“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” Howard Schultz
Yes, branding is perhaps one of the most powerful weapons in today’s world. All the strongest brands in the world express a clear, effective, and relevant message that has created a strong place in the mind of the customers.
When you’re establishing a brand for your business, here are some things you need to keep in mind.
Identify Who Your Audiences Are
It is truly vital to be aware of your intended audience and approaching them on an appropriate level.
So, how you can define your target audience?
Well, target audiences can be defined by both demographics (such as age, household income, etc.) and psychographics (such as attitudes, behaviors, goals, motivations, purpose, interests, etc.)
There are usually two types of audiences to consider:
- one that you already have
- those that you want
Performing a thorough research can help you in determining which demographics are currently engaging with your brand and through what means they are following your brand. It can be through social media accounts, visiting your website or by directly buying your products at freestanding stores. Figuring out if your brand is reaching your ultimate target audience is extremely imperative for measuring the success of your entire branded image, company image, and any paid advertising campaigns.
The Customer’s Voice
Identifying and gaining the loyalty of your target audience is an essential way to reach your brand objectives. Customer engagement is really crucial for connecting with your target market online. The competitive advantage of your brand can make you stand out from the crowd and helps you in shaping authentic, human relations with your customers and prospects. Some of the most effective and powerful ways to reach your customers voice online are:
- Ensure connecting with your target customers social circles.
- When talking about online marketing, social influence is truly powerful. It is best to line up with the social channels that your clientele and prospects are already utilizing.
- Connect with the prospects that are already searching for your product or service, using paid channel advertising.
- Be sure to blog about your customers’ interests. Choosing the right topics will provide your brand the potential to achieve high rankings in organic search.
- Find out companies that are trying to reach audiences like yours and try getting into partnership with these like-minded brands.
- Make available relevant customer testimonials that address to your target market and must be able to connect with prospects on both a rational and emotional level.
Communicate With Them
Communication is crucial in any kind of business. Communication with both stakeholders and customers now matter a lot in today’s world. This is vital to understand their expectations and demands. It is often mistaken that communication is only about exchanging words. However, it is not true because, in order to be a good communicator, you need to be a good listener first.
This is also all the more important since loyal customers play a major role in ensuring and sustaining the success of any business. It takes a lot of time and effort to cultivate relationships for building such a loyal customer base. Retaining your customers require a good amount of quality communication. In fact, there are several means to build robust communication channels to convey your intended messages and to ensure customer feedback.
If you are thinking that traditional communications have now received a setback in a digital era, you are probably mistaken because emails, brochures, newsletters, and various other incentive materials are still very much in practice. You can also communicate frequently by using social media. It has emerged as an excellent option to communicate with friends, to increase your network and most importantly, to build successful brands. Of all the social media platforms available, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great platforms to expand your prospects beyond your existing customer base. However, just keep in mind that communication is always a two-way process and it is not just about speaking and listening, but initiating an engaging conversation too.
Create Great Content
In this competitive world, businesses are required to understand that the content that they publish represents their brand and that it has the potential to affect them. Content has the ability to affect a business’ image, credibility, authority, and sales either in a positive way or negative way.
Many businesses spend a large number of dollars in creating and protecting a strong brand. They set strict branding standards and are cautious about making sure people abide by them. Still, some organizations ignore the importance of content and end up having a content written by anyone.
“Content is not only important these days, but it has become an essential requirement.” This statement can be proved with the help of following statistics mentioned below:
- Around 80% of business’ decision-makers choose to get information about a company in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source)
- Around 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after going through custom content on its site.
- Nine out of 10 organizations market with content. (Source)
- More than 90% of CMOs think that custom content has a positive impression on audience attitudes, beefing up the connection with consumers.
- About 20% of users’ time is spent surfing the Internet on content-led websites. (Source)
- Content marketing costs less than usual, outbound marketing. Statistics show that content marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. (Source)
- Per dollar, content marketing produces approximately three times as many leads.
All these stats are enough to prove that quality content is critical in today’s competitive world. So, while creating an awesome content, just make sure to:
- Provide space to write reviews: Real customer reviews are the most effective marketing tool for small and local businesses. Reviews are widely trusted by the consumers even more than what you and your ads have to say. Positive reviews have the potential to convert lookers into buyers. Thus, in order to get reviews, it is important for the businesses to provide an easy way to invite and remind customers to share their experience. Moreover, provide them a single destination that is specifically designed to convert them into reviewers.
- Write PR and use Media with brand specific: Although, the effectiveness of this tactic has declined considerably over the time, press release submission is still a decent link building approach particularly for new sites if you endow in a quality submission service. Moreover, make certain that your release is interesting, newsworthy and properly optimized.
- Brand specific discussion on various platforms: There are various brand communities available online that brings customers closer, generate buzz and enhance brand loyalty. More communication and discussion over brand specific platforms increases customer confidence. However, in order to encourage purchases, make sure the communications must be appropriate, frequent, prolonged and timely.
Brand Specific Link Tactics
There are some brand specific link tactics that allow you to enhance your brand value. Some of these tactics include:
- Listing your brand on the right platform: As a business owner or marketer, you may not have enough time and resources to be everywhere to everyone.You can’t afford to be on every social site, however, cannot afford to overlook them either. Thus, it is essential to select the sites that work best for you, your business goals, and your customers’ needs and requirements. Then, try to engage with them.
- Consistent community participation: Building a brand can be best achieved by developing a reputation in the community and having consistent community participation. An active participation is required to have an expert knowledge within your industry niche. Therefore, in order to establish your brand as a leader, it is imperative to be consistent and persistent while promoting the brand’s image.
Enhance Your Brand Volume
Now that you’ve established what your brand is and who your target audience is, you will need to enhance your brand and increase customer interaction and engagement.
Support People Who Find Your Profiles
Make sure that the design and images utilized on your profile reflect your brand image and be unswerving with your website design and with your profiles on other social networks to make you recognizable. A good profile will increase the likeliness of users clicking on your profile when it appears in search results. Furthermore, when someone finds your profile make sure to keep them updated about your products and services.
Embed Social Buttons
Adding social media buttons on your site are helpful in driving visitors from your site to your social profiles. In addition, you want to include social buttons to your content to allow users to share your content. This way, they can share your content and information to their connections.
When you add social media buttons to your website, you are increasing the possibility of users liking your page or sharing them with their friends. This is especially important to build your brand online and social following.
Use of Images
Brand signals are usually a company’s brand name, website name or the exact URL that a particular company is going to use. You can use images to create brand signals as they are very efficacious in terms of recuperating your position with the keywords that you are targeting.
Rich Media Advertisements
Rich media ads that are usually the ads that are mostly seen on a website, which elaborates when you hover over it or an ad in the corner that you can peel back to reveal more of the message. If used properly, they can be a very powerful online advertising medium.
Rich media ads can be very effective and fruitful as compared to standard display ads in many ways such as:
- High interaction rate: Rich media ads usually comprise of functions such as video, movement, and various other engaging features. Potential customers can very well interact with these ads and their engagement could provide a great boost in your brand awareness.
- Increased calls to action: With rich media ads, you’ll get the opportunity to link your social media outlets to different zones instead of being able to link to one landing page.
- More space to offer visuals and messaging: With rich media ads, you’ll get much more space to exhibit photos, present more calls to action and engage.
- Videos can be included: Video has become one of the most powerful marketing mediums these days on the web. Make sure to have an effective online video marketing campaign as video ads are a great way to utilize your video and gain engagement.
- Improved tracking:Rich media ads provide you the chance to view other measurable statistics about your customers.
Provide Good Customer Service
Great customer service is really important when it comes to building your brand reputation. In today’s digital environment, customer service needs to be quick. Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to address issues instantaneously. However, you want to get back to customers within 24 hours and provide them with quality customer service.
By interacting, customers can make perception about your brand, which is far more influential than the perceptions they form through exposure to your marketing communications. So, it is important to ensure that you optimize customer service to build the value of your brand.
Converse, Interact, and Engage
These days, social media has gained a lot of attention and popularity. These channels are the perfect platform to communicate your message and let it spread organically. When you are openly engaged on social media and encourage your audience to interact with you, it builds up a certain level of accountability. By having social media interactions, a brand can effectively hold itself answerable for rendering great products, services, and customer service.
Getting engaged with your followers, subscribers or customers is a long-term resource that you can activate at the touch of a button. Moreover, if you are offering real value in exchange for social interaction, you’ll be confident that you’re growing a responsive and engaged audience.
Give a Strong Boost to your Brand
If the relation between you and your client is not maintained properly, it will become challenging to sustain and grow your business for a longer haul. Branding is the core of any business that can make your business attractive to investors, consumers and future employees as well.
Therefore, in order to provide a strong boost to your brand, you must:
- Monitor your reviews: There might be several things happening on the web and social media that straightaway engage you, but you won’t know about them till you’re listening. You need to keep your eyes open to make sure that you know what people are talking about you whether they are saying it to your face or telling the rest of the world about you. Moreover, a strong brand monitoring program will be able to help you in knowing what people are saying about you, what they aren’t saying about you, what appropriate changes you need to make, what your competitors are doing and it also helps you in knowing how to respond to your customers in a positive way.
- Try to provide 100% customer satisfaction: Customer satisfaction basically refers an extent to which customers are pleased with the products and services provided by your business. Gaining a high level of customer satisfaction is really essential for any business due to the reason that satisfied customers are most likely to be loyal and are able to make repeat orders and use a wide range of services offered by a business.
Although there are various ways to measure the customer satisfaction level, surveys and questionnaires are one of the most effective ways. Listening to your customers’ needs and satisfying them will make things easier and enhance your response rate.
- Always spy on your competitors but do not copy them: It is not just enough to monitor your own brand, it is equally essential to monitor your entire industry including your customers.
Knowing what others are doing in the same industry can be extremely helpful as you look to move your business forward. Also, you must try to know what people are saying about your competitors. If customers are not satisfied with any aspect of your competitor’s business, you can take benefit of that information.
Having a strong brand makes it easier for people to promptly identify anything associated with you. This could be anything including your logo, your company’s working environment, quality of your work and most importantly how you make others feel when they interact with you.
So, whether you have just started or are in the process of tweaking your brand, here are some important points to consider:
- Keep building great brand specific content: In order to foster engagement with your customers, it is necessary to provide great value to customers. A quality and brand specific content is perhaps the most effectual tool, which includes all-inclusive guides, helpful tips, and actionable information that not only provide great value to the customers but also, nurture engagement with your customer.
- Provide quality, authenticity, and consistency in messaging: When describing your brand, you need to provide quality, authenticity and consistency in messaging due to the reason that a strong branding is the care of any decent marketing strategy.
Thus, a strong brand enables differentiation against competition and allows people to recognize your products and services.
That quote by Howard Schulz is spot on, building a brand doesn’t only mean getting fans or attention on the internet, it also means building a franchise that people get to love and can impact the world in a positive way. I’ve seen brands fail miserably simply because all they cared about was money and fame, that doesn’t amount to anything and it’s only 20% of the way of being a successful company/website/brand etc.
Interaction with users is key.