Editor’s Note: At Cerasis, if you have followed our blog, you know we like to give information around best practices in regards to transportation, logistics, and supply chain management. Since our shippers are in the manufacturing and distribution industries, we also write about topics of importance, including trends, news, and best practices, in those industries as well. However, from time to time, we also want to give our audience some information that will help their business generally. A lot of our shipper customers and readers to have to market their business as well and a lot of them attend trade shows to gain awareness of new products. This blog post is from Nick Rojas on how to increase your brand identity in offline events, such as trade shows. We hope you find it helpful!
Does it sometimes feel like all your marketing strategy is focused on social media, websites, blogs and online content – when what you really need for this campaign is a focus on offline branding? This struggle is particularly common for younger companies with a lot of online savvy but not as much experience marketing in the real world. Don’t worry: Offline branding can be a great success…as long as you take the right approach. Here are several strategies worth considering.
Let’s make one thing clear: Your brand can absolutely carry over into the print world. If you are struggling with this, the problem is not printing but how you are thinking about your brand. The primary features of a business brand are intended to be universal – easily recognized, and easily carried over into a variety of mediums. Most of the important brand identity components are made to be transferrable so people get the same snapshot of your company no matter how they interact with you. Let’s think about:
Some parts of are certainly more intangible than others: Your tone, for example, can come across in a blog or a series of social media posts, but may be more difficult to communicate in the offline world. How do you show people the humor, self-consciousness, eagerness, or intelligence of your company?
Here, a marketing brainstorm session is your friend. For most companies, there is probably a slogan, phrase, or what of positioning content (literally and figuratively) that will help communicate the tone of your brand identity, along with other important intangibles. Remember, the offline world offers many unique opportunities for unique, tactile messages that can work in your favor when used well. Think about how printed materials can be flipped, turned sideways, opened, and used in other creative ways.
This particular strategy applies to both business cards and giveaway items commonly used at tradeshows. Brands are becoming unbelievably creative when it comes to making business cards that encourage people to pick them up, keep them, and think about them. We’ve seen business “cards” that are really plungers, bottle openers, rulers, coasters, and much more.
This is a capability that only physical materials have: Visitors can’t take away an object by visiting a website – they can’t add something to their life that will remind them of your brand. Offline materials don’t have this problem, so when creating your marketing materials remember to make something people will want to keep. Get inventive with your business cards to give them new life…and make sure people remember you.
Samples are another thing that just can’t be replicated with online marketing materials. With real product samples, you can show people just how your value offering works, tastes, sounds, looks in the light, and much more. Product samples are one of the most powerful tools of engagement…as long as you make them readily available and give them away from free.
Of course, not all businesses can use product samples this way, and there’s a lot less immediacy in, say, two free weeks of service. But we encourage you to look at your business and see if there is any way to incorporate physical samples when holding marketing events.
Another powerful facet of offline marketing that you need to leverage is the power of face-to-face communication. Consumers like putting a face to things. Even more, they like friendly and intelligent people who can answer their questions and explain products or services. All the blogs in the world cannot compare to a good face-to-face conversation with a skilled sales representative. Put your best people – and best foot – forward to take advantage of all consumer interactions.
Training is key for this strategy. Your people need to know how to represent your business and your tone properly. Sales training should always include methods to properly convey the spirit of a business in ordinary conversation.
Ultimately, your brand identity is unique. No one else is running your business – even if your competitors sometimes make you feel like it! Whatever branding materials you choose, make sure they are just as unique as your brand. Never settle for the easy, boring path: From trade shows to street fairs, people are already bombarded with boring marketing efforts. Stand out by being interesting!
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