In a world where there’s thousands of blog posts about the same thing and paid adverts on every device you set your eyes on – how do you stand out from the crowd and get people to spend time with your brand?
At Ashton McGill, we focus on brand affinity, whether that’s with our main brand or our sub-brand, Never Settle. We’re getting in front of our target customers and they’re engaging with our brands better than ever before. We know that if they’ve come from our podcast or content, they’re a perfect customer for us, because we share the same values. So, we thought we’d share a little about our brand journey and how to establish an aspirational brand.
A big part of growing our own brand has been our manifesto and values. Having a clear ethos from day one gives you something to structure your marketing around, and communicates to your customers exactly what you’re about. Most importantly, it helps you engage with like-minded people who deeply connect with your brand, because they share these same core values.
Once you’ve established your values, everything you do should fit with these, whether that’s your marketing, or your customer interactions. A great way to do this is to create a document outlining your Marketing Strategy, that your whole organisation can see. You can even do this as a team, so everyone has a deep understanding of the brand’s values. You could include key information like your mission statement; your positioning statement; customer profiles; your value proposition; your ethos and core values; channels and any other relevant info you can think of. Think of this document as the blueprint for everything you do, online and offline, not just marketing-wise.
Our Brand Statement:
The first accountant that you’ll love working with.
Content marketing is still a thing, and more important than ever. To build great customers who spend more, value what you do and share your content, you need to be doing content in some form. With brand development and content marketing, you’ll only get out as much as you put in. So, if you don’t invest the time in developing solid brand pillars and creating killer content, then how can you expect your customers to buy from you? Engaged customers will buy into everything you do, because they believe in your brand. Being the podcast is far better than being the advert that people skip over on the podcast.
We’re not saying that Facebook ads don’t work, because they can. In fact, why not advertise your content to potential customers instead of your product or service?! That way, people will engage with your brand directly, you’ll build a relationship with potential customers, and demonstrate your industry expertise.
It’s all about creating content that provides real value for your audience, rather than making a hard sell. Value they can’t get anywhere else.
We do this through our sub-brand, Never Settle.
Never Settle is a podcast featuring innovators, gamechangers, creatives and leaders who are challenging the status quo. We pick the brains of people who do things differently, digging into the inspiring stories that have brought them to where they are today. We’ve honed in on one element of our ethos to establish the sub-brand Never Settle, creating content that’s truly tailored to that niche, and which supports our existing brand.
Here’s some example of brands who are nailing it.
Video marketing software provider Wistia created the sub-brand Brandwagon, a video series of long-form content which powerfully supports their existing brand and establishes them as no-nonsense kings of video.
Mailchimp: Mailchimp Presents
Email marketing platform Mailchimp upped their game by creating Mailchimp Presents, a collection of original video and podcast content that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit. Both Mailchimp and Wistia have created powerful sub-brands which directly support what they do. They’ve cleverly established themselves as top content creators, as well as content platform providers, by offering shining examples of the kinds of content you can host using their platforms.
Creating Content that Works
Let’s face it, customers today are fickle. If we don’t like a product, we’ll return it, and if we don’t like a service, we’ll unsubscribe from it. And if we’ve had a bad customer experience, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be tweeting about it!
So, how do you cut through the noise, influence customer decisions and reduce customer churn?
Focus on creating great, evergreen, shareable content! Content that speaks directly to your customers’ gains and pains, deeply empathises with their problems and offers tangible solutions and outcomes. You don’t have to spend a fortune on marketing, or even hire an in-house marketer- quality is better than quantity. Just ensure the blogs, videos or podcasts you do create speak directly to your target audience and actually resonate with them. And make sure they clearly communicate your values, your mission statement and your ‘why’. Unsure where to start? Talk to your customers! Find out what’s working for them, what’s not and share stories about how you’ve helped businesses, and can help more businesses!
It’s all about building a strong brand personality; a voice of authority that people know and trust, establishing your place in the market, demonstrating your industry knowledge and what makes you different–and better–than the business next door. This isn’t something you can do overnight, and you’ll find your brand voice and personality will naturally evolve as your business grows and develops. But honing this brand voice is the key to successful content marketing and brand affinity.
Aligning Your Brand Message
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt along the way, it’s making sure that everything you do is aligned, whether that’s online or offline, marketing, sales, or the delivery of your product/service. Giving your customers a coherent, aligned message and experience is one of the best things you can do for your brand, and your business. Everyone in your organisation should share the same goals and objectives, all based around the purpose of helping your customer. This is admittedly more difficult to achieve in larger organisations, but it’s so, so important to get right. Because only when your whole organisation is aligned with your brand vision, will you create exceptional customer and brand experiences. And once you’ve nailed this, your customers will become your biggest source of marketing. Because happy customers will sing your praises and ultimately lead to even more happy customers!