Collins Dictionary defines visibility as ‘how much is seen or noticed by other people’. Visibility is very important in corporate-brand communication; it hinges on who sees your corporate brand and the level of the brand’s attributes retention and retrieval among your targeted consumer segment.
On the other hand, corporate brand visibility is a scientific approach as it leverages on corporate profit line, it is also about how many consumers of a target market sees a brand, where is the brand seen, how often is the brand seen, what other aspects of the brand in terms of brand attributes, associates and themes are seen, will the brand be noticed among many competitive brands under common consumer conditions? Finding answers to these simple visibility questions are the primary challenges facing many brands across business sectors such as the Ghanaian banking sector.
Generally, universal commercial banks are driven by the competition to invest extensively in their brand positioning efforts. Brand positioning efforts are activities employed to boost up a brand’s aesthetic differences among competitors and at the same time registering the brand’s visibility in the minds of consumers which subsequently translates into increase in sales and business profit. Majority of the banks seems to be on top of their brand positioning efforts. For instance, the banks highlights what they stand for, touching on the benefits of their services and products to the consumer and also use all means to differentiate their respective brand from their competitors.
Managing corporate media visibility
Attention should be paid to corporate media visibility. For, it is not just about appearance but an empirical research offering critical understanding and finding answers to what I refer to as corporate’s Media Platform Visibility Matrix (MPVM) score ratings. A simple question to all strategic corporate communications departmental heads within the Ghanaian banking sector is this – What is your bank’s annual visibility scores of 2020 in terms of the following score matrixes? First, how did you perform across -the-board of your competitors’ corporate and CEO visibility? Again, what are the thematic and topical areas of your online and social media brand conversation? Furthermore, what is your brand’s media sentiments ratings on both traditional and online media? What is the identity of banking brands’ influencers relating to your brand? What is your total media mentions on traditional, online, and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, etc.)? In addition, what is the degree of your brand’s story reach on traditional, online and social media? Also, what is the ratio of your earned media visibility to your paid media visibility levels? Not to forget, what is the visibility, mentions and reach levels of each of your corporate events in 2020? These are just few questions out of the many strategies. Ladies and gentlemen, if it takes more than a click away to figure out what your score status is, then your Media Platform Visibility Matrix scores are on a low edge with low sensitivity towards your brand visibility campaign strategy.
All is not lost. A few steps could be adopted to manage the above drawbacks if any at all. Communication departments should start treating strategic communication as science by developing well defined protocols to answer the brand’s visibility objectives. Improve your media visibility by employing brand-journalist whose role is to create earned media through quality writing for your targeted media platforms. Adopt consistent media monitoring and benchmark your performance against your competitors in the above contexts. As much as you are pitching your brand ads to fit Valentine, Mother’s Day, Christmas Season, you may consider weaving authentic stories around these iconic social moments. That is to say, compliment your public relations efforts with brand visibility writings approach. Maximum attention should also be attached to social media monitoring suites and solutions for an effective monitoring.
Although Ghanaian banks continue to pay attention to their brand positioning efforts, I wish similar attention is given to the corporate visibility. Unfortunately, less attention is attached to visibility planning and strategies. An extract from a broader traditional and online Ghanaian banks visibility analysis of 2020 by the Institute of Brands Narrative Analysis (IBNA) revealed the following:
In terms of Banks corporate media visibility ranking from January to December 2020, GCB Bank recorded the highest visibility followed by Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart), Absa, ADB, and Ecobank in that order. The 10th bank on the Top 10 Visibility Score Card is NIB. Many banks couldn’t make it to the Top 10. Banks are encouraged to whip up their visibility efforts through innovative strategic communication efforts. Strikingly, although ADB bank scored 4th position on the corporate visibility ratings, its CEO scored the 1st position on the Banking CEOs Visibility Score Card. With GCB dropping to the 4th position. It must be noted also that GCB’s change in CEO position might have impacted their ratings. StanChart and Absa also remained low on the CEO’s visibility score. Access bank however managed to pull its CEO through although Access bank couldn’t make it to the top 10 corporate visibility rankings. Certainly, corporate communication departments of the Ghanaian banks will remain more sensitive to their visibility tactics, plans and strategies as they wait for the IBNA’s Ghanaian Banks Media Visibility Q1 2021 Scores coming out soon.
The writer is a lecturer at the Communications Studies Department of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) and Founder of the Institute of Brands Narrative Analysis (IBNA)