8 steps that will distinguish your brand
Your brand is one of your business’ most important assets. Therefore, it is important to learn how to distinguish and solidify it. Distinguishing it correctly can promote your business, develop customer loyalty and improve profitability.
Your brand is much more than a logo and a clever slogan. Your brand is the overall value of what you do, the thing you excel in and the experience the customer will have from your products or services. It will decide if a customer joins your loyalty club and will recommend your business to his / her friends. On the other hand, it can decide if the customer won’t bother to do business with you anymore.
In this article we offer guidelines for building a new brand that will establish your business in a clear and effective manner and will enable you to gain return customers and make more transactions.
The 8 stage formula to establish your brand
Know exactly why you’re doing what you do.
In today’s competitive market you don’t want to be an “all-arounder” – to operate in many fields but not specialize in any one. It may be tempting to offer your customers a wide variety of products and services, but it is important to retain a focused brand.
Tip: Your customers have needs, desires and very specific characteristics. If you promise that your brand makes them understand that you understand, you can provide them with a service that will satisfy their desires and make them come back to you as well as recommend you.
Accurately define your brands’ promise.
Your brands’ promise is especially powerful. It is the statement that you make in front of your customers and your target audience, that lets them know exactly what your specialty is each time they turn to you and your employees, or come into contact with the products or services that you provide.
The promise of the product is based on reality and it must be one that can be tested. The promised must entrenched in the culture, philosophy and atmosphere of the business. This statement reflects the way that you treat your customers, how you give them value, and explains how your products or services can assist them and solve their problems.
How can your brand enable them to improve their quality of life, and why they can’t manage without you.
In order to define your brands’ promise, look at familiar brands and try and think about what they promise:
McDonalds – Fast food, with similar taste and service, whether you enter a branch in Israel or anywhere in the world.
Starbucks – Quality coffee in an informal and inviting atmosphere that essentially offers you to drink it in your living room even when you are away from home.
Volvo – Cars that offer both safety and luxury.
Zappos.com – Any shoe you want, wrapped in exceptional customer service.
* Anything you do to market your business should reflect your brands’ promise *
Tip: Need help defining your brands’ promise? Complete the sentence – “Our customers buy / order services from us because we are they only ones that…” The more focused your answer is, the more focused your brands’ promise will be.
Define your target audience
As we mentioned earlier, your business can’t do everything. For example, it probably can’t provide service to everyone.
Products for infants provide services to parents; professional musical instrument stores provide services for certain musicians. Senior homes provide services to elderly people or children to elderly parents.
Your target audience can be composed of a number of demographic or socio-economic groups. They can share a problem, topic of interest or need with a common denominator. Your brand should form a connection with these people because they are your focused target audience.
If you don’t know how to define who your target audience is, use your existing customers to define a number of parameters that characterize them and rely on them to create the wider definition of your target audience.
Tip: To define your target audience, rely on 10% of your existing customers. Ask them, they are the ones that know your brand well, believe in its promise and provide your business with the greatest value.
Be fair and authentic regarding who you are.
Your brand should always be in the front and present the same promise, since an inconsistent presentation will brand your company as unstable, will hurt your reliability and confuse the market.
If you clearly define your target audience and what distinguishes your business from the competitors, the authenticity will come naturally. Don’t broadcast “coolness” if it is not what you are of if such a definition doesn’t integrate with the service you provide. It will transmit unreliability and make your customers turn to the competitors that present a reliable message.
Tip: When it comes to your brand, be natural, consistent and fair. This way it will be easier for you to build trust within your customers, to communicate with them and reach the situation in which they come back to you for more purchases.
Distinguish yourself from the competition.
It is important that you are accurately aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Be aware of what you are best at, that way you will be able to deliver a clearer message to your target audience.
Therefore, learn how to emphasize your strengths and suppress your weaknesses, even how to turn your weaknesses into advantages.
For example – if you have a restaurant that is located far from the main road, you can brand it as a neighborhood restaurant for an audience that values flavor, with easy parking options…
Tip: Your brand should include a spark of your personality and clearly present what you do better than others.
Present your messages and graphical identity professionally and consistently.
All of your marketing messages, from the business card and the logo, to the e-mail newsletter, the website and even the billboards on which you advertise – should be seen, felt and heard as if they come from the same source.
In terms of presenting messages to your target audience – it is important that you use the same key statements at each of your sales points, whether it is the brochure, your website or the adverts that you publish. Place your slogan on any possible place – because it involves your brands’ promise and it will assist you make it catchy and unforgettable.
This is how your brands’ visual presentation and messages should be:
- Reflect your brands’ personality and its voice
- Distinguish your business from the competitors
- Address your target audience
- Get attention and motivate action
Tip: You should consider hiring a branding company that will assist you in creating correct marketing messages. If you present an unprofessional picture it might deter people from doing business with you.
Create a dialogue with your customers
It is obvious that you speak with your customers when they enter your business, call or send you mail.
However, it is important to create ongoing dialogue with your customers. To make sure that they keep coming, call them, meet them online, have enrichment meetings and send newsletters.
How do you create a conversation with the customers if they don’t do business with you?
Here are a few tips you can use:
Create films that demonstrate how to use your products or the quality of your services and upload them to your website, your business’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Upload surveys or ask questions on your business’ Facebook page or LinkedIn. Consult regarding your products or services, get ideas. Incorporate personal messages (what movie are you going to watch during the weekend?) – This creates conversation and generates interest.
Ask your customers to write reviews about your products or services on your website or on other websites where they are provided.
Respond to criticism and reviews – positive or negative. This is very important. Don’t delete negative reviews. Doing this can create an impression of being unreliable.
Create events for the release of new products or services and invite your customers. They like to feel important and needed.
Send an online newsletter – but make sure that it is divided according to your customers’ interests or purchase history.
Share useful information with your customers, don’t just send ads.
Share recommendations from satisfied customers, they can bring in many new customers.
Conduct customer satisfaction surveys and learn from their results.
Tip: Application of the aforementioned suggestions can save you valuable time in which your business is “invisible” and beyond the awareness of your customers.
The current digital age makes reaching customers much easier and much harder simultaneously. They my only be a click away, however it is possible that they will never meet you face to face, as the web is full of noise and information. This is why it is very important to make sure that your customer service is always nothing short of excellent, and to turn your brand into one that everyone knows provides a wonderful experience. Your customers will reward you for this and share with others.
An example of a great idea comes from a car rental company – when a customer reported an accident the first thing that the customer service representative inquired was if the driver was alright and in a safe place. This definitely makes a difference.
Think of anything that you can do in the framework of customer service, even if it is not within the scope of direct contact with them.
Relate to the impression on the customer when they:
- See your advertisement, your mail / newsletter, your Facebook page or your website for the first time.
- Call you.
- Order a product or service on the phone or online.
- Send you an e-mail.
- Sign up to the mailing list.
- Contact you to make a purchase or a return transaction.
This may involve extra effort, but it is exactly what your customers are looking for.
A recent survey in the field showed that 55% of customers recommend a certain company solely based on the excellent customer service experience.
Tip: For all of the aforementioned proposals ask yourself – is this the best that I can do? Would this impress me? What else can I improve? If you implement these suggestions there is no doubt that your customers will appreciate the effort you make for them, and their appreciation will be represented by their ongoing business with you.
It is a lot easier than you think.
The 8 tips that we have mentioned do require some effort. One can reasonably assume that you will have to do some homework and change the way you have conducted your business up until now.
We are confident that the moment you start to work it will become much easier, and will become an instinctive part of your work routine. As long as you know the market in which you work, trust your intuition, conduct ongoing maintenance of the connection with your customers and most importantly – be yourself.
If you act on these strategies – you will quickly see results.