1. Current and Potential Customers Determine Your Brand
A sense of personal connection and the confidence that your company fosters is what inspires loyalty in your customer. For example, individuals rarely recommend an auto mechanic purely because the mechanic has received a reputation as the premier transmission repair shop. The loyalty comes from the owner being perceived as honest and personable – developing trust. Consider the case of a neighborhood family restaurant. The restaurant owner will know positive relationships are being developed when customers say, “On our first visit, the owner stopped by our table. The second time, she remembered our names.” That’s creating a brand in a nutshell. A brand is not solely comprised of your company logo, tagline, or mission statement. A brand is created organically by what your customers say to friends and colleagues about your business. Therefore, brand is about perception, reputation, and what differentiates your organization from the competition.
2. Assess the Needs in Your Market
Reveal to customers and potential customers that your company understands the challenges customers face. From that point, identify the benefits that exist within your organization’s to help customers surmount those challenges. In other words, sell products and/or services that offer customers tangible solutions that appear designed to fulfill a customer’s needs.
Additional strategies that help solidify the benefits your firm offers customers are: One, communicate the results other customers have experienced from the products and/or services your company provides to the market. Two, as we all are well aware the use of emotional appeals is a very effective tool in galvanizing your company’s brand. Obviously, some industries are better geared to utilize and take advantage of emotional appeals. If your firm is able to implement appeals that connect with customers, your customers will be your firm’s most valuable advocates.
3. Good Brands Connect With the Market
A large number of small business owners take advantage of the brand as an extension of the company’s close interaction with customers. Companies that receive and respond to honest feedback and comments from customers discover that in turn that ensuring the small details is what customers happy. As strange as this may seem, the businesses that care about the small things grasp the concept of how to positively treat individuals. This is one of the best techniques that helps encapsulate what are essential tenets to your company.
All of us want to feel valued as customers, and hence prefer to do business with people and organizations with whom common beliefs, values, priorities, and have made a personal connection are shared. Build your brand to the point that customers think of themselves as doing business with you, not with a company. Treat them the way you’re treated by the vendors and service providers you value most. When you handle customer relationships that way consistently and in a manner that rings true, your brand will capture the essence of your business and inspire loyalty.
4. Create and Maintain a Significant Brand
A well-defined brand strategy emerges from a distinct business strategy. Any successful brand starts with a focus on consistency in communications and a positive experience for the customer. Your brand should communicate with customers that your company’s products, services, and staff are reliable and consistent. Every employee on the strategic, tactical, or operational level must be committed to taking care of customer needs and providing customers with a consistently positive experience.
A business whose strategic vision is focused on providing quality experiences to customers will find that through this strategy the brand is built not necessarily through implementing traditional catchphrases like premier provider or world-class service. The use of phrases like these is not enough to develop a quality brand the company has to perform in a way that is consistent with these phrases. Talk is cheap – actions are what count.
In the development of a brand make your customers’ needs and wants your business’ main focus. Discover what your customers value most about doing business with your firm also determine what services you organization could add that would support make the process flow more easily for your customers and partners. Direct interaction provides your company a major advantage when responding to customer needs. This type of intimate interaction should especially be at the core of developing a strong small business brand.
5. Encourage and Nurture the Conversation
Guide the conversation by listening and responding to customer needs. Be intentional when engaging customers in person, by phone, in writing, or online. Be sensitive to your customers’ preferences for receiving information and actively participating in conversation.
Use social media platforms to solicit input from customers and partners. Receiving input in this fashion is an excellent method to solidify relationships and therefore convert your most committed and loyal customers into brand advocates.
Authenticity is vital when communicating with your customers. Don’t stoop to self-promotion. Consumers are open to receiving messages that relate to your firm’s brand that appeal to your customers’ interests and needs. Many experts report that if a company is able to take advantage of the opportunity to convert these interactions, then these interactions are able to become an emotional and collaborative experience for customers.
6. Clearly Define Your Company’s Brand
Focus on the characteristics that define why your business does what it does. To define this focus assess if your company’s strategies are targeted at solving customers’ challenges and congruent with customers’ goals. This is where customer feedback comes into play.
Customer feedback offers a unique perspective on the various strengths your organization possesses. Furthermore your company can build on these strengths and become the preferred provider of the products and/or services customers want and need. Formulate tactics so your firm will be able to add value in a style that causes customers to become more reliant and loyal to your business’ brand. To provide your company with information that best determines which branding messages on which to focus, it is imperative that your organization increase interaction with customers to keeps your company better informed concerning your customer’s needs, priorities, and perception of your organization’s value.
Differentiation is another important factor when solidifying your company’s brand. Differentiation is defined by some experts as to how your organization engages your employees and customers so both parties perceive that your company is set apart from the competition.
7. Branding Is the Responsibility of All Employees
Your business’ focus is to ensure that your brand be personified by every member of your company. In fact, every employee of your organization has an essential and vital role in shaping and supporting your company’s brand.
Furthermore, strive to make brand awareness a universal job requirement. In fact, recruit for brand awareness. Be intentional and clear with employees that brand awareness will be one of the criteria when your firm awards raises, promotions, and bonuses. Additionally, be deliberate to ensure that your company’s teams articulate the company’s branding message consistently across all media.
8. Confirm Company’s Actions Support the Brand
Aligning your message with company products, services, and conduct is a key factor in maintaining your customers’ trust, loyalty, and business – and hence reinforce your brand message. To illustrate the point, let’s look at the importance of being environmentally- friendly. For companies in particular industries being environmentally-friendly is very important to consumers that use those companies’ products and/or services. For example, companies greatly benefit from clearly communicating the use of post-consumer content recycled paper, packaging, and shipping materials to customers. To reinforce your company’s support of a clean environment; encourage employees to carpool and/or offer employees paid time-off to volunteer in the community.
For companies that offer products or services designed to simplify customers’ lives, reinforce that concept in your pricing strategy. For instance, products or services usually priced at $99.95, price those same items as $100. In the case of organizations that have young families as core customers, assign specific employees to carry packages for those parents with children and purchases.
Businesses that are able to demonstrate core beliefs from a branding standpoint are very desirable – and difficult to replicate by the competition. Core beliefs are difficult to replicate from company to company because each company’s systems have subtle nuances. The subtlety in these systems creates roadblocks which make it problematic for core beliefs from one organization to infuse into every element of another organization.
9. Ensure That Your Brand Remains Viable and Dynamic
Managing your brand from this perspective allows your business to tell your company’s story, and hence communicate why your company offers the products and services that your business does and moreover, demonstrates why your business’ offerings should matter to the customers your company wants to serve. Through these steps, your brand will be put in position to make an enduring impression as well as retain vitality and relevance even as the market changes and customer needs evolve.
Establish a message that supports your business and values, and continue to accept feedback from customers to nimbly respond to ever-changing market conditions. Maintaining a brand is a dynamic process and never has a true end-point. Therefore, reevaluate your company’s messaging and revitalize the messaging as you expand business operations or even change the focus and strategic vision of your business. The adaptability of your company’s messaging will allow your organization to attract potential customers while maintaining your firm’s current customers.
In short, for your company to remain on top of your brand and the associated messaging your company must sustain such key factors as a strong understanding of business conditions, marketplace requirements, regulatory changes, and responsiveness to community needs.
No longer is corporate citizenship enough for business owners to engage in charitable community support. Organizations must be involved in and make positive contributions to the communities that the company serves. A business with a strong and responsive brand will be able to effortlessly integrate community engagement into the company’s distinctive characteristics.Tweet