Navigating the New Brand Journey

Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago American Marketing Association’s annual BrandSmart conference. The one-day conference was chock-full of informative, engaging content focused on educating marketers to better navigate the new brand journey.

The conference covered each stage of the brand-consumer relationship, from incorporating data and insights into all strategies and plans, to creating compelling brand experiences and bringing the plans to life, to ultimately creating brand equity and showing the value of a campaign.

Some of the highlights:

  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to lose sight of your original goals and objectives when you get into execution-mode for a marketing plan. Megan Biggam, SVP and head of retail banking at Byline Bank, and Matt Gordon, Executive Director at Landor, recommend starting every meeting by reminding participants of the goal to ensure everyone stays on-topic and ladders back to the overarching objective. Or, print it and put it on your team members’ desks as a constant reminder to think about why we are doing this.
  • Live Your Purpose: David Armano, Edelman’s global strategy director, emphasized the need for brands to be responsive and resilient, in order to earn attention, trust and affinity. Brands need to know who they are, and who they are not – and this needs to be embedded in their DNA as a company. Brands need to share stories and experiences that showcase the value they add to consumers’ lives.
  • Be Easily Accessible: It might seem like a no-brainer, but providing ways for your audience to conveniently access your brand is key. Nick Scarpino, VP of Marketing and Public Relations at Portillo’s, discussed the importance of making your contact information easily discoverable on your website, or participating in and fostering communication on social media. Whether it’s ensuring you can be found by your target audience on search platforms like Google, Yelp and more, it’s more important than ever that consumers feel they are able to easily connect with a brand.
  • Leverage Physical Location: Your company isn’t just what you put out publicly – the physical space that you operate in, or accommodate customers in, needs to also represent who you are as a company. Regardless of whether it’s an office space, a restaurant or a store, Scarpino emphasized that the design of these spaces need to also be a good visual identity of the brand. Be sure that your signage can be easily seen, that you place your promotional materials in visible places, and that the overall aesthetic represents your brand identity.

Caitlin Falvey is a senior account supervisor, marketing and new business, Edelman Chicago.