MARKETING CAMPAIGNS DE- signed to increase and/or improve brand awareness present a multitude of opportunities for companies— and the possibilities for what brand aspects to focus on and how to execute the campaign are virtually unlimited. But such freedom also presents a chal- lenge. When everything is potentially on the table, it can be harder to decide on the most important brand aspects and the most effective ways to target them. And a relatively amor- phous goal like brand awareness can make it more difficult for mar- keters to measure the success of the campaign. Companies can give themselves a leg up in determining both what to focus on and how to target it effec- tively by researching to determine what customers say matters most to them, according to Karmen Wilhelm, vice president of marketing, Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We work to keep our finger on the pulse of customers’ changing needs and expectations,” she said. “Only with this understanding can we effec- tively evaluate business opportunities and develop strategies to add value, differentiate ourselves, and remain relevant in the market. Knowing what our customers value most helps us infuse spe- cific brand messaging into all of our marketing efforts —print, digital, social, truck fleet, radio, and more.” Wilhelm noted that when it comes to brand awareness, a specific campaign can be helpful, but to be effective, brand- ing has to be followed through in every facet of marketing and other business operations. “It doesn’t matter what the campaign is or which solution is being showcased; we’re able to take a disciplined and purposeful approach to integrating brand messaging appropriate to the target customer type,” she said, noting that branding has to include every customer interaction, whether it is on paper, on screen, or in person. Part of incorporating branding into every interaction is ensuring consis- tency. “Branding is more difficult to reinforce the more disjointed or in- consistent a company’s marketing
materials are,” said Jay Matsueda, senior director of strategic marketing and communications at LSI Lighting Solutions. “Establishing a look and feel that creates and maintains a company's personality over time is important to reap the most benefit from cus- tomers’ exposures to its brand wher- ever they see it,” he added. “If every advertisement, brochure, and trade show booth could appear to be a one- off in its design style, then memora- bility, recognition, and recall are bound to suffer.” To ensure that kind of consistency, Wilhelm noted that her company uses an integrated approach with several communication platforms whenever Van Meter has a new campaign or promotion. The marketing team re- purposes and reviews the informa- tion for each campaign to maximize reach and drive and ensure branding is consistent. As important as day-to-day consis- tency is, improving brand awareness does sometimes require a change. Matsueda noted that LSI recently refreshed its company logo to update its style and better reflect the compa- ny’s changing product offerings. He noted that the company saw refresh- ing the logo as an opportunity to make other changes that affect brand awareness, including more firmly establishing official colors and a style guide and then making updates to other materials from there. “Once the logo was finalized, we altered everything to reflect this new aspect of our corporate identity, prior- itizing first the items of highest visi- bility to third parties and customers,” he explained. “So the website, social media, specification sheets, literature, trade show booth elements, advertise- ments, business cards and letterhead, and other public-facing aspects were all most important early on.” A VIEW FROM THE TOP Marketing professionals from winning companies hare their best practices and strategies. by Carol Katarsky
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