I was delighted to be interviewed recently by Noel Ong in his online series of Rooster Talks to give a brief outline of Vermilion Pinstripes’ Modern Marketing and the philosophy behind our mission to make businesses happy, in particular about Branding for ASX Companies.
In a nutshell, this involves helping brands build business confidence and refining their relationships with customers and business peers, through marketing and communications technology.
I’ve worked in technology and marketing from a young age, so adapting technological resources to the individual needs of businesses is my passion. And technology underpins a great deal of Vermilion Pinstripes’ work with clients.
So much so in fact, that the Modern Marketing Framework I developed from my experience of more than 25 years in business and marketing consulting has now been officially trademarked.
That’s a tremendous stamp of approval for the work of Vermilion Pinstripes and it enables us to tailor marketing solutions and their technologies to individual needs of our clients.
Creating Brand Identity
These needs may be many and diverse, but one fundamental requirement for any business is a brand identity, which can be applied right across varying business sectors.
There are many examples of this; we can even think of someone applying for a job who wants to stand out favourably from the other candidates. What skills, experience and characteristics suitable to the company would create this personal brand identity to make the candidate more attractive?
Similarly, businesses selling products and services need to stand out. If you have a choice of two cafes selling the same brand of coffee, what makes you choose one café over the other? It will be the different experience of using one of them – perhaps the comfortable décor and ambience, or staff friendliness – which all creates a defined brand identity.
Corporations seeking investors have to attract them by building trust in their brand identities for meaningful partnerships.
Even in religion brand identity is important, for God needs branding to build faithful followers.
So, in all aspects of life and business there is a need for brand identification; I like to think about all this as the Art and Science of “Selling without Selling”
Characteristics of a Brand
Simply put, if your business doesn’t have a brand, it doesn’t have a purpose. Your employees won’t know why they come to work for the company and your stakeholders won’t know why you exist.
It’s all like being a person with no name or identity, or even a soul.
So, businesses take branding seriously. To see examples we only have to look at companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, who all exhibit aspects of effective branding.
For ASX Companies undergoing strategic repositioning they respond and assure the public and their key stakeholders about it, by informing of who they are, what their intentions are in terms of business, market or product development, why they’re taking action, how they’re doing it and what their value proposition is.
They build trust and confidence in the market beyond producing an annual report by building a momentum of providing information through marketing and communications as well as branding – “Selling without Selling.”
And they also engage with communities in their target segments to build positivity and make their brand admirable.
In the modern world of the internet and social media, branding is people’s perception of you, so it’s better to shape their perception.
The vital takeaway here is the importance of branding – it gives commercial value and increases the value of your business.
And brand valuation is the commercial valuation of your brand from consumer perception, recognition and trust.
This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand equity – a powerful brand can make your business invaluable to investor, shareholders and potential buyers.
Nowadays, the importance of websites for a business has become somewhat downplayed in favour of a social media presence, but I believe a website is still an essential business component.
Modern websites have become interactive and can be linked to a variety of other channels for enhanced communications.
For example, one of our clients, My Blue Tea, runs her entire business on her website. We’ve connected her Messenger to her website so that she can chat with customers, solve problems and sell directly.
We also created a TV channel on her website where she puts her recipes and sales promotions videos, which direct customers to other areas of the website where they can learn more about a product or purchase it right there and then.
From that one web platform she can do everything from providing information, special offers, sales, blogs, social media posts, sales videos, email campaigns, quotations, invoicing, running the store and checking stock or product shipping status.
Websites can be personalised – if you’ve interacted with the Vermilion Pinstripes websites, certain pages will address you by name.
They can also track customer behaviours. If you show interest in one of the press releases on our website, it will encourage you to view other pages with the same subject, ask you to download an eBook, set up a free consultation and connect your interest to your Customer Relationship Management so that sales personnel can follow up and nurture your interest.
And social media is valuable to attract interest and engage customers by driving them to your website, where they can experience your brand; all these tools work together depending on how you orchestrate your customers’ buying journey.
Building Connections on Social Media
But although social media is a good platform for engagement to help extend your reach, some companies make the mistake of using it simply to talk about themselves. To these companies, branding is all about what they’re good at and what they’ll do next to make money.
Social media can do much more to shape positive brand perceptions and make companies more personable, relatable and admirable.
For example, an ethical company keen on cleaning up oceans can talk about the recyclable materials it uses and how buying its products means it can invest money in a partnership to clear up ocean pollution. It could even showcase examples of innovative ideas to make the world a better place.
In the same vein, social media is a good educational platform; My Blue Tea sells edible botanicals by providing recipes and showing how to make interesting drinks like pink gin.
But you must know where your target audiences are on social media to reach them effectively, through the right channels they frequent.
A company executive seeking investor relations has to find the best channel to make contact professionally – it could be LinkedIn, or it might be better to invest in Sales Navigator.
You must decide which channel gives more mileage to activate your brand and which one gives more mileage to generate leads.
In our recent Webinar on Video Marketing, My Blue Tea's founder shared her experiences and one of her comments was: “You have to work it.”
By this, she meant hash tagging, commenting to encourage more comments, sharing to other groups and platforms for better reach, tagging influencers so that people notice you, messaging them, and telling them how you want them to help you – such as recommending to others and asking for Google Reviews.
I believe branding is much more than just a company name, tagline, logo or symbol, design, colours and brand voice.
Branding is an identity; and that identity comes with the overall experience a customer undergoes when interacting with a business — as a shopper, customer, social media follower, or even just a passer-by.
It evokes an emotion where it connects with your target audience. They understand your purpose, think you’re admirable and want to support you, your products and services.
So, to sum-up:
- Branding gives you awareness and recognition so people know who you are and you gain top-of-mind recall. Think of when you see the “Swoosh” tick – you instantly know it’s Nike.
- Branding also gives you an identity; that emotional interaction between you and the brand that gives you more than a name.
- It gives your employees pride in working for the company, and helps you “Sell without Selling” as strong branding builds customer trust.
- Branding increases your business’s value - brand valuation is the commercial valuation of your brand derived from consumer perception, recognition, and trust.
- This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand equity – a powerful brand can make your business invaluable to investors, shareholders, and potential buyers.
I delve further into the brand experience and its importance for companies in my interview, which you check out in the video below, or on Samso's website.
About the Author
Veronica Lind is the Business and Marketing Strategist of Vermilion Pinstripes - Sales Marketing and Communications. She is the creator of the Modern Marketing FrameworkTM that enables local, regional and global executives to sell without selling, build business confidence, and thrive.