Branding, after all, is about differentiation. Describing a brand begins with words. The beauty of modern technology is that it makes it possible to communicate with millions of people. Today when an organisation communicates through, say Facebook, it does not communicate with one person but with one thousand persons. Success in this context means things such as: likes and views, subscribers, inbound links and comments and downloads.

We have seen that branding is linked, amongst other concepts, to the need to be “perceived”. With the expansion of technology organisations have at their disposal a vast set of communication channels. As shown earlier, all have their own features. Obviously the issue is not, what the organisation’s preferred channel is but what the preferred channel of its “fan club”. The word fan in this context is used as people who, so to speak, click “Like” when an organisation posts or says something. How the fan club is going to listen to what we have to say, to read what we publish and talk about us to other potential fans, is the key of the communication and of the brand’s success. Everybody is making noise and any organisation has to face the challenge to publish and make sure that the content is going to stand out. This will require analysis and testing but it is possible to see what works and what doesn’t. In any event, the organisation will have to stand out!

An organisation can use as many channels as feasible, again not in function of what the organisation thinks about these channels, but in function of whom they want to reach. An example, a very successful EU program is the Erasmus program, the students exchange program. Most of the beneficiaries are students in their early twenties. Most of them, I presume, are on Facebook and act or could act as the ambassadors of the program. They may also be on Instagram or use Twitter, or put some films on You Tube, or whatever…but that is where the EU can reach them and interact with this specific group and ascertain they talk about the program to others and act as fans of the EU brand. Most professionals have their curriculum vitae on LinkedIn, another source of communication which allows organisations or their representatives to interact and make sure the organisation is perceived as being part of the LinkedIn community. There is no doubt that success depends on creating a group of supporters, fans, ambassadors whilst using “their” preferred means of communication.

In any event the design of a successful communication strategy starts with the understanding of the preferences and habits, needs of the recipients of the communication. Genuinely putting the recipient first is a winning formula. Having said that, content is the key. Content is an asset. Content is a brand builder. Content and actions are two sides of the same coin. Today even more than ever, on organisation has to make sure that readers know what they are doing, because everybody is out there, making noise. INTERNET communication is an art in itself as people are even more impatient and behave more instinctively behind screens than in real life. They read like they read road sings along a motor way. Unlike journalism, this type of communication requires to begin with the search of the “why’s”.

You may conclude that successful brand communication is the result of your knowledge of what the reader likes to read and likes to use. “Know your reader and turn readers into fans!” However, not all people are on line, so the classical way of communication is not gone, just there are so many additional tools that can be used now. The new channels have not replaced the classical ones. They are complementary. However the new channels are so powerful that one gets the impression they become the only efficient means of communication. A successful communication strategy contributing to the success of the brand will comprehend a communication strategy in line with the reader’s profile, the appropriate content of the message and the required level of language sophistication used within the appropriate channels.

A 07/03/2016 check on FACEBOOK shows that the European Commission has 557.112 likes; Harvard University 4.271.996 likes and Katy Perry site 72.001.554 likes with her song Roar with 1.102.767.580 (yes over one billion) likes. You cannot compare an artist’s page to an organization’s page but you can watch and learn from the way the artist creates such a huge fan club, not just by singing but by the extensive use of “all the modern means”. Remember that branding precedes you or is in other words the sum of all conversations. The brand’s success depends on what they say about you!

 

R.J. Claessens is a sought after speaker in numerous presentations, conferences and training in more than 30 countries. He is highly experienced in designing and delivering training courses. Roger Claessens is a specialized trainer who has delivered more than 1000 training courses/seminars/workshops in Europe, Asia and Africa. Currently, he serves also as a professor at UBI (United Business Institutes in Novi Sad in Serbia and in Vietnam) and as an expert lecturer for IFE Benelux.