Branding is about everything you do as a company. You can think of a brand as your company's reputation and the perception others have of you. What would others say about your business when you are not in the room?
Just like a person builds a reputation with every move they make...so does your business! Word always gets around and perception is POWERFUL. If you don't manage perception, you are missing out.
To manage perception, you have to first create a brand strategy.
One part of brand strategy is a combination of defining business goals and establishing communication.
How do you define your business's goals of perception?
1. Understand what your market wants. What is their motivation in using your product or service?
Whatever they want, it will be unique to your business. A customer's motivation drives where they spend their money and how much they are willing to spend! If we don't tap into the values that drive them in our brand strategy and marketing efforts, we are missing out!
For example, consider:
Do your customers want expertise?
Do they want convenience?
Do they want affordable and accessible?
Do they need quality and don't care about price?
Are they solely price driven?
Do they want status?
Do they want fulfilment?
Why would they spend money with you rather than your competitor?
2. Once we understand what they want, establish communication around that.
Communication in branding is not just verbal communication. Everything your business does is communication.
When thinking of what your business communicates, consider:
The way you speak
The way your website is written
The wording on marketing materials
The appearance of your logo and brand design
The way your employees dress
The way your building appears
The location you are in
The quality of anything you have (print materials, website, vehicle wrap and more)
The overall style of your brand
How your treat and interact with customers
Every aspect here and more should be aligned with what your customer desires.
Here are a couple examples of two different companies that have very different businesses and consumers.
The way they interact with their customers and their marketing strategy and branding strategy look very different.
Example 1: The High End Service
The customer desires expertise and results. They don't care about the price because they understand quality costs more money. They actually prefer a more expensive option because price portrays value. It also portrays time. If they are paying for a service, they want to pay enough so that they know enough time will be devoted to them. The customer understands the value of investing in a quality and expertise service.
As a company, marketing to this customer should focus on results and quality. Portray the amount of value that you will bring to their business. If they see the value, they have no problem pulling out their checkbook on the spot. Everything in the company's branding should be top of the line. Print materials should be high quality and put together. The website should look so expensive that if someone calls you from the site, they expect the services to be expensive. Communication should be completely focused on results and value, not price. The customer doesn't care about a bargain because they know a bargain service won't offer them the results they need. The marketing strategy and budget should be focused on spending as much as possible on appearance and branding of each platform. This will pay off big! Customers judge you more on the appearance and language you put out than they do your actual service.
Example 2: The Affordable Product
The customer wants a mix of quality and price. They are okay with the fact that the product is not high end but it is the middle of the line. They are okay with this because they don't want to pay the high end price. They want something that is not cheap and shabby looking. However, they don't want to spend a weeks pay check.
When someone is looking for a mid range product, the marketing is much different than that of Chanel or Prada. It is almost the opposite. The customer is not looking for that same kind of result. While a company like Prada is marketing prestige and reputation of owning their brand, a mid range product should market the look of their product and the value of what you get for the price. The branding can be middle of the line too. It can be decent. It doesn't have to look expensive. It needs to be professional, presentable and trustworthy without looking like the product is extremely pricey.
Overall, perception and reputation in your brand play a huge role in your customer's opinion of your product or service. Managing your brand's perception should take high priority so that you can better communicate with your customer through every avenue. If you communicate directly to your customer's desires, you can better connect with them and have a much higher return on investment with any marketing effort that you make.
Perception is king. No matter how amazing your product or service is, you will always have to leverage people's opinions of your business.
Check out our blog that goes more in depth about the specifics of developing a brand strategy. Positioning + Perception = Profit
And, check out our explanation of what a brand strategy is.
Contact us for a branding consultation!