Building a trusted brand should be a top priority for any business. A good reputation is a powerful ally in overcoming any objections a customer has to buying and inspiring current loyal customers to advocate. A good brand will be the natural result of years of quality service and careful marketing, but there’s no reason you can’t give a boost to the process to enjoy the benefits sooner. Here are five simple, inexpensive ways to gain that extra edge in boosting your brand.
1. Clarify Your Uniqueness
Look at your competitors and see what you offer that makes you different. Even if this is only a small selling point, such as free consultations or an easier process, clarifying a point of differentiation and promoting it is essential to forming a solid brand. Feature it in as much of your brand creative and marketing activity as you can.
2. Create Consistency
A memorable brand requires a sense of consistency across all aspects of the business. Review your brand touchpoints, from printed materials, customer service language and social media updates, and ensure that you present a consistent image and message. Even if different campaigns are targeting different demographics, they should align together well, reinforcing an overarching message rather than blurring your brand’s features. We use a brand book - a rulebook that explains how the brand should look, act, and sound across any channel - to ensure every person presenting the brand to stakeholders has a guide to keep the brand experiences consistent. If you don't have a full brand book yet, start with a one-page document that lays out the personality traits and values of the brand, style guidelines (logos, fonts, colors), and key messages.
3. Focus on Customer Experience
Have you heard the saying, "you are what you say you are?" This is only partly true. Yes, you must craft a story around your brand and promote it so people know and fall in love with your brand for reasons they may have otherwise been unaware of. If you don't tell consumers, how would they know? However, the second piece of this carries equal weight. You then must follow through on what you say. No matter how wonderful your product or service is, if your customers have a lousy experience then your messages will fall on deaf ears and your brand will suffer. Schedule a regular review all your customer-facing activities. How can you make every customer feel more valued and satisfied?
4. Ask for Feedback
The only way to find out what your customers truly think of your brand is to ask them. This will not only highlight possible points of concern, but it will show your customers that you’re listening and responsive.
It’s a good idea to do this regularly. You could simply send an email to recent customers with a short survey or a general request for comments. Keep this to manageable levels so that you have the time to interact properly with each customer, and also to follow through with action to any reasonable suggestions they offer.
5. Solicit and Use Real Testimonials
If your feedback-gathering exercise turns up some real gems of customer satisfaction, then ask if you can use their words in a testimonial. If you choose realistic comments to publicize, it will achieve two things. Publishing the positive comments will help provide social proof to other potential customers, but it can also prompt the testimonial provider to become an advocate for your brand, telling friends and family that you’ve used their feedback.
BONUS: Get Professional Brand Photos Taken
A professional set of photos to help tell your brand story are worth a thousand words. You can gain instant credibility and attract more people to your brand with great photos. You can stage a series of shots to highlight your services, people, space, customer interaction and use them across your communications. The web is a place of social connectivity, and allowing your audience to see you goes a long way in starting to build a relationship.
Having great photos doesn’t mean that you need to look like a model. It simply means that your photos are high quality and unique — they capture who you are. Experienced brand photographers have a knack for capturing a brand's essence and personality. Ones that feel authentic and inviting and not overly staged and manicured.
For a well-run business, a powerful brand will be the happy side effect of providing a high-quality service over the years. However, the benefits that solid branding brings are so powerful that it makes sense to give your brand a boost whenever you can. Even though growth is gradual, it tends to accelerate over time. In other words, as your brand grows, it tends to grow larger faster. What are you waiting for? Pick one of these hacks and tackle it today.