Branding as we know has changed for both online and offline businesses. Online businesses should be striving take advantage of offline strategies and offline businesses should not ignore the bigger audience online. It’s no longer enough to have a responsive and sleek website, social-media accounts or even consistent brand aesthetic online.
The new rules of branding your business have a lot more to do with how you present your business and how you interact with your prospective customers. Brand building not only increases the voice and consumer awareness of your brand, but it also gives it an identity and worth. Apple can afford to sell phones not simply because they have the smart engineers to make phones; every single one of their competitors can make phones too.
But because it represents an ideal: it represents something bigger than just computers or phones. Apple represents a brand people have come to trust and associate with. The company can afford to sell virtually anything and people will still buy because of the brand. As long as Apple’s products are consistent with its cause, the company has the freedom to do things other companies cannot. Can your customers speak the same of your brand? Can they identify with you with or buy your products because of what you stand for?
The ground rules of branding are constantly evolving. Creating and sustaining customer trust and loyalty is more difficult than ever before. Being relevant, inspiring, purposeful and innovative are the things that will make people pause, listen and pay attention.
There are brand strategies that all marketing executives must not ignore.
1. Invest in building and exposing your brand. Building a unique and powerful personal or business brand takes time and consistency. It doesn’t start and end on a single platform. It’s no more just about what you do online. You have to keep reinforcing your values at every opportune moment both offline and online. Take advantage of promotional channels, blogs, forums, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), targeted offline events, display stands, etc. The most important thing here is consistency.
The simple truth is that if you execute your brand building strategies consistently, you can easily establish a remarkable pattern that will forever be associated with your company name. Successful brands like Coca cola, Nike, Adidas, Google etc. are virtually everywhere they find their prospective customers. They consistently invest in reinforcing their brands in the mind of their audience. Brand building is not a one off thing and these successful companies know that. Today’s consumer expects more from your brand – not only the message it communicates – but how and where it is delivered. Make it count.
2. Innovation, perfect timing and flawless execution should be your priority. Innovation is an obvious strategy but still most companies still fall short.Even successful companies can miss out on when to innovate and what time to launch a new product. Ask Blackberry and Nokia. Today’s marketplace demands perfect timing and flawless execution with each new strategy you implement. Don’t send out marketing messages when you are not ready to take on the competition. You will be doing a lot damage to your brand than enhancing it.
Consumers want to know that you are ready when they are. That means your timing must be in perfect sync with your audience demands. Consumers expect a lot more because they have choice. Your competitor is already next door, waiting to take advantage of your weakness. And customers know that. Short-cuts are slow death in a marketplace where consumers expect brands to over-deliver before they actually commit to purchase.
3. Monitor your brand’s reputation, and be prepared to respond. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have become essential components of many companies’ online marketing strategies. Customers will talk about your brand with or without your concern and they are good about ranting and raving about their experiences. A single response or even unanswered question about your product or service can harm that reputation you are building for good.
A question or complaint left unanswered on any platform has the potential to tarnish your company’s brand and scare away prospective customers. There are lots of great social media tools out there you can use. Maintain greater control of your brand online and you will be on course to building a great brand