It is probably fear that drives you to read articles / blogs about brands or branding such as this one. If you’re like us, that fear may well be rooted in your own brand surviving in this constantly changing world.
As an SME owner, you might recall the old days when you could have an idea, start a business, design a logo and mass communicate your message better than your competitors. In the current, technologically connected world and changing consumer attitudes towards business, mass messaging etc. won’t work on its own – if at all.
If any message is to break through the noise, it helps if your brand means something to people i.e. how relevant is it? Why? – because relevancy can lead to brand loyalty. Loyalty has always been important for successful brand building. However, these days we believe we need to go one step further and distinguish between emotional loyalty and functional loyalty.
The former is about feelings and experiences which don’t drive the bottom-line, in the short term. The latter does drive the bottom line in the short-term but, it could be argued, is more about ease and habit. Businesses that attempt to achieve both types of customer loyalty will do the best.
Our point is that if brand owners are aware of both types of loyalty and addresses them in their business planning, it should be possible to help the brand surviving into the future and drive the bottom-line. For example, activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), social media as a customer service channel and a customised after sales service are tactics that can help develop a relationship and subsequently, an element of trust. There will be no loyalty without trust.
Put simply, we always say that a brand is the perception that people have of your business based on what you do and say. In other words, your brand is your voice in the marketplace and it is how you tell your story. Effective storytelling addresses emotions and therefore is the key to your success and your brand surviving in the long term.
We meet prospects from time to time who outline their ‘problem’ as people not knowing “who we are & appreciating that we are the best!” Well now, it is quite clear to us that if these prospects can’t, or aren’t telling their story then nobody else will. We advise them that as a business owner it is their job to tell the story including their mission and raison d’etre.
Consistent communication is one element of brand strength.
It is not our intention here to outline a single route for brand survival but there are probably five suggestions we could make, to help along the way.
- Find your unique story and tell it repeatedly through different communication mediums
- Discover what the perception of your brand is by existing and ideal customers and build on it
- Find out where your customers touch your brand, both online and offline, and converse with them there
- Analyse your main competitors in every aspect particularly their brand positioning and promise
- Ensure all your communications reinforce your brand message and reflect your authenticity
Most of you well attest to the notion that to be conscious of building your brand by retaining customer loyalty is a sound theory. The real challenge, however, is to appreciate that it takes time and effort to do so while at the same time keep the bottom-line ticking over.
Short-term sales won’t ensure your brand success but attention to the managing of what you do and say will contribute to your brand surviving in the long term.
Short-term sales won’t ensure your brand success but attention to the managing of what you do and say will contribute to your brand surviving in the long term.Click to tweet
Building a brand that will survive.
As we’ve alluded to already, everything a business does and says, contributes to developing a brand. So, if the power of a brand is one that influences a person’s propensity to purchase and earn loyalty then what we say & do becomes that power.
What we do needs to be different or nobody will care. What and how we say things amplify our actions. The aim is to maintain a simple image of what your brand is – in the minds of the consumer. For example, is there one word that can describe your story?
What is more, if your story is your brand promise, delivering on it is paramount if people are to believe what you say about yourself. People must be convinced that you are more than a profit-making machine. Therefore, how people experience your brand goes a long way to building loyalty.
It’s not just for bricks-and-mortar brands, being available (mobile friendly), handling complaints, advertising messages, and customer service all form part of the experience. Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”61fR_” via=”no” ]Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials. [/ctt]
Tips that will assist with a brand surviving
We’ve all come across brands that have failed. Failed for many reasons such as entering a saturated marketplace, not fully understanding the target market, business inexperience etc.
We cannot offer a panacea for brand survival here, but here are nine practical tips that we have picked up from our experiences to date:
- Know your ideal customer and talk to them in their language
- Generate value for others before asking for anything in return
- Be the best in your niche and align all your messaging for consistency
- Use emotive appeal in your communications – most buying decisions are emotional in nature,
- Deliver on your brand promise in a consistent way across all touch points – it builds trust
- Use word-of-mouth testimonials through influencers in your specific niche
- Don’t try to be something you are not. Offline should reflect online activity
- Listen to how you explain what you do, to people. This is probably what you really do.
- If you love what you do, but others don’t need it – it’s a hobby.
Where do you start when building a brand that will survive in today’s business world of distractions, options, outputs and shiny new toys? For long term brand survival, this blog post provided many tips above. The one sentiment that underlies them all is that a brand owner should focus on communicating a real value that can be added to a customer’s life.
Consistent communication is, therefore, an integral part of brand survival. Don’t feel trapped by the brand’s ‘style guide’ – effective communication is what is required for eliciting emotions and understanding. Authenticity is the key so don’t mistake familiarity for a successful brand.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.
Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K