Corporate branding is a difficult task for any business. You have to tread very carefully between entertaining and informing, between being visible and being invasive. Some brands have perfected it, and some companies have ruined themselves with advertising campaigns that presented their brand in a negative way.
The best thing you can do for your brand this year is get creative. Businesses of all sizes face more competition than ever before, so it's important to stand out from the crowd. Being authentic and original can help your company and your brand succeed in a crowded marketplace. Of course, that's easier said than done.
Here are a few creative ways companies are branding themselves in 2016.
Using Social Media in Unexpected Ways
Everyone, every company, and every person and company's mom are on social media these days. So just simply having accounts won't accomplish anything. You have to do more than just show up — so get creative.
Find ways to engage with your followers, friends, and fans that no one has done before. Hosting creative contests are a great way to encourage participation with your customers, and if done successfully, will grow your brand. Have them send in their own stories, videos, or pictures relating to whatever product or service your organization offers. And most importantly, don't ignore them! If your customers are reaching out to you, it can only help to reach out back to them and actually converse.
Let's Get Topical
Fair warning: there is a fine line between being topical and being lame.
Your audience will definitely tell the difference, so make sure your marketers can do the same. Taking advantage of major social happenings or relevant situations can benefit your business if done correctly and creatively. Figure out ways to incorporate phenomenons like the Olympics or Pokémon Go into your branding, but don't just lazily toss in a few Pokémon puns or Olympic dad jokes. Actually put in the creative effort required to figure out an original idea that will grow your brand.
Even creative TV and radio ads seem outdated and unoriginal. The trick is to find new mediums that not as many businesses are using. Case in point: plane advertising.
Airplane banner towing is a successful industry that has been flying aerial ads since the 1920s. These banner towing ads can sometimes bring a 20% response rate for businesses, which is a very difficult goal to reach for even the most expensive advertising campaigns. According to a survey of airplane banner towing respondents, 79% of people could remember the product or service that was advertised, while 67% could retain at least half of the message.
Offer Free Stuff
The first thing people learn in advertising school is that everyone loves free stuff. So if you want to improve your brand, give people free stuff. Simple, but effective.
Again, this has been done for decades, so handing out pens with your logo on them won't have too much of an effect. Get creative with the free stuff you're offering, and people will keep them for years to come.