Brand Strategy

Brand isn’t about what a company does. It’s about why they do it.

Many organizations make the mistake of building their brands and narratives around the features and benefits their products or services provide. But in today’s hyper competitive landscape, functional excellence is expected, table stakes. Features can be matched by current competitors and surpassed or obsoleted by disruptors who see an opportunity to unseat traditional category leaders. 

At SHIFT, we help brands find and articulate their reason why, and then weave that into all we do to forge an emotional connection between the brand and the audiences core to its sustainable success.

Our approach varies depending on where a brand is in its journey. Whether looking to start (or start over) from scratch, pivot from where it’s historically been, or simply to tweak identity, narrative and/or programming to drive improved engagement, SHIFT can help with solutions informed by data, crafted with passion and distributed with precision.

Audience Mapping

A great story, well told, can still fall flat if it doesn’t find its target. That’s why, at SHIFT, we pair stakeholder research and topic analysis with precision targeting to gain an understanding of the conversations that are driving the issues that matter to our clients, the channels in which they’re happening, the voices who are leading them and the language being used as they do.

Our methodology combines web-harvesting, advanced analytics, machine learning and visual mapping technology into dashboards that allow clients to understand influencers and key conversations. The outputs allow us to help clients build compelling narratives; tell targeted stories that connect on a personal level; and find the most important media, influencers and channels through which to tell them.

Community Management

In the not-so-distant past, you’d never task a PR agency with direct-to-consumer or customer interactions. The thing is, though, PR pros tend to be pretty good at the “relationship” stuff. The skillset built cultivating relationships with the media translates nicely to the new world order in which every consumer is a publisher and any stray tweet could change the fortunes of a global brand.

Community management requires ongoing care, content creation and distribution, and a commitment to regular engagement. It’s a time-intensive, but worthy, task.

SHIFT has helped brands ranging from startups to behemoths like Johnson & Johnson jumpstart community management efforts, using a combination of always-on monitoring and engagement strategies that helps mitigate issues, facilitates positive engagements and cultivates strong user-generated content.

Messaging & Narrative

The onslaught of messages that prospects, customers and target media receive every day is staggering, which means it’s more challenging than ever to break through the noise. That’s why solid message development – creating powerful and a compelling narrative and stories that bring it to life – has never been more important to a company’s success.

SHIFT’s strategic messaging framework process creates an emotional connection between a brand and its customers’ needs and values. It defines that story so that it is conveyed in a creative, compelling, concise manner to grab attention in today’s soundbite-driven world. And it provides a complete framework for telling that story that everyone in the company can use.

Reputation Strategy & Management

Reputation management starts long before a crisis. It’s an everyday job. With online forums and social media, along with the popularity of (largely anonymous) product and business reviews sites, as well as internal communications that can leak, companies must put reputation management atop their priority list.

Why? Because every organization has acute and chronic vulnerabilities, from negative reviews, to disgruntled employee posts, to objections around business practices and less-than-flattering press stories. Sometimes, companies can mitigate potential issues before they explode, and sometimes – despite planning and open communication throughout their ranks – they can be caught flat-footed.

SHIFT helps organizations take control of their corporate, employer and product reputations. From the onset of our collaboration, we build and enact a proactive plan to amplify a company’s vision, reinforce its culture and champion its successes. We use a handful of tools to analyze threats and respond strategically, giving the brand a human voice that’s empathetic and authentic. This way, when something breaks – a breach occurs, a journalist writes a takedown piece, concern about an internal memo manifests on Reddit – a team that thinks critically about the brand’s reputation on an ongoing basis is equipped to swiftly address the challenge and help the client withstand the storm.

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