What is a brand? The professor who teaches my “Branding Concept” class put it really well: If your organization is a pyramid, your brand is the top piece of that pyramid. As your organization expands its operations, it should continue to follow the guidelines set by the triangle at the top of the pyramid.
Scale your brand choices and keep them consistent.
That lesson can help when making small marketing decisions about brand interpretation, like what swag to give away at an event. For USGBC, it makes more sense to promote our organization on a sustainable tote bag or reusable water bottle, instead of a koozie or pair of sunglasses. That’s an example of how this global brand manifests itself in individual marketing choices. Referencing that top pyramid guide can help you make decisions as detailed as what emoji to use in an email subject line.
Create a positioning statement to clarify your brand.
Need help finding who you are as a brand? Try writing your positioning statement. A positioning statement is an internal document that helps clarify what problem you are solving for customers. What “job” does your brand do for people?
- For [a target audience, based on needs]
- Our brand is [frame of reference—category in the consumer’s mind]
- That provides [3 key benefits]
- Because [reason to believe]
For USGBC, that might look something like:
- For professionals in the built environment who need to quantify their environmental impact
- Our brand is the independent green building certification organization
- that provides education, verification and guidelines of environmental standards
- Because we wrote the definition of what is environmentally friendly in buildings and sites
Ultimately, anything your business does can be replicated by some other organization. Your brand is the only thing that cannot be taken or copied. Your reputation is specific to you, and the brand is what people identify you as. Your brand is your identity.
Here at USGBC, we serve a wide audience. Architects, policymakers, builders and manufactures come to us for green building content.
While their interests have a common theme, all these people from different industries are looking for specific content that is relevant to them. For example, a teacher looking for educational content wouldn’t be interested in a technical update for LEED Building Design and Construction.
Consumers expect a personalized experience. Email marketing offers that though a method called segmentation. Segmentation is the process of dividing your users into smaller groups based on their information.
A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is a database that tracks attributes about your users, such as location, industry and job title. As a marketer, you can use these records to serve highly targeted content to the people who will find it relevant.
Email segmentation is only as good as the CRM, so keeping your data clean is key. The more data points you have on your users, the more customized an experience you can give them.
Here are some tips on how to maximize your data to create the most personalized experience:
- Make it easy for users to provide their information. Allow users to edit their profiles within their accounts.
- Don’t overwhelm them with too many required fields. Realize what data points are important to you, and only ask for those. Too many fields will result in no fields.
- Make it easy to select different email subscriptions. Users should be able to select only the channels they are interested in. Don’t make your digest all or nothing.
- Create a dropdown menu to list choices. There are unlimited job titles, so create a list and allow users to choose the one that matches their title most closely.
- Leverage automation if a user registers for your conference. Make sure that their record is updated to reflect registration. You wouldn’t want to send promotional material about a conference for which someone has already registered. Instead, send them an email about session details and hotel deals.
- Make sure you capture geography. Where a user works is often the most relevant data point. It’s good to capture what state and country they are in but segmenting by zip code is even better.
- Connect your other data. Keep a record of your customers’ past purchases. Make sure that the database updates your CRM. What people buy is a pretty good indicator of what they are interested in.
When it comes to email lists, a good marketer would take a smaller, more targeted list over a larger, unqualified list any day. Good data plus segmentation equals a personalized experience that will appeal to your customers.