Direct Selling: Personality Included
5. Consider every point of contact an opportunity to reinforce your brand message. Make sure that your one-of-a-kind positioning carries through your direct mail, e-mails, confirmation letters or faxes. Take a look at the touchpoints that aren’t as obvious, like the appearance and staging of your box shipment and your hold music. In the best case scenario, the combination of your product photography, copy voice and design are so consistent that if your logo or masthead were obscured, someone familiar with your company could still recognize you as the sender.
6. Look for a way to deliver your message that is both special and relevant to the individual placing an order. Does it make sense to have a consistent spokesperson or cartoon delivering the message, making your brand not just a commodity, but a persona?
New Pig is a B-to-B company that sells industrial products, primarily slip-resistant floor mats, to factories. Its product is a commodity, certainly not an exciting or unique one. However, New Pig made its brand persona special and recognizable through a cartoon “spokespig” that appears throughout the Web site and catalog (which is titled “Pigalog”).
Holiday Inn Express courts business travelers in a clever and striking way though its “Stay Smart” campaign. Its smile-inducing commercials nearly always end with the line, “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!” In truth, nearly all hotels that market to the business traveler offer the same thing: comfortable rooms, free breakfast and reasonable rates. But Holiday Inn Express found a way to deliver that message in a memorable and appealing way.
Defining and refining your brand is not optional; it’s a necessity. B-to-B companies that do not maintain the brand experience will not survive this new era of economics. Your brand should be constantly re-evaluated to make sure the message is consistent and suitable to your audience. Don’t just review it at the yearly planning meeting and forget it for the rest of the year. Always remember customers are individuals with real lives, dealing with daily challenges in the workforce. A well-rounded brand message should be targeted to the individual and communicated across all channels; otherwise you are leaving it up to the customer to decide your brand—without input from you.