Five Great Ways to Drive Brand Engagement

b2b brand engagementEvery year, millions tune in to the PGA Championship, where golf’s finest duke it out on the green and golf enthusiasts cheer the winners and sometimes, even the heartbreaking losers. Last Sunday, Scotland’s Rory McIlroy won his second PGA championship and cemented his streak as the world’s number one golfer.

As an occasional golfer who likes to watch others make the shots I can’t make – I usually catch the final round or the four majors.  McIlroy’s dominance at the PGA – even with Phil Mickelson’s final surge making him nervous – got me thinking about how sales teams can stay dominant with competitors breathing down their necks. Following are five things every organization should do to communicate their brand clearly and stay ahead of the pack.

1)      Will Work For Followers.  Brian Solis recently posted a Slideshare titled Relationship Economics, about the power of social media to brand a company for a big payoff with employees and customers. He tracked companies’ social media use, linked it to employee engagement and proved that “genuine communication and engagement in social media helps businesses improve relationships with employees and customers while also improving the bottom line.”

2)      Take Care of Bad News Quickly. On the same note, figuring out how to diffuse negative noise about your brand is key to winning over your customers. Look at what happened when a recording of an irate Comcast customer battling an insulting customer service rep went viral. Comcast’s response was so lackadaisical that most communicators just shook their heads. Plan to apologize and make it right at all costs. Publicly. With humility and haste.

3)      The Fish Stinks from the Head. This Sicilian saying describes what happens when a company’s leaders are inept at communicating a brand message. Get thee to a media coach, pronto! Come up with a plan to “personalize” your leader in the public eye. And if possible, you should position your leadership as one of your most important products.

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4)      Powerful Force. When it comes to brand engagement, your employees are your biggest assets and can also be your biggest advocates. Your employee communications have to be as accurate as a McIlroy putt; as fully developed as Phil Mickelson’s short game; and as powerful as Tiger’s drive in his prime.  Solis cites employee engagement as a key driver to profitable growth and if you ignore this, it cost you big bucks in turnover and in brand reputation.

5)      Asleep at the Wheel When you’re at Rory McIlroy’s level, you don’t rest on your laurels. You continue to improve and work hard at getting better. Plan to revisit any communications plan you put in place to fine tune it or even start from scratch if necessary. Also ensure that you embed the proper metrics in place to measure your communications success and know when to change course.

I think we should all take a final lesson about communications from golf’s “Golden Bear” and the man who many consider the greatest golfer of all time – Jack Nicklaus. He said about golf, “Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.” For good communicators, that means taking Brian Solis’ and others’ best practices and really study how they get to the who they are in the public eye. If you don’t do it, someone else will. And the more visible your competitors get by communicating well, the more invisible you will be.

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, revenue growth experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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