Whether you’re a marketing professional or business owner, you understand the importance and value of engaging directly with your audience. You want to foster new relationships, nurture existing ones, listen/respond to feedback, and build trust and rapport with each action you take as a company. Not easy, right? You’re up against competitors who may be taking similar approaches to building their own brands and they might outright copy everything else you’re doing. It’s frustrating, to say the least when you’re struggling to gain traction as a company, but there are tactics that you can employ which will set you apart.
Outlined below are some techniques you can use to build a brand that people will love, and which will generate more positive engagement and sentiment towards your product or service.
What Is A Brand?
At its core, a brand is a promise you make to your customers. What will they get when they purchase a product or service under your brand umbrella? Your brand promise incorporates more than just tangible products and services – it also includes how the customer feels when they use your products and services. It’s the reason why companies like Nike have such a high brand perception as to many, they represent athleticism, strength, performance and good health, and they deliver by creating great products. It takes time to get there though. Brands are ultimately built by customers, not companies. It’s the way that customers perceive a brand that helps define it, so it doesn’t matter what you think your brand promises, as the only thing that matters is how customers perceive your brand.
Why Your Brand Promise Matters
That’s why your brand promise is incredibly important as customers will develop expectations for your brand, put their hard-earned money into purchasing your products or services, and assume that whatever expectations they have for your brand will be met. If you can meet or exceed their expectations, the positive sentiment they have towards you will improve and they will talk about you.
But on the occasions you disappoint your customers, they may become confused by your brand, turn away from it in favour of another, and share negative opinions about their experiences with others. Let’s face it – no one wants that to happen. So, the question really is, “What can I do to build a brand my customers will love?”. Here are just a few of the areas you need to consider.
Know Your Values
Before you jump head first into tactics to add warmth to your brand, you firstly need to pin down what your values are:
- What is it you want to tell the world?
- What do you stand for?
- Why was your company set up in the first place?
- What is unique about the way you work?
- Why should people pay attention to you?
Be honest with yourself here. Your values will act as a backbone for your company which will ultimately help guide how you think, how you write, the people you hire and your overall goals and objectives.
For us at Learn Inbound, we want to help marketers learn advanced tactics and strategies from leading industry experts through a series of events and training courses. As we’re marketers ourselves, it’s important to us to ensure our passion for inbound marketing carries over into our tone of voice, the atmosphere at our events, and our focus on delivering valuable learning opportunities for marketers.
Build A Positive Message
People will make purchasing decisions with emotion and justify with logic. This is a concept that most marketers and company founders understand, but very few execute well. For example, compare these taglines for co-working space in Dublin:
“Flexible co-working space for companies of all sizes”
“Work Somewhere Iconic”
They both get across the same point – workspace – but which one makes you more excited to find out more about their offering? Well, it should be the second one as you’re reading this blog post on that company’s website… The first message explains what they offer, but it doesn’t elicit a feeling in the potential consumers mind like the second one.
Your product or service should directly alleviate any concerns people have (e.g. cost of purchases) and instead, create a positive emotion that gets people excited by what you’re trying to promote. It’s ultimately what helps to set Iconic Offices apart from it’s competition here in Dublin. The focus on building a positive message about its members being rockstars is what makes you feel they care more than every other provider. By learning to ignore common adjectives in your copy in favour of high emotion-words, you can dramatically increase your response and conversion rate, improve your bottom line and help ensure people feel an emotional connection to your company.
That’s not to say it’s as simple as improving the copy on your website. You need to ensure this positivity filters down through every area of your business or people will quickly realise there’s a disconnect between what you say and what you do. Be positive with how you position your company, even when there’s not a direct return on the time you spend helping people.
For example, at Learn Inbound, we were incredibly thankful to be sent 300 t-shirts and iPhone chargers by a sponsor for our very first event back in 2015. We had nothing to show them beyond our passion for inbound marketing and what we hoped to achieve over the coming year, but they took a chance on us anyway. As we were incredibly thankful for their support, a couple of days later we called up a bakery around the corner from their offices and ordered 150 cupcakes so that we could thank each staff member.
It helped us to build a lasting partnership with them for two years and led to us growing in capacity with each event.
Never forget those who help you to get to where you are. People like to work with others who are positive and passionate about what they do.
Find Your Tribe And Nurture It
People buy from companies they identify with. The harsh truth is that you can’t appeal to everyone – well you can try, but you’re ultimately going to fail. Think beyond the age or income brackets of your customers to instead focus on the feelings, habits, desires and self-images of the people you want to buy into your offering. Knowing your audience is an essential component of branding, writing and communication, and it’s equally important for business development.
Identifying your target market will allow you to get insight into your customer base and choose the correct channels to reach them, while still staying true to your business values. For example, when you think of Apple, you will remember the advert from 1997 which focused on their brand message, “Think Different”.
They understood that the people they wanted to reach were more creative, less opposed to risk, and thought outside of the box. Identifying their audience and speaking directly to them through their brand message has helped to shape the company into what it is today – whereas some of their competitors have taken a broader approach to audience targeting and struggle to set themselves apart.
If you want to succeed as a company, you need to realise that the one area that your competitors can’t copy from you is what people think of you. Your brand image is something you need to work hard to build, and even harder to fiercely protect. Know what your values are, build a positive message across all of your channels and speak to the people who will be most likely to have an interest in your offering. Remember, building a brand isn’t something that’s immediate – it takes a prolonged amount of time to create positive sentiment by continually ensuring you deliver on your brand values.
Mark Scully, Founder & Director at Learn Inbound
When he isn’t debating with granulated Nescafé drinkers about what constitutes ‘proper’ coffee,
he’s probably at his desk working on inbound marketing events and training courses in Dublin to help marketers take their game to the next level.
Feature image via startbloggingonline.com