By Ian M. Marlow
July 15, 2014
Take a look at the world’s most well-known major brands—Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon, to name a few. Add to the list such rising stars as PayPal, LinkedIn and Twitter. What do they have in common? They all use the power of technology to drive and grow their brands. They also have ways for their consumers to help create brand buzz via their technology, as well.
But leveraging technology’s clout to build and shape a brand is not relegated to the land of the giants; companies of any size can use various tech and digital tools to boost their marketing efforts and shape their brand.
Here’s a look at 10 ways that using technology can impact your brand along the sales and supply continuum.
1. Get found on the internet. Forget the days of print yellow page directories; consumers’ fingers are doing the walking on the internet. Make sure your brand is found on organic search results through a solid SEO program, regular website updates, blogging and other organic search tactics, as well as pay-per-click campaigns. In today’s mobile device-centric world, make sure your brand has a responsive design or mobile-optimized website for a positive user experience.
2. Engage your customers on social media. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter each have a unique audience and use; your target audience might be on only one platform or on all three. Find out where your customers are and match your social media presence and activity to your client base.
3. Use standardized email signatures. All employees in your organization should be using this simple but effective branding tool. It clearly identifies and communicates who your company is and what it does to existing and potential customers, adds professional polish to company emails and provides consistent branding along with your messaging.
4. Instant chat for a get-it-now world. We live in a world where instant gratification and communication is expected, 24/7. Although online chat is excellent for growing your brand and its reputation, it might not always be available (which upsets users when they’re seeking support during “dark” periods). As an alternative, instant chat allows your techs to deliver support via remote sessions during off hours or when online chat is disabled. This enables your organization to deliver on your brand promise to the consumer and to meet expectations in ways that enhance the brand.
5. Automated phone attendants keep callers in the queue (and happier). Phone response systems that put callers on hold for extended periods of time are so yesterday (and annoying to callers). Today’s automated phone attendants with interactive voice response automatically route calls to available in-house operators or outside extensions and provide the option to hold or have the next available operator call the user back when they are available.
6. One number to call many, Today, many people have multiple phone numbers they use regularly (office, home, work cell, private cell, home office). The newest internet-based phone systems with “follow me” features allow your clients to call one number that rings, in a preset priority order, on all phone numbers until they connect with you. Therefore, clients only have to know a single phone number to reach your team, regardless of which phone they are using or where they are. This provides convenience for everyone involved with your brand.
7. Spend less time generating reports with business intelligence tools. Forget the old days of manipulating information and formats to get the reports you want—and the productivity (and money) lost in the process. Investing in business intelligence software allows organizations to pull data from multiple locations and consolidate management reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis—automatically. By providing your clients, board or your departments with regular automated reports, your team spends less time creating those reports and more time making proactive decisions to improve your brand based on the information they contain.
8. Anywhere, anytime access to files. Enabling employees and clients get to their information from anywhere is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation. Many file sharing and collaboration tools are available for companies of various sizes.
9. Live responses rule relationships. Automated responses are a thing of the past (see #5). No one wants to talk to robots and hit keys all day. That’s no way to build positive brand buzz; it only shows lack of care for customers. Live responses can be in the form of voice, email, text, live chat and ticketing systems. They all foster quick, responsive communication between people (not machines), and shows you care about taking care of your customers.
10. Apps are now and forever. Today’s business world is all about apps and notifications. Brands that use apps show they are progressive and responsive to customers’ needs—as well as the rapid changes in technology. For example, sales of tablets are far outpacing those of PCs and laptops, and tablets are being used for search, purchases, and bill paying more than ever. That means that a large part of any brand’s user base may only use a tablet or use one for a large part of their search or digital activity. That makes the “app” as critical to operations as the core application you are currently using.
What type of technology is your organization using to engage users or support your customers? Are you adding plug-ins to your website to improve the customer experience or thinking of upgrading to a feature-rich phone system? Please share your thoughts or questions on how technology can fire up your brand.
As always, FITECH Consultants can help you assess which hot technologies your brand needs to get into 21st century shape; contact us to find out more.