertising provides a way of communicating with customers en masse via a broad range of different channels. From billboards and adverts placed in newspapers and other publications to radio and television commercials, no matter whether an advertising campaign is emotive, eye-catching, memorable or even intentionally irritating, successful advertising will persuade potential customers them to engage with a brand.
Online media/digital marketing
Although social media and online shopping are usually the first things people consider when thinking about the emergence of the internet, digital marketing has also been a huge development. Significantly cheaper than traditional advertising, digital marketing can provide brands with a way to market their products/services to specific audiences and/or individuals through a targeted approach, rather than simply broadcasting to the masses and seeing what sticks.
This means, if digital marketing research is carried out correctly – and search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategies are implemented – brand communication can be carried out online via brand websites, search engines and social media platforms. This form of direct marketing is becoming increasingly more common with 74per cent of brands in a recent ‘State of PPC’ survey saying PPC is a huge driver for their business.
Public relations (PR)
Another method of brand communication comes in the form of public relations campaigns. In its simplest form, a PR campaign is a strategic communications process that aims to build mutually beneficial relationships between a brand and their target audience, typically using the media/press as a conduit. Unlike advertising campaigns, PR is utilised to create a positive view of a company/brand, rather than simply drive sales.
With this in mind, successful PR campaigns tend to revolve around a general public interest, a current trend or a salient event that can be connected back to your brand’s products/services. A good example of a successful PR campaign is Uber’s 2020 ‘Thank You For Not Riding’ campaign. By encouraging customers to not use their taxi service during the first COVID-19 lockdown, the business attempted to build up good will and improve its brand image
Although it may seem obvious, good old-fashioned face-to-face communication still remains one of the most effective forms of brand communication. Meaningful brand-positive interactions in the form of in-store visits and consultations, client meetings, product demonstrations and industry events can be an authentic and effective way to inform and encourage potential customers to do business with you. This form of communication is also often seen as a more personal and tailored approach.
How brands should communicate with consumers
While implementing brand communication strategies that include the four forms of outreach mentioned above is relatively simple for businesses, ensuring they execute these techniques in the most effective way is far more challenging. Indeed, according to media consultants Zimmer Communications, 50 per cent of customers feel most brand communication is irrelevant. With this in mind, finding ways of making your communication methods as concise, authentic, relevant and informative as possible is the key to successfully interacting with your consumer base. To help give you an idea of just how brands should communicate with their customers, here are our top tips:
Create and implement consistency
Across all forms of communication, your brand should be tied together through the projection of one distinctive look, tone of voice, style and, most importantly of all, core message. Consistency in the ways a brand presents itself online, in person, through their advertising and how it is portrayed by third parties helps to build your brand’s reputation as a professional organisation that can be trusted, in the eyes of customers.
Make every communication count
As previously mentioned, implementing the brand communication strategies above is the simple part – getting customers to actually take notice can be much harder. Whether you’re talking about face-to-face communication, interactions via social media, ad copy or PR releases, successful brand communication should grab the attention of potential customers as quickly as possible. Customers will tend to decide within seconds whether or not they are going to engage with your brand, so bear in mind that the best forms of brand communication are informative, to the point, eye-catching and scannable.
Make communications actionable
When designing different forms of brand communication, always ask yourself the question ‘what do I want the customer to do after seeing this?’. This is to say, do you want your customer to follow a link to your site, to subscribe to your newsletter, to attend an event, or even to simply see your brand in a better light? With all forms of communication you put out as a brand, setting an objective and giving your customers a clear action to take off the back of it is essential.
Make communications sharable
In today’s world of YouTubers and Instagram influencers, brands and their marketers have to work twice as hard in order to be noticed. One way to stand out in the crowd and ensure your brand communication strategies are heard above the noise on a large scale is to make each communication as shareable as possible. From social media campaigns that your customers can share on their profiles to interesting and thought-provoking PR and advertising campaigns that customers will want to share with their friends via word of mouth, all communications should be designed to get customers excited and wanting to talk about your brand.