There are many tasks in your business that can be easily allocated: anyone can clean a bathroom, reorganize a rack, tidy a fitting room. These are certainly trained skills—you always want to make sure you have a mutual understanding of what it takes to do these jobs well—but they’re not necessarily learned skills. They don’t require much in the way of teaching, coaching, outside training, or a library of earned knowledge.
Unfortunately, many retailers see marketing and brand representation as similar skillsets that don’t require much in the way of training. Most managers and leaders will hand over the keys, er, passwords, to their social media accounts to any employee willing to take the reins. Newsletters and emails tend to fall in the lap of whoever’s available. Staff are allowed to represent the brand in whatever way they’d like on social media. Different voices speak in different tones across different platforms, despite the commonality of your business.
This lackadaisical approach to how your brand is represented to your customers is detrimental to the perception of your business. The negative repercussions of a careless marketing presence are quickly compounded: Your brand isn’t recognizable, as its representation isn’t consistent; if your brand isn’t recognizable, it’s then not memorable, and isn’t top of customer’s minds; if it’s not top of minds, those customers will shop at a competitor instead.
A consistent, recognizable representation of your brand requires constant, reliable, and well-trained execution. Marketing is a skillset that requires detailed training, continuing education, and unwavering attention. Here’s how you do it:
- Specifically allocate a social media or marketing role.
Many retailers make the mistake of allowing any staff member access to their social media accounts, resulting in a cacophony of voices, inconsistent imagery, and missed responses. Instead, retailers should assign all social media tasks to a specific employee—someone who understands the brand voice and vision, can represent it well, and is willing to invest in their own skills in order to improve your social media presence.
- Provide continuing education for that role.
Social media is a constantly evolving sphere, and it’s easy to fall behind. Provide your social media manager with continuing education—online courses, books, etc.—so that they can keep your platforms up to date.
- Define your brand voice.
Your brand voice is something that emerges organically, but it should also be curated and intentionally cultivated. Sit down with your social media manager and leadership team in order to gain agreement on important aspects of that voice and how the brand is represented across platforms.
- Hold a workshop with all your employees.
Every one of your employees is an ambassador of your brand, so it’s important that they’re representing it well. Meet with everyone to ensure they understand best practices regarding how they represent your brand on social media and in real life.
- Understand the purpose and approach of all your marketing materials.
It’s important to have multiple marketing channels—social media, newsletters, web marketing—but it’s also important to understand why. Developing an understanding of the goal of each channel helps curate that channel (and the voice represented there) to those achieve those goals.
Your business is a team effort, and so, to an extent, are your marketing channels. But it’s important to define, allocate, and educate the roles of your marketing department in order to achieve a consistent brand voice.