By Ryan Phelan
In my work with marketers, I emphasize strategy over tactics in managing email programs. It’s important to understand the “why” before the “how.”
The “how” question is easy. It’s the tactical aspect of your program. Everybody knows how to pull lists, create segments, put an email together and push the big red “send” button.
“Why” is the bigger, tougher question. Strategy is your “why.” Why are we sending this email? Why does it matter, and what do we want from it?
Strategy is the top layer in your digital campaign’s construction. Tactics are the bottom layer. Between strategy and tactics is another layer you probably don’t think about enough – your brand equity.
Getting a handle on brand equity
You might think it’s an amorphous concept, hard to put your finger on. Not at all. It’s a concrete thought that you must keep in mind whenever you work on brand communications.
Brand equity is what your audiences think of your brand – your customers and prospects plus people who encounter your brand out in the world even without buying. Think of it like your brand’s bank account.
Whenever you send a communication about your brand – an email message, a TV commercial, a contact from your customer service department – you deposit a little amount in your brand equity bank account.
A message that detracts from your audiences’ conception of your brand is like a withdrawal from the brand equity bank account. Mess with their concept too often and you can overdraw your account.
What affects brand equity?
Violations can destroy brand equity. That’s why you have to consider the potential impact on your brand equity when you build an email campaign and choose copy and images.
Some violations won’t harm your brand equity too much. If you mess up a customer’s order, that can cause a ding. Your customer is angry, but if you resolve the problem satisfactorily, your brand equity probably won’t suffer long-term harm.
When Nike put a controversial figure like Colin Kaepernick in TV commercials and ads, that move cost it some brand equity among some customer groups, but clearly not all. Did Nike’s decision destroy the brand? No, because the brand is bigger than one person, choice or commercial.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sometimes go out on a limb. Just understand how it could affect your brand equity. Do you have enough in your brand bank account to cover a major withdrawal?
Email marketers are on the front lines
I don’t mean to add more stress to your job. But, you must know your brand equity, understand its power and how it can be lost or gained.
Why? Because, whether you send hundreds, thousands or millions of emails, when you push that big red button, any mistake you make could dramatically help or hurt your company’s brand equity.
Go to the top to get clarity
If you’re working to define your company’s brand equity, tap into a resource that you might have overlooked: whoever is ultimately responsible for it, such as your CMO or your CEO.
Schedule time to speak with this person …read more
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