Branding and Context

Posted on: October 2, 2018

I drove by a church the other day that had a sign out front, like many do. I thought it said “Help available,” followed by a phone number. I realized a few seconds later, that the sign actually said “Hall available.” An insignificant misread, but it made me think of how important branding is to context.

Whatever social media platforms you use to engage with customers, short messages are usually best. A mutually understood context, makes those messages far more understandable and meaningful. Here’s an example. You get a Twitter message that says, “New lawn model is awesome!” Without context, it may not make much sense to you. But, if the message is from John Deer, a well-known manufacturer of lawn mowing tractors, you know what it means, and whether or not it is of interest to you.

Branding, in this sense, means much more than visual identity. It means that the people you are communicating with know what you sell, your reputation, and something about your brand’s character. (Like, John Deer people get excited about lawn mowing tractors!)

What this means for marketing, is that early on, you need to teach your potential customers about what you sell and your brand character in as many ways as possible. Engaging with customers in conversational dialogue on social media is great, but don’t forget about other parts of your business, like customer assistance in the buying cycle, dealing with returns and complaints, and the content and tone of your website and blog.

My misunderstanding of the church sign is also a good reminder that an intensive campaign is in order whenever you introduce a new product or service that goes beyond what others expect from your brand.