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Speaker Snapshot: Erin Ilgen, Manager, Brand Experience, Lexus

Branding strategy in the age of social media

24Jun

Erin holds an undergraduate degree in Business Logistics and an MBA with a focus on Finance & International Business. She has leveraged her business acumen to improve operations and make a difference in Toyota & Lexus affiliates around the globe. Outside of her current position, she is a frequent conference speaker and author of numerous publications.

What do you think are the main components of a successful brand strategy?

I believe that a successful brand strategy needs to align with the values and beliefs of your company’s culture. It needs to authentically represent and affirm the characteristics and strengths of your business. In addition, the brand strategy needs to speak to your consumers. It needs to emotionally connect with them in a way that they believe that your brand is aligned with their needs, wants, and individual tastes.

What challenges do you face when building brand strategy in 2016?

I think that diversity is one of the biggest challenges today. Business is more complex and global than it has ever been before. Companies used to sell their products in local markets and would only need to consider the demographics of a local community when supporting their brand. Today, with the impact of the internet and social media, your brand can be positively or negatively impacted around the globe in a matter of seconds. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. So the challenge is: how do you, as a brand, represent yourself to a diverse population and engage them?

How can companies remain agile with their brand, and adjust quickly to changing market tastes and emerging communication channels?

Be authentic. The world is constantly changing. The best way to stay relevant is to know who you are and what you offer. The more true and honest you are in your messaging, the easier it is for your customers to find you amidst the chaos.

You also need to regularly check and adjust your brand strategy. Continuous Improvement is not just for manufacturing; marketing and brand management must also apply these principles to stay relevant. Benchmarking is a great way to see what other vibrant brands are doing. Take the time to study and learn from others and look for ways to leverage your learning within your business.

How important is social media for brand strategy? How difficult is it to maintain a strong brand identity when you have to maintain a presence on so many different channels?

It’s the ticket to entry. Almost 100 years ago, the question would have been: “How important is the radio for brand awareness?” Same question, different technology. The channel is just the vehicle to deliver your message. The faster you know what your message is, the easier to represent it in the marketplace, regardless of the vehicle for distribution.

What will you be discussing in your presentation?

My presentation will discuss the importance of storytelling to increase brand awareness and perception. Through stories, a brand can create emotional connections and build a stronger relationship with its employees and customers. I will share how Lexus International has leveraged storytelling to engage employees and deliver a Lexus experience to their guests.

You can hear more from Erin and other industry leaders at the Brand Strategy Innovation Summit , taking place in Los Angeles this September 15-16th.

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