What’s your brand’s reputation worth?

The customer’s emotional connection to a brand’s reputation reflects their values and beliefs

Customers select brands that align with their values.

The customer’s emotional connection to a brand’s reputation reflects their values and beliefs

It has been documented by several top-flight management consulting firms that B-to-B brands can achieve brand loyalty by providing positive experiences across multiple touchpoints. While I agree with this statement, it fails to take into account the customer’s emotional connection with the brand’s reputation. Their emotional connection is the real estate between the customer’s ears. Owning this can be a competitive advantage because it makes the competition work harder and invest more to be considered in the evaluation segment of the considered purchase process.

What’s your brand’s reputation worth?

Aside from an intangible asset listing for “goodwill” on the financial statement, studies have show that companies with strong brands have a higher EBIT margin than those with weak brands. This can be attributed to the buyer’s positive perception of the brand based on its reputation in the industry segment.

Small companies that invest consistently in their brand’s reputation can command premium pricing, leading to ownership of the high-end segment of the industry. This can cause larger competitors to adjust their price point and product offering to appeal to a less sophisticated user, resulting in smaller profit margins.

Purchasing cycle touchpoints

The traditional B-to-B purchasing funnel has been disrupted. No longer is it a linear journey but more of a spiral with blended phases. These phases consist of awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, and advocacy. During any one of the phases, the buyer can spin off into a new search when social media or peer recommendations influences the brand’s reputation. Of course, building a personal relationship is still the most effective means of influencing the purchasing decision. However, in the digital age, a majority of buyers have already their completed their due diligence by the time the sales representative is brought into the loop.

Brand investment marketing touchpoints:

  • Website
  • Advertising
  • Sales collateral
  • Press releases, feature articles
  • Social media networks
  • Industry trade shows

Customer messaging that connects

B-to-B customer communications has primarily focused on product feature/function and innovation. Additional themes have been security of supply, global reach, and customer service. While the above topics are important, there is a shift in customer sentiment and a yearning to know more of the brand story. This shift represents an opportunity to enhance the brand reputation by communicating, for example, how it treats supply chain vendors in developing countries, or supporting social causes that benefit a population segment or environmental causes that protect natural resources.

Customers select brands that align with their values. The Wal-Mart brand stands for low cost, Audi stands for automotive engineering excellence, and Whole Foods stands for locally sourced organic produce. Visit any of the brands’ stores or showrooms and you will see an alignment with their customer value systems. Brands that speak to their customer’s values and beliefs will have an enduring reputation and lasting value within that segment.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Investing in your brand perception

Should your brand be aligned with a moral cause?

Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Copyright: ribah / 123RF Stock Photo

Aviation Marketing: Learning to Love HTML Code

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is about attitude, not aptitude.

Digital ad spending in North America is projected to top $51 billion in 2014. This figure does not take into account the additional spending for digital inbound marketing for websites, emails, landing pages, and newsletters. Now, almost every marketing channel relies on HTML code (Hyper Text Markup Language) to deliver the marketing message.

Why then do so many marketing practitioners shy away from learning the language of HTML code?

Digital native or digital immigrant?

There are two ways to answer this question — by date of birth or digital attitude.

Digital natives were born after the introduction of digital technology. For the natives, there has always been broadband, Facebook, Hulu and Twitter.

Digital immigrants were born before the introduction of digital technology. Immigrants were brought up on radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.

To stay relevant, marketers need to embrace digital technology in order to assimilate into the digital native world.

Learn the language of HTML code through online tutorials

One site I found helpful is Codecademy.com. Codecademy.com offers tutorials in learning several web development languages through self-paced online lessons.

As mentioned above, learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude. Starting with basic HTML tags <html></html>, you follow a progression of steps learning how specific tags control the display of photos, links, and text. As you progress through HTML code and your comfort level increases, you are introduced to cascading style sheets (CSS). CSS language lets you control specific page sections of HTML code, streamlining the coding process.

Knowledge of HTML code and CSS enhances templates

A lot of inbound digital marketing relies on the use of templates for blogs, newsletters, and websites. For all the ease templates provide – page format, color selection, text edit – they can be limiting when it comes to adding additional effects and features. Looking “under the hood” at the HTML and CSS code determines how the page will display and if the HTML code is robust enough to portray the page across multiple platforms in a consistent manner. One advantage of being able to identify and change code is the ability to customize the template so it becomes unique to your brand.

Small HTML code changes provide consistent design across browsers and operating systems

Not long ago I delved into my own newsletter code. It had been a while since I’d looked under the hood and it quickly became apparent that the original template HTML code was not as robust as it needed to be for displaying across generational versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer.

Inserting new HTML code, fixing missing code, and deleting redundant code cleaned up the problem for consistent email and browser display.

The right attitude and HTML code training will insure that you’ll get a consistent, quality product that will support brand presence across ever-increasing digital networks and platforms.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Inbound marketing essentials

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

Is your website attracting customers or sending them away

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Inbound marketing essentials

Have the right inbound marketing tools and platforms in place help build brand preference

Have the right inbound marketing tools and platforms in place help build brand preference.

Aviation manufacturers are slowly warming up to the idea of inbound marketing. Progressive practitioners are realizing the benefits of improved organic search rankings, broader reach of influence, and increased brand preference by investing in a strategic inbound marketing program.

When contemplating the execution of an inbound marketing program there are business, strategic and tactical issues to consider before starting the process.

It starts with identifying business goals.

Just as with external marketing, inbound marketing should be aligned with achieving business goals. Drafting a communication plan will help identify points of differentiation, constituent’s perception of your brand, and help develop key messages that resonate with decision makers.

When developing key messages it’s important to understand what keeps the decision makers for your particular product or service up at night. Understanding their business issues helps with crafting messages that create emotional connection.

Once the messaging segment is compete then it’s time to move into tactical execution.

Where to start?

Some of the basic tools and platforms you will need are:

  • Website
  • Presence on social media channels that connect with your constituent base
  • Resources for content development
  • Coordinated branding materials
    • Presentation templates
    • Presentation graphics
    • E-information sheets
    • High quality photography

Website: Electronic brochure or brand story magnet?

Weather developing a new or retooling an existing website pay attention to developing an overall concept or theme for the site. A good concept can differentiate you from the competition and help bring continuity to your outbound and inbound marketing support pieces as well. Bypassing the concept step can result in a website that is generic and more of an electronic brochure instead of a reflection of your brand story.

Another issue for consideration is the flexibility of the website with regards to adding sections and additional functionality as market and business conditions dictate. One important website attribute I stress is a simple content management system for content updates and announcement postings.

Social media channels are important.

Old school aviation marketers have yet to warm up to these channels but those that don’t have a presence are just inviting their competition to take the upper hand. When this happens you have to work twice as hard and invest that much more to achieve parity with your competition.

Content creation and design.

Having consistence of messaging and continuity of graphic execution helps solidify your brand image. Understanding how online content is digested above the fold and below the fold provides the insight needed to determine how much content to put on a webpage, where to place it, and when to augment the content with a downloadable file.

Additional Articles on this topic you may find of interest.

How to engineer a social marketing strategy

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Defining your brand’s personality

Connecting decision makers with your brand

Please leave you comments or thoughts below.