Is your firm’s brand agile enough for today’s changing world?

Brand agility means more than just reacting quickly to a specific change. It is knowing and accepting that your brand should always be adapting. That your brand is a dynamic asset that doesn’t stop at launch.

Marketers live in a world of constant change, from the competitive landscape to developing media platforms to evolving social attitudes to even the way we work. It is critical not only to keep up but also to be proactive.

Today’s agile marketers are adapting to changes in the buyer journey, including:

1. Presentation upgrades
Right now, you’re likely not going to have the opportunity to connect with audiences in person. Without that face-to-face connection, it’s tough to build chemistry and even tougher to grab and hold attention. So you’ll need to rely more heavily on your materials.

  • Will your presentation keep the room engaged? Don’t flood your slides with copy. Highlight key takeaways and use graphics to help tell your story.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Make sure the presenters are well rehearsed, because they will have less access to visual cues to help them adjust their remarks.
  • Create a leave-behind to summarize key takeaways and serve as a reference. Plus, it provides a roadmap for the audience or presenter to follow up.

2. New ways to connect
We’ve all seen events cancelled or moved online. Board meetings and even court proceedings (hello, “I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”) have had to pivot to video conferencing. To give you a sense of the changing landscape, a May 2020 Harris poll showed that 50% of US adults had increased their social media use since the outbreak began. ALM Intelligence’s Legal Compass reported that 6% of events in 2019 were virtual; in 2020, the number jumped to 47%. Is your firm keeping up?

  • Polish your social media templates. The more engaging the visual, the higher chance of engagement.
  • Repurpose your content across different platforms. Why stop at one?
  • Consider all forms of media, including videos, webinars and podcasts, and the newly launched LinkedIn Stories.
  • Consider humanizing the digital experience by featuring video on your website, emails, and bios. It’s a great way to get that personal connection when we are still six feet (or more) apart.
  • Zoom meetings (don’t groan!). Even when it seems that a phone call would do, actually seeing your face strengthens connections with clients. Check out our article “Lead Virtual Meetings Like a Boss” for tried-and-true tips on running a successful virtual meeting.
  • Form smaller social groups where you can find common interests that may not necessarily be business related.

3. Tailored communications
The personal touch is critical right now. Clients appreciate the extra effort and TLC, which will go a long way toward growing brand loyalty.

  • Create dedicated microsites to cater to specific audience needs. These also provide an opportunity to reinforce your brand in a targeted way.
  • Focus on the customer experience. As noted in our recent survey “How to Win and Protect Client Relationships in the Age of Remote Engagement,” picking up the phone to check in with clients is an often-missed opportunity.
  • A chatbot might be unconventional for your business, but more and more businesses rely on them to provide a direct connection and speed up the sales cycle.
  • Ask your clients what’s keeping them awake at night and provide thought leadership on topics that resonate.
  • Aggregate information that your clients can use. Consider developing resource centers for one-stop reading.

4. Maximizing digital
Limited face-to-face opportunities make digital marketing more important than ever. McKinsey’s recent analysis shows the difference between sales interaction before and during COVID-19 — with the majority citing traditional face-to-face interaction as more important before the pandemic and digital-enabled sales interactions as more important during it.

  • Are your e-coms curated and segmented to your audience? If your firm is sending a lot of emails that are not relevant or customized, they will be ignored.
  • Consider a campaign approach around a series of touchpoints focused on a strategic topic. This keeps your team from expending too much energy on one-off pieces and creates a strong structure that supports a consistent brand.
  • Curated content that users self-select puts power in the buyer’s hand. Who doesn’t love a choose-your-own-adventure option?
  • Clean up your content. Test your marketing, articles, thought leadership pieces, etc. for readability. Almost everyone could benefit from a good editor. Pro tip: Test your content using the Gunning Fog Index. Newspapers are geared at 8-10 / The Wall Street Journal: 11-12. Given the complexities of certain subjects, you may have trouble staying this low. But getting the index significantly under 20 makes it more likely your content will be read and valued for its business value.

To create an agile brand, you should review your buyer’s journey often to see what touchpoints have changed. Increases in working-from-home orders and social distancing have already altered the journey substantially. Consider whether you need to reallocate resources to meet changes in the landscape.

To create an agile brand, you should review your buyer’s journey often to see what touchpoints have changed.

The battle for engagement continues to intensify, and only a strong, agile brand can cut through the chaos. If your firm hasn’t changed its marketing mix for a while, this moment — when everyone is anticipating change and disruption — marks an exceptional opportunity to think creatively. You may find that your audience is more receptive than ever to connecting in new ways.

Adapted From: July 21, 2020 LMA presentation by Charlyne Fabi and Jeorjina Tegel

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