Agency Watch: Consistency is a Brand Killer

Kimberly Surico |
 12/02/19 |
5 min read

Agency Watch- Consistency is a Brand Killer

We’ve all heard that consistency is essential to brand marketing, and it is – till it isn’t. And that point is when it crosses the line and becomes a brand killer. It isn’t the consistency so much as repetitive tactics, but that’s an easy hole to fall into in an attempt to be consistent with your marketing efforts.

Here’s what to watch out for – and how to know when it’s time to change things up before you start to sink.

Brand Marketing Madness

When launching a new campaign or pursuing a new direction with your brand marketing, the excitement is palpable. You almost feel like you’re running a race as you get your relevant, amazing messaging out there, and you hit all the channels with it. Hard. And when everything clicks as expected, you’ve hit your stride and it’s all downhill from there (after your uphill spike in mentions, that is):

spike in marketing mentions

But that runner’s high can be dangerous, as consumers’ initial reactions can be deceiving. And zooming along too fast without breaks at the ready, is folly. The volume of engagements does not necessarily mean your tactics are working. It means they’re generating a response. And seeing what the response is, specifically, is very important:

key terms shared about consistent brand marketing

And then exploring what is driving those top terms – the actual conversations underneath it all, is telling. It can show you which components of your marketing are working, and which parts could use some TLC – or complete rethinking. Countering consumer worries around Black Friday scams, for example, could be one important avenue for retailer to pursue this season:

Black Friday buzz around potential scams

Day-to-day Metrics Matter

Even when everything looks good day-to-day from an overarching conversation standpoint, stay alert. Monitoring Net Sentiment over time should definitely be on a brand’s “must do” list to watch for consumer fatigue. Just because something does really well at first, that doesn’t mean it will continue to surprise and delight, particularly if it’s repetitive and overdone. Understanding when your humorous campaign begins to wear thin, or if you’ve officially ‘jumped the shark’ is super important insight to have.

Or, conversely, when new, related opportunities arise. For example, the plant-based food conversation saw a jump in Net Sentiment with mentions a vegan craft ales, gins and coffee (below). That could be an opportunity for a brand in that category to explore:

fluctuation metrics to help brands measure marketing approach

How long can your awesome marketing work as intended for your brand? It depends! We see some of the best brands in their respective industries constantly changing things up, well ahead of any noticeable “ugh, I hate this now” moments. Take KFC, for example. Their Colonel Sanders campaign is marketing gold – and it’s also very fluid and changes to capture different demographics:

KFC colonels

Campaigns can last longer than consumers 8-second attention spans. Though, many “viral” campaigns that have lasted for years were done well before our digital saturation days though:

For one thing, they had fantastic taglines. American Express reminded us to “Don’t Leave Home Without It.” GE proclaimed, “We Bring Good Things to Life.” AT&T  (and Bell Systems before that) encouraged us to “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” McDonald’s claimed that “You Deserve a Break Today.” Coca-Cola  urged us to “Have a Coke and a Smile.”

Have a Coke and a smile 

And this is why it’s important to have a well-informed Plan B is place, when/if the time comes to pivot. Because that time likely will come

Having a Plan B, C and D

Social listening is fantastic for many things, and one is certainly the in-depth audience understanding to capture adjacencies. Understanding other, related things that your target audience is interested in can help you identify other ways to approach them. This way, you have a Plan B, C and even D in your back pocket:

understanding consumer interests to have a plan B

It can also help you identify super relevant and engaged authors who share their love of your product, as well as X, Y and Z!

But that doesn’t mean you should try to be everything to everyone. You can’t. This is where segments come in – and understanding who they are. What better way than exploring how they describe themselves?

bio terms segments use to describe themselves

This allows you to change up your marketing to speak directly to subgroups within your main group. There are always many ways to slice up your segmentation and shake up a repetitive marketing message. Relevance is key. For the folks above, maybe a pet influencer is in order?

And again, a watchful approach is required. As it’s one thing to get your brand’s name and message out there, it’s another to pummel potential and current customers over the head with it – no matter how relevant “it” is. This pummeling approach is most obvious online during the holidays, where we see brands blowing lots of budget on over-the-top, follow consumers everywhere, advertising.

remarketing following consumers with brand ads

The repetition is a bit much, for sure – particularly when consumers are largely ignored post-sale. And seeing ads for new clients popping up in their feed, or following them around online, is frustrating and alienating.

Post-sale Swing & Miss

The most overlooked and underutilized part of the consumer life cycle happens post-sale. And with brands taking their consistent marketing messaging too far, it’s more critical than ever to cater to this important consumer subset.

After experiencing those amazing highs and lows and going through so much effort to attract and convert these new customers, marketers are letting them slip away post-sale. This means these consumers have to be re-won over and over again. And that’s assuming you can even re-win their trust with your boring branding they’ve seen again and again.

And even if you change things up, winning back the business will be an uphill battle, as you’ve possibly pushed them away with your overly generalized, consistent approach. A savvy competitor will snatch them up at the first sign of discontent. You can thank their own expert social listening for that!

social listening in real-time for immediate consumer response

Monitoring Consistent Marketing

Stay ahead of them and keep those hard-won customers by monitoring conversations that relate to customer care after the sale has taken place. It’s smart business for taking the temperature of your consistent marketing efforts, but a host of other reasons. It helps you become aware of:

  • Insight around new product ideas
  • Consumers sharing competitor comparisons that offer your brand an unexpected edge
  • New influencer and brand ambassadors directing conversations
  • Challenger brands capturing share of voice in a category you inhabit

And how can you do this? Beyond regular social monitoring, brands can set alerts around product/category/volume mentions to know when something notable happens. And after digging into the insight via a transparent social analytics tool, make decisions ahead of a crisis (or what have you) to be ready for whatever may be happening.

Boring marketing mentions? Not quite. Advanced insight to keep your consistent brand marketing fresh and relevant.

There are rarely two days that are the same in any brands’ online life – not once you start paying close attention to it all, at least. And changing things up correspondingly is a great way to keep your message consistent in a way that doesn’t kill it. Too many brands miss that distinction.

Reach out and we can show you a variety of ways to not join their ranks and ensure your consistent brand marketing doesn’t become complacent.

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