by Kenneth Rudich
Before setting out to make your business brand glow, you must first have a good brand image as a foundation. Anything less should prompt you to find and fix whatever shortcomings may be preventing it.
With a good brand image, making it glow becomes a next logical step for your marketing communications initiative. It strives to groom the brand so that it becomes more visible, more recognizable and more embraceable than it already is. The ultimate objective is to endow the brand with infectious appeal.
Accomplishing this outcome relies on using the power of positive association to strategic advantage. Though businesses have been implementing social marketing campaigns to gain goodwill for several decades now, glow stands apart as an attempt to enliven the effort with a healthy measure of interaction built around the brand. It goes beyond merely garnering goodwill to wooing fans and fostering community spirit.
A business model for making a brand glow is shown at the top of the page. There are five elements worth noting. The first three are nodes, and the last two refer to channel activity:
1. Target Audience(s) – The people and/or entities that matter most to the brand, such as prospects, customers, donors, employees, suppliers, stakeholders, regulators and the like.
2. Glow Stimuli – The agents and influences that are employed to stir audience interest in, and sense of connection to, the brand. They can be grounded in anything that will appeal to the sensibilities of the audience. Consider, for example, any causes, events, contests and celebrations that might apply. Give recognition to people and organizations that merit the attention, or perhaps show sympathy or empathy as warranted. Virtually anything you can do to build a rapport with the target audience becomes a candidate for serving this purpose. Try to keep the whole of the effort as diversified and broad-based as the target audience profile characteristics would suggest.
3. Your Brand – The central player in this. Responsible for planning and executing the marketing communications function.
4. Hum – The interactions that occur between the target audience, the glow stimuli and the brand. There are two categories of hum.
The first category, as illustrated by the light brown arrows above, happens when the brand drives the association with the glow stimuli. It requires the brand manager to understand the target audience well enough to know what stimuli will invite attention and interest.
The second category, illustrated in green, is when the glow stimuli summons a connection to the brand without the brand having to drive it. For instance, a customer may see a logo for a charitable cause, and then remember your business supports that cause, which in turn leads him/her to be a loyal patron of your brand.
5. Buzz – The explosion of hum into an ever-widening circle of social acceptance and word-of-mouth promotion. This, for example, is where concepts like social media marketing and brand ambassadorship come into play.
Glow Model at Work
The core responsibility is to continually link the brand with stimuli that resonates among the members of the target audience. Said another way, you’re making sure the fire gets lit and then stays fueled.
As discussed in part 1 of this series, new technologies present both an unprecedented obligation and an unprecedented opportunity for seeking the benefits of glow.