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Do you ever feel like your brand is stuck in the same routine? Are you experiencing stagnant growth while your competitors are broadcasting their message across the world with viral videos, witty campaigns and ingenious sponsorships? All brands find themselves in this unfortunate position at some point or another — and acknowledging it is the first step towards enacting positive change.

As the co-founder and creative director of Motto, a branding and design agency, we work to help clients craft better content that engages with their audience, creating a brand message that stands out above the noise of competitors. If you’re looking for ways to elevate your message, here are six tricks for creating one that sticks:

Create More Relevant Content

If you continue publishing blog posts, e-books and Instagram shots on topics you think your customers will like, you’ll simply continue to send the same message you always have.

Your customers, to a great extent, control the purpose and direction of your content. If you want to shake things up and get your customers to pay attention to your brand, you have to start paying attention to them first. Task yourself or your marketing team with a customer research project that will uncover what content your users enjoy the most. Dig deep to find out where they engage with your brand and how often. This will help you understand why they engage when they do. When you’ve got a grasp on who engages with your content, and when and where they engage with it, you can craft content themes targeted towards buyer personas. This strategy will ensure that your content will be more relatable to your current audience, and it will help you target new audiences.

Find Unexpected Ways To Appeal To Your Audience

Even if you’ve got an outstanding customer service team and a large Twitter following, it’s critical to create fresh and unexpected brand experiences. If you’ve already conducted customer research and understand your buyer types as outlined in the tip above, you’ll already know which platforms your customers are on.

To understand a real example of an unexpected, yet delightful way to appeal to your audience, consider the brand sponsorships present in The Skimm’s newsletter. If you’re not familiar with The Skimm, it’s a witty, informative newsletter that sends a select batch of relevant news topics to subscribers every weekday. In addition to covering the latest presidential updates, celebrity scandals and international conflicts, The Skimm partners with select brands that sponsor the newsletter in exchange for being featured in an organic way to a targeted audience.

Since The Skimm is mainly targeted towards female millennials, one of their most recent partnerships is in the form of an external page called “Wine Awesomeness.” This site lets users browse through different wines and read descriptions written in The Skimm’s same approachable and contemporary brand voice. Partnering with a niche media outlet or topical newsletter is a strategic way to get your products or services in front of a targeted audience in an authentic way that doesn’t feel forced or overly promotional.
Focus On Thought Leadership Within Your Industry
Your brand is a multi-dimensional entity made up of employees with dynamic values, beliefs and goals. That’s why CEOs and marketing and brand leaders should guest post in industry-leading publications, write books, get featured in magazines, etc. The ideas set forth here will inspire people and help them associate your memorable, positive qualities with the brand you represent. It’s also a great way to associate your brand with innovation, leadership and industry insights that prove you do more than simply sell a product or service.

Incorporate Consumer-Generated Content Into Your Marketing Plan

This helps people feel more connected to you, and shows them you value their involvement and brand support. Paying attention to user-generated content also helps you understand what types of people engage with so you can keep creating things they like. Take the fun shorts brand Chubbies, for example: adored by co-eds and country club teens across the country, it regularly features customers’ photos — so much so that it becomes part of the brand. People can relate to it and it makes customers feel valued.
Doing this on Instagram is fairly easy, because if your brand has enough followers and is well known, all you have to do is sort through hashtags and mentions to find fresh photos, updated daily, that meet your needs. You can also engage with users directly by hosting contests and asking people to submit ideas. This is a popular tactic with food companies like Quaker, which asked customers for their help in deciding what its new flavor would be.

Improve Your Brand Message From The Inside

If you’ve tried all the above methods with no luck, or if you think you need a more dramatic change to set you apart from the competition, a brand refresh might be your only option. While you and your executive team may be reluctant to dedicate the time and resources to a rebrand, it can have an immense impact on your brand message. It’s important to involve your employees in the rebranding process to show that you value their opinion. This will only set you up for success in the long run, because it will reduce turnover and ensure that your employees are constantly crafting a memorable and meaningful brand experience for customers. You can start by conducting internal employee assessments and exercises to identify areas where employees see room for change.