Brand Alignment: The Merging of Marketing and Sales

Why a Lack of Brand Alignment Could Be Hampering?Your Marketing Efforts

– A strong brand is critical to any business’s marketing efforts. Brand identity can help build awareness among potential customers, foster customer loyalty, and encourage referrals. On the internet, a strong brand is of even greater importance. Without the luxury of personal interaction, a firm’s brand is often the online face of the company.

Many businesses consider brand-building to simply be a marketing function.

While this approach is common, it can create a disjointed experience for the customer. A company’s marketing team may project a particular message about its brand online. However, if other units like sales and customer service don’t also project the brand’s message, customer experience may not meet expectations.

Strengthening the Brand Through Brand Alignment

brand alignmentBranding should be a company-wide effort. Every function -?from marketing to sales to operations and even human resources – should be aligned to project a consistent message of brand identity.

This process is called brand alignment.

When?brand alignment is achieved, customers have consistent experiences that meet their expectations and that leads to a greater likelihood that they’ll develop into repeat customers and brand advocates.

Companies that strive for brand alignment experience significant customer loyalty. Cabela’s is a specialty outdoor retailer that places a premium on brand alignment. The company makes brand advocacy a critical component of its hiring process, so that they only hire candidates who are likely to express the company’s values. The result is a?customer experience that has led to 130 million daily unique visitors to its website and online store.

Define Your Brand and Identify Gaps

The first step in building brand alignment is to identify the values that define your brand. You have probably spent a significant amount of time discussing and refining your brand, but it’s always helpful to revisit the idea.

  • What values are important to your company?
  • What do your customers value?
  • Which of those values differentiate you from your competitors?

Once your brand is defined, the next step is to identify functions within your company that are not communicating the brand either through their messages or their actions. These brand missteps are called alignment gaps.

Your marketing team may define your company as one that’s easy to work with and a company that places an emphasis on customer convenience. However, your sales force may play hardball in price negotiations in an effort to achieve maximum value. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either approach. What is wrong is that they conflict with each other. Playing hardball isn’t convenient or easy to work with. This is an alignment gap.

Consider each of your functions and how they contribute to the brand message. Even non-customer-facing teams like operations and fulfillment communicate the brand because their actions contribute to the customer experience.

How to Build Brand Alignment

Transitioning to a focus on company-wide brand alignment requires strong vision and buy-in from team leaders. Salespeople may be reluctant to change their process to better communicate the brand message. Likewise, the marketing team may have trouble incorporating the sales team’s input into online marketing efforts.

It may be necessary to bring in Internet Marketing Consultants to help with your brand alignment efforts. Consultants could lead workshops to communicate the need for brand alignment and to encourage buy-in. They could also help you define your brand and identify brand alignment gaps.

Download your FREE copy of Aligning Sales and Marketing and learn how your organization?can accomplish shared goals and grow the company.

Marketing Matters Inbound?is an inbound marketing firm specializing in online conversions, content?strategy, PPC campaigns and traditional media placement. Our experience in?B2B digital?marketing?and?traditional media?allows us to deliver results through a strategic media mix. We believe in?aligning and merging marketing and sales/operations for optimal return on your marketing investment.

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