Suit and boot your brand - Part 1

Welcome to LaPiccolaBlog!  Here we will be sharing some insights, discoveries and observations into the world of marketing and PR as well as creating some features and articles along the way.

Suit and boot your brand
Some practical tips for the small business

Fashion Week was hosted here in Milan last month, an iconic date in the haute-couture international diary.  According to Vogue Online “Inspiring shows from Milan this season were all, in one way or another, about strength through individualism. The strong, definite voices that stood out in the melee of shows were from designers who dared to be themselves, and thus offered us clarity and variety of choice—whole worlds of choice, especially, when it came to putting ourselves together with accessories.”

Inspiring brands that dare to be themselves and offer clarity to their customers are also the ones that resonate and shine through in busy competitive landscapes.   As individuals we all present ourselves to the world, our families, friends and colleagues in a unique and personal way.   Whether this is a conscious or unconscious decision on our part, through our dress code, body language or verbal behavior, we all present an essence of our being, that is who we are, or our own personal brand.   Businesses, however, cannot afford to unconsciously communicate with their markets.   The way in which they present their essence of being, their brand and their story needs to be meticulous and measured.  Brand stories need not only to be as best- dressed and polished as possible for customer touch points, but also relevant and meaningful to them.  That holistic approach needs to transcend through all platforms and channels, whether we are talking about an email campaign, social media presence, or engagement with the press.  

So, what does this mean and how should small businesses tackle this?  

Tune in
You need to be in-tuned as a brand, inside and out. This means you need to be listening to what your customers are talking about and creating content and campaigns that are relevant and meaningful to their interests and needs.  There are a whole host of packages and platforms available in the market to facilitate social listening, monitor browser activity on your e-commerce site and that can also drive very personalized email and mobile communications directly with the individual customer. What’s more the use of social media by brands is now becoming increasingly sophisticated and effective in the areas of customer service and brand advocacy. It is important to make the right investments there.  Just setting up the odd social media accounts to sit static and post or tweet once in a blue moon is really not enough.
Here is a useful link from Brandwatch on the Top 15 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools. 

One voice, one brand:  
Your tone, style and linguistic demeanor as a brand must be carefully studied.  Who is my target audience?  How should I address them? Should I use a familiar, upbeat tone to address a consumer audience?  Or a more formal, business-like tone for a company?     In the same vein your brand tone must permeate all customer-facing areas of your business: sales, social, pr, customer service, logistics.  It is key to spend time and effort on training and updating your people on how to best represent the brand in their emails, phone calls, online chat, social media posts and so on; the type of vocabulary, tone, style and linguistic nuances that are all important to creating the overall essence of your branded business.  Something quite simple as phrasing a reply to a customer as "We will get back to you in 24 hours" as opposed to "We will try to get back to you soon" makes a big difference in how your company is perceived by the customer.

PR – Do your due diligence
If you are a PR or marketing person you may be familiar with this scenario.  You get called into the MD's office and he/she is very excited about a new product launch or company announcement and you need to create PR visibility around it.  Whilst we live and breathe our brands and they are truly exciting to us, the harsh reality is, unless you represent Apple or Star Wars your "best thing since sliced white" press release will run the risk of getting lost in the online flood of news that gets churned out every day.  But, be proactive and creative. Find an angle.  Do your due diligence and research what the journalists and bloggers are writing about in your market segment.  Find a way to engage with them by adding a new angle, approach or an opinion on pieces that are interesting to their readers and relevant to your business without going into "self-promotion overdrive."  Making a journalist’s life and job a little bit easier will always be more effective than filling their inbox with press release after press release.  
Here are some great practical tips from the Salesforce UK blog on how to do your own PR if you are a small business. 

Good luck with your suiting and booting! 

Suit and Boot Your Brand Part II coming soon!