Building your brand believer profile is an exercise in understanding your ideal customer (and employee) audience’s psychographics—or the traits, values and aspirations that drive their buying (or job) behavior. It’s a core strategic component that can guide campaign, experience and messaging decisions both at the highest brand levels and for specific audience segments. Once you’ve built your brand believer profile, as I discussed in my last article, you’re positioned to activate your brand or a given initiative that embodies it (e.g., new product, new recruitment strategy).
So, how do you get started on activation?
1. Build An Activation Plan
You can choose any manner of activations, but they typically involve at least one of the following:
- A brand anthem video: Communicate a distillation of your brand and its strategy to help customers and employees readily recognize, understand and begin connecting with the brand.
- A brand or employee campaign: Announce (or reannounce) your brand to the market or your employees. Particularly following major changes, an internal campaign will be necessary for employees to adopt those new elements. Depending on your business model and goals, external campaigns may be geared more toward customer awareness and education, or they could prioritize conversions so audiences directly connect with a new initiative (e.g., a product launch or new employee value proposition).
- A website or intranet redesign: Make sure your site’s look, feel, content and functionality align with your brand activation to reinforce your audience’s understanding and relationship formation. Every engagement must be aligned with your strategy, and as your brand’s central digital hub, your site is an essential touchpoint for creating that consistency. The same applies to internal resources like a company intranet—employees need the right information and tools to help achieve a successful activation, presented in a brand-complementary manner.
When designing your activations, refer to your believer profile to determine the best methods to connect with those believers—specifically, consider the delivery methods that meet their preferences and their favorite digital and physical locations. Your activation must meet your audience where they already are, in a manner they find both accessible and compelling.
Brand Relaunch Vs. Rebrand
Notably, the activations your brand chooses will generally remain consistent whether or not you’ve conducted a rebrand. If your existing brand and strategy already align with your believers, the challenge has likely been generating awareness or effective marketing. In that case, a relaunch is needed through activations that reach a broader or more targeted audience and better convey your brand’s identity, purpose and promise to them.
Following a rebrand, inform your existing customer or employee base about your new story and continue connecting with them. Few brands successfully transition by ignoring or abandoning their current audiences. At the same time, seek relationships with the believers who best align with your new strategy. For this audience, your brand may be unfamiliar or you’re looking to reset their perceptions, so the activation still resembles a new launch.
2. Design Activations Based On The Believer Profile You’ve Built
After you’ve planned your activation, your creative and marketing teams should begin development using your brand strategy and believer profile to create something unique to your brand that resonates with your audience.
Remember to regard the profile as both your creative team’s muse and their target audience throughout the creative process.
3. Test Activation Concepts And Messaging Using Your Believers
As the last step before an official launch, test your activation’s concepts and messaging to ensure they resonate with your believers. This involves conducting mixed-methods testing—combining qualitative and quantitative assessments—with your believers providing the ideal focus group for gathering the most insightful data.
Given your prior efforts, the testing should demonstrate that your audience is connecting with your brand, product or service. There may be a few minor adjustments to perfect the activation, but it should be nearly ready to go live.
If you don’t start with your believer profile, these tests may hinder more than they help. Activation concepts and messaging creation aside—without a believer profile, gathering a target group representing them becomes significantly more challenging. And if your group is randomly assembled, their feedback may orient you away from your believers. Unfortunately, many brands take this misstep and test among random participants.
Mixed Methods—User Testing By Situation
A mixed-methods testing approach leverages both qualitative and quantitative assessments to gather the most insight. Ideally, you will have the time and resources to complete both in a serial order. This is because qualitative testing is better performed first among smaller focus groups to finalize your activation’s concepts and messaging before quantitative testing evaluates their performance at scale.
The specific tests you perform depend on a comparison of the risk associated with your activation or a given initiative launching and its cost:
- Low risk, low cost: With lower stakes in both, most brands can simply perform an in-market, real-time test to gather feedback. For example, you may launch a brand campaign with A/B testing to evaluate activation concepts and messaging performance.
- High risk, low cost: Before performing an in-market test, take advantage of the lower go-to-market costs to build a prototype and see how your believers respond to every facet of the activation.
- Low risk, high cost: Before investing substantial resources, hedge against high go-to-market costs by performing an “ingredient test” (i.e., testing imagery, messaging, typography and motifs) to ensure the right building blocks comprise the activation’s conceptual foundation. Then, concept test the activation to ensure it still resonates once they’re assembled. This is the equivalent of a chef first testing individual ingredients’ freshness and then testing the final meal to ensure the various flavors blend together perfectly.
- High risk, high cost: When the stakes are the highest, perform each test mentioned here serially. Start with ingredient testing among your brand believer focus group before confirming the activation’s concepts with concept testing. Then, create a prototype for them to evaluate before finally performing an in-market, real-time test.
By working with your customer or employee believers to develop your activation pre-launch, you can ensure that it will resonate and connect with them once live.
After that, all that’s left is the launch and monitoring performance metrics for further fine-tuning.
Read the full article here.