It used to be that only really huge companies cared about branding. It seemed to be a luxury, requiring a big investment. But now we all have brands to protect – right down to the individual “personal brand” that people develop to advance their careers.
A brand is more than a logo, color choices or making sure you use the same type treatment every time you print a brochure or ad.
Your brand is your business’s personality. It’s also not completely under your control. A brand is what your customers and prospects think of your business and your product. You may want an innovative brand, but if your customers think your product is old and stodgy, that’s your brand. You may think you have a buttoned-up brand image, but if you don’t deliver, your brand will be perceived as sloppy.
Here are some key points for making sure your direct mail works with your brand.
1. Share. If you have developed brand guidelines, make sure your direct mail agency knows what the guidelines are. If you have specified a voice or a personality for your brand, your agency needs to follow through. That will happen only if the agency is aware.
2. Differentiate. You need to know how your product differs from the competition and make this a key point in any direct mail campaign you run. You don’t necessarily need to call competitors out by name – although this can be a powerful move – but you need to emphasize benefits and features that make your product unique.
3. Be consistent. If you want to be known as the value brand in your category, you have to make strong offers in your direct mail. If you want to be the luxury brand, you can never use discount offers. (You have many other choices for offers.)
4. Be accurate. Everyone wants their brand to be trusted. So be particular about everything. Mistakes reflect very badly on brands – and, if you haven’t already invested millions of dollars in your brand, mistakes are hard to recover from. Accuracy includes everything from list selection to eliminating typos to fulfilling on your promises.
5. Sell. Because the best way for anyone to get to know your brand is for them to experience your product. You can’t be shy. If you aren’t ready to enthusiastically sell your product, you aren’t ready for a direct mail campaign.
Direct mail can help or hurt perceptions. Make sure your brand and your direct mail campaigns are in sync.