Can Promotion Kill Brand Equity?
Can promotion build brand equity?
Misdirected promotions can kill brand equity.
Equity is ownership and promotions are one brand equity asset that can substantially affect a brand.
How did a successful promotion almost kill a well known brand?
A famous brand is notorious for their coupon ‘sale day’. Was it successful? Yes, very. It was so successful that their store was empty every other day of the week and their brand equity is so invested in that promotion that when they dropped it they faced huge customer backlash. In addition instead of building on sales as a larger promotion strategy as coupons are supposed to do, it crashed sales, and they faced huge losses with unsold goods at regular price.
Don’t needlessly switch on marketing autopilot by dropping high value coupons or sales and call it a plan. By placing promotions on autopilot and failing to direct them toward a greater brand strategy you can easily fall in to the above trap.
Search for innovative promotional ideas that don’t give away the store and assess those ideas on a regular basis.
Imaginary product line demonstrating the brand asset – promotion – and promotional hub strategy.
Find A Safe Place
One of the benefits of launching a side brand with a sister site is that you can experiment without damaging established brand equity. This is especially useful if a product or service is directed toward a new and/or different audience. Make it cohesive but separate in identity to your main brand and established professional niches and it will serve a purpose that safely allows you to test market. If a customer begins a relationship and moves to other products or service niches that is all well and good but this experimental sister site approach is an effective way to broaden your horizons without damaging brand equity if managed carefully.
Simply Skin is a medical spa, only the color denotes the more familiar spa like experience. This brand relies on a clean, sophisticated and professional look. In this example the new products are a line targeting younger women that don’t comprise the largest customer base of this brand but these designs in this promotional campaign still look at home in this brand family.
When beginning to launch promotional campaigns investing in time is important. This means creating several ideas from one promotional campaign design product. Use the product to create ads or to create social media campaigns with covers, share images, carousels etc. or perhaps use the design to ask customers to send for a brochure and sample product. Having a cohesive campaign across several promotional pieces helps to quickly build brand equity. Ensure these product designs are targeted toward the desired audience and slowly broaden the promotional reach.
Secondly, ensure a marketing strategy that directs the audience back and forth within this promotional hub, from a sister site to a social media platform, a you tube video or whatever other avenues are within the hub. When promoting on a social media sites always change the easiest avenue to initiate a click through for your visitors. Be sure it is clear to your visitors what action you want them to take. Track this traffic directly via stats to gauge how effective it is via one analytics or another.
Once a visitor has clicked through ensure there is an enticement and avenue to direct them back to another site or page within that campaign. Try never to let a visitor fly off to never never land and promote the platform instead of the brand or campaign. Platforms don’t need help, they have millions to invest in their own brand equity and their brand bank account is not the focus of a promotional hub.
Promotional Hub Management
Trying to manage a promotion on several sites or platforms takes a lot of time and work. Focus on one or two at a time. It is easier to build brand equity by taking the time to build quality promotional products and communications for a campaign that initiates measurable action. Spend most of the time on the online platforms that offer the most return on investment. This can be different for everyone. Some find Facebook is the best platform for their brand, others Instagram, others Youtube, etc. but it is usually evident early on and analytics can quickly help to determine that. Major brands like Gillette have bet the house on broad failed and misdirected promotional campaigns that inflicted long term damage to their brand equity leaving even their core customer base wincing. Many loyal customers then left the brand and the equity that took a century to amass is gone with one badly targeted promotion that spread like wildfire.
Once a product and campaign is successful build on that and work to expand it out to other platforms, including offline which can be much more expensive. Utilize the 80/20 rule and measure everything to easily see and build on the 20% that is bringing 80% of return on investment. Don’t waste time on the 80% of efforts that are draining any resource.
Sometimes this means a platform or campaign has to go. A sister site and social media sites easily allow for that without loss to brand equity. If this happens ensure every associated promotion is removed from wherever it is placed, this is also where starting small is helpful. If something isn’t working and it has been given ample time, just like inventory it is taking up shelf space and draining equity, cut the loss and remove it.
Try to feature the successful promotional campaign in as many places as possible throughout its duration. It can become part of a blog post, a share image or a permanent feature. This flexible approach allows for broad promotion and shouldn’t take a lot of time to change, including on main sites. Build this flexibility into your brand design products from the start.
Finally, focus on SEO, hashtags etc. and gauge them as part of campaign strategy. If possible add other indicators of ROI like a coupon, coupon code, contest or giveaway. Use surveys or just ask a simple question on social media for measurement.
Plan promotional campaigns carefully, don’t do things on autopilot without considering effect or because it is trendy, create promotional hubs that direct traffic effectively within and throughout your campaign and use your promotional products by considering them as a time investment in your brand equity and stretch that investment as far as possible. Direct both traffic and action in promotional hub strategy. Promotions are just one part of brand equity but they can offer substantial value to a brand. On autopilot in misdirected promotional campaigns you may get locked into a negative pattern that becomes hard to escape once established.
Consider these ideas including sister sites and social media platforms under a brand umbrella within promotional hubs to build your brand equity without loss. You may find it absolutely necessary to avoid communication chaos and extremely beneficial to broaden horizons and quickly build brand equity.