In a market flooded with quality products, what is it that makes you choose between New Balance or Nike, Freedom Furniture or Brosa? Brand.
A brand is more than just a name or a logo. It goes beyond the carefully curated colour palette, or the intern’s witty summation on the ‘About Us’ page. A true brand is an experience. It guides.
From company culture to core values, a brand is a glimpse behind the curtain. It reflects the employees, the founder(s), the partners, the customer—anyone who contributes to making the brand what and frankly who it is.
It encompasses whether the business is environmentally friendly, whether you play music in the office, or how you reply to customers on Facebook. Brand is shaped by, and shown through every touch point.
Strong brand positioning will un-doubtedly strengthen these elements and ensure they are cohesive, but it should also do one more very important thing. Communicate them to customers in a way they understand and covet. And in this way, you find your point of difference.
Where brand may not feel tangible, the results most certainly are. A brand with a clear message and a strong community has leverage. People are much more likely to spend their money with a ‘friend’ they trust and admire than acquaintance whose only defining feature is that they’re cheap. Remove yourself from competitive price wars and revive diminishing margins by standing out of the crowd. Be that friend.
This becomes ever more important in the e-commerce industry. Without a smiling face and pretty storefront we must work that bit harder to cut through the noise and establish trust.
Whilst discount pricing is not necessarily negative, for some consumers it can be associated with poor quality and can trap the vendor into unsustainable pricing strategies.
From company culture to core values, a brand is a glimpse behind the curtain. It reflects the employees, the founder(s), the partners, the customer
Strong brand positioning works to guide how customers perceive the product and the brand.
Ensuring your key messages are understood by staff and customers alike is a hurdle that many companies, not just startups, face. Though the website may have a beautifully crafted explanation of your business model, if customer service can’t answer questions about it, or the marketing team doesn’t know how to communicate about it, it will not be effective.
Here integrated branding strategy can create a cohesive identity across all marketing channels. Segmentation is particularly evident within digital marketing. With so many facets to coordinate from email, to SEO and merchandising, each team can start to develop ideals of their own, only valuing their own goals and learning.
If EDMs use puns and a casual tone, but the banners on the website are formal this will create confusion and may even cause the consumer to distrust the company or miss the promotion. Everyone should have a clear understanding of the brand and work together to purvey the same persona. Digital marketing is an extension of your branding, not an independent entity, so bring them into the fold.
Whilst brand strategy will draw in new and valuable consumers, it is also an important consideration in keeping them. It can be easy to neglect existing consumers because you already have them. Right? Wrong. Whether a new or established company, think retention. The loyalty technique is time honored and trusted, and when integrated into marketing and branding plans will show results.
A little love can go a long way. Loyal customers like you and they like your products, but most importantly they have an ongoing relationship. They know your website; they follow you on Instagram; they subscribe to your email. They act as unpaid ambassadors and engage with content, giving you credibility. Loyal customers are ‘free’ to engage with the brand at their will. Loyal customers are more likely to convert, and convert again.
They give great feedback on the strategy and provide insights into where the brand can go. Whilst a particular system or practice may seem like the best idea for a business, it may not make sense within a customer journey. Your loyal customers will tell you. Listen to them and learn.
If none of these points are convincing there is also the known fact that people just love brands. Whether you are well known, just known for something, customers have the desire to shop with brands.
A brand is inspirational; it is gratifying and it imbues the consumer's life with the values of whatever brand they buy. Countless studies have shown that customers are willing to pay more for goods they have more information on, from innovative brands, from brands delivering the best customer experience. Be that brand.