By Brian Ferguson, Product Marketing Manager, Digium
Having a well-known and reputable brand is vital to a company’s overall success, today. Companies are increasingly dedicating more dollars to building and maintaining their brand, and it usually comes out of their marketing budget. Larger brands are shelling out millions of dollars to support brand building; but, for SMBs, an Unified Communications (UC) phone system is often an overlooked – and affordable – tool to help not only build their brand, but compete with the big guys.
According to Advertising Age, among the top 50 companies with the largest advertising budgets, 36 of those companies spent more than $1 billion on branding last year. On average, companies spent 10.4 percent of their revenue in 2012 on marketing activities to support their brands, according to research by Gartner. Whatever the size of the budget, companies are using both traditional advertising methods and digital tools to ensure that their brand is bringing in business. These tools include print and TV ads, email, social media, lead generation programs, content writing, and website design. The end goal for the company is letting people know how great their product or service is and how it can solve someone’s problem. Considering most SMBs don’t have $1 billion to spend on advertising, they have to be smart with how they spend their budget. That’s where a UC system comes into the picture; it’s a proven tool to help build and maintain a company’s valuable brand.
UC systems allow a way for SMBs to look and act like multi-billion dollar corporations. On top of being able to utilize game-changing features like video conferencing, instant messaging, mobility, and collaboration, here are other ways that UC that can help a company’s branding efforts:
Building The Brand
· Make a Great First Impression: The old cliché, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” is absolutely true. A company’s phone system is often where that initial impression takes place. With today’s UC systems, SMBs have the tools available to give them the same customer experience as Apple, Google, or Coke. IVRs (Interactive Voice Response), professional voice prompts, complex call routing, voice recognition, and third-party software integration are just a few of the tools that SMBs can take advantage of without a steep price tag.
· Help Tell the Company’s Story: Successful brands have a story to tell. There is something about their company that sets them apart from everyone else that draws customers. UC systems allow for companies to automate specific and targeted messages to its customers.
· Improve Marketing Campaigns: Companies can create marketing campaigns and set up their phone system to easily control the flow of customers to the correct place and ensure that they hear the most appropriate, or targeted, messaging. Data can also be quickly and easily retrieved to determine if campaigns are successful or if they are costing too much, given the results.
Protecting The Brand
· Maintain Brand Presence in Today’s Remote Worker Environment: The work environment has changed significantly in recent years. Today’s technology is allowing employees to work as efficiently (some say more efficiently) outside the office as inside. For a company that wants to embrace the idea of remote workers, they must ensure that their brand is protected. One of the great features of some UC systems is access to integrated mobile applications. These applications give users many advanced PBX features from their mobile phone or tablet. One brand-protecting feature this gives is allowing a company’s caller ID and presence to pass to their customers, not their employee’s personal information. This ensures that the company’s brand is always at the forefront regardless of the employee’s location or device when making or answering a customer call.
· Ensure Quality Customer Interactions Throughout the Relationship: When it comes to your brand, it’s not only the first impression that counts, but every interaction with every customer, every time. UC again provides tools to help business achieve high levels of ongoing customer service. Call monitoring, whispering, and other training tools allow managers to ensure their customers are receiving the treatment they expect. Presence also allows managers the ability to ensure that the correct staff is where they are supposed to be; and detailed reports help managers confirm employees are doing what they need to best serve customers. While instant messaging and third-party software integration allow for information to be available at an employee’s fingertips to help customers quickly and efficiently.
UC has revolutionized the communications industry by allowing greater visibility into a business and helping to increase efficiency, while at the same time giving employees freedom and flexibility in their workday. On top of all these benefits, UC is a tool that businesses of all sizes can use to enhance and protect their brand, without having to tap into a billion-dollar budget.
Brian Ferguson is a product marketing manager at Digium, which provides Asterisk® software, telephony hardware and Switchvox business phone systems that deliver enterprise-class Unified Communications.