5 tips for more effective brand communications in 2021

Tactics and platforms change, but bedrock storytelling principles remain. Follow these reminders to keep your messaging on point this year.

Scouring the internet for the most current marketing techniques is like searching for almost anything – there’s too much content. If you do search, you’ll come up with the same conclusion: marketing best practices really don’t change. What changes are the trends that frame the need for the best practices.

2020 was a gut punch, and after 10 months of wavering hope and turmoil, many of us are still catching our breath. Simply put, 2021 and the next several years will be messy. Marketers need to have goals and objectives, of course, but need built-in “agile” thinking processes as well to enable us to move faster than ever before and stay ahead of the certain-to-develop hiccups that will disrupt our efforts from just the week before.

We’re marketing in a crisis, but regardless of the crazy circumstances we continue to deal with, marketers have proven methods and practices to work with. If one strategy fails, we shift to another, and to another. If ever there was a time for Jack to be nimble, this would be it. So, what follows are quick tips that are merely good reminders. Get started on these right away – do as much as you can as fast as you can.

1. Do a SWOT analysis as soon as you can, and often. As important and timely as a brand audit, pull out your most recent SWOT analysis and give it a quick review. With the frequent changes in the market we’re going to sustain for some time, success will hinge on speed to market, and doing it right is imperative.

2. Do a brand audit and get your strategy on. First, make a framework for your audit. Conduct research such as surveys, intercept studies and focus groups to gather data from customers. Look at your web analytics and at your sales and social data. Monitor your competition to see how you can get ahead of other businesses by focusing more on your brand. Lastly, track your results and progress to see how effective they were.

3. Shift your messaging as needed and be ready for quicker shifts. It took major brands 60, even 90 days to pivot their messaging, and some are still using last year’s material. Most are using messaging from three to five years back.

4. Be upfront and direct. Present your value, while recognizing the current state, and offer hope for the future state. Communicate to customers and prospects that you want to stay in touch as needed and find out, from them, when to reach out. Keep communications going in a non-obtrusive way – their desired way.

5. Be bold in your branding and try to innovate new products or services. Try to see around those corners ahead and theorize on what’s coming next. Market toward that.

Eric Morley is co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Blue C. For more marketing, branding and advertising insights to prepare you for the year ahead, download Blue C’s 2021 Marketing Outlook report here.

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