Brand Leadership in the Age of E
The benefits of being a brand leader are endless. Brand leaders attract talented employees, have increased bargaining power, don’t have to sell on price, and routinely receive the lion’s share of publicity.
And you don’t have to be a household name to be a brand leader. You can be a company know only to those who matter in your industry, and you can be the brand leader of that business sector. You simply need to demonstrate to your customers, suppliers and competitors alike that you are not stuck in the past, and that you deserve to be perceived as the leader in your category.
The way to start is by replacing your old marketing tools with brand new ones that take full advantage of all that we’ve learned about effective communications in the age of e.
For those who are not quite convinced that e-marketing tactics are the brand builders and money makers of tomorrow, just look at the numbers.
According to Nielson Co., the number of people purchasing products through the Internet was up 40% over the last two years. And it’s not just consumer spending that’s driving those numbers up on an hourly basis.
eMarketer’s research found that in the B2B category online advertising is increasing at a rate of over one billion dollars per year, and will represent almost a fifth of total online expenditures by 2011.
In total, by 2012, there will be over 1 billion online buyers according to the global research firm IDC, and transactions will top $1.2 trillion.
Let’s take a look at the essentials of e-marketing. Here are the current e-tools available to help you shore up the loyalty of current customers and develop an ongoing dialogue with new ones.
- E-mail Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Banner Advertising
- Behavioral Marketing
- Viral Marketing
- Social Networking
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
- Strategic Linking
- Online PR
- Live Customer Chatting
Keep in mind, not every one of these e-tools needs to be in your tool box, and they certainly don’t have to all come out at once. In fact, you’ve got to make sure you pull out the right tool for the job at hand. So decide on what you want to accomplish in your brand leadership role. Then pick the right e-tool to get the job done. Most important, remember that the job of a brand leader hasn’t changed very much. What’s changed are the means of sustaining that leadership role.
When it comes to Achieving Brand Leadership in the Age of E-, follow these three guiding principles and align the new E-based tools accordingly to achieve success. Brand leadership, after all, is achieved by doing what all great leaders do:
- Keep the troops (audiences) informed
Great leaders and brand leaders do an outstanding job of communicating to their audiences – whether customers, prospects, suppliers, personnel or the industry/region at large. They communicate their message with focus and purpose, and provide depth of information in a variety of formats.
Informative and timely e-newsletters, live video segments, online presentations, online articles, blogs, resource centers, and online social network posts are a few of the ways that we have helped our clients keep their troops informed, and attract clients that they would have otherwise never have conducted business with.
- Door is Always open policy
Every great leader is open to advice, insight and solutions, from his or her constituents. This means you welcome customer or visitor comments and allow any visitor to your site multiple opportunities to communicate back to you. Welcoming commentary at every turn, by offering customer reviews, customer comment boards, survey questions, and rate-this product or service opportunities
- Teamwork every step of the way
Great leaders understand teamwork and the value of collaboration. Bringing this concept to the Age of E-, the real frontrunners are developing and defining ways to openly collaborate with visitors, whether through live chat, online meeting rooms, private customer portals and any other ways to bring visitors or clients right into the discussion. This represents one step closer to actually being in front of a client in person.
These are exciting times, as we become increasingly immersed in the Age of E-. I encourage you to neither dismiss it nor fear it, but embrace it. Try these emerging tactics in your business, and use these three leadership principles as your guide. If you hit a wall or an obstacle, just give us a call.