Often, the reason we stay loyal to brands is because of their set of values. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer, and employee, experience.
1. HAVE A CLEAR VISION – establish a clear vision for your brand and share this on all your communications and with your team eg:-
The ASOS.com vision is ‘to be worlds no 1 destination for twenty something fashion’
Bauble Bar’s is to be ‘the final say in fashion jewellery’
Ben & Jerry’s is ‘to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way’
2. CHECK IT’S LEGAL – before you spend any money on your branding, make sure you can trade mark your brand and you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s. You can check availability on the TM View If it is available, then trademark at least for the UK and any other territories you think you will be trading in, so no one else can use your brand name. Also make sure the domain is available.
3. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER – building a brand means creating an emotional connection with your customer and understanding what makes them tick. Undertake market research and create profiles for every different types of target customer capturing information such as age, lifestyle, income, interests etc.
4. BE PROUD – you and your team should be proud of what your brand stands for and celebrate it. Your core values should be reflected in every area of activity including how you work with your staff, suppliers and customers. You can share your values and tell your brand story through your content marketing
5. CREATE A CULTURE THAT CELEBRATES WHAT YOU STAND FOR – think about what you can do to get customers connecting to you eg. Innocent holds Annual General Meetings
6. DEVELOP A DISTINCTIVE AND CONSISTENT BRAND IDENTITY – your branding must be consistent on everything including website, look book, packaging, emails signatures, social channels, and Instagram filters. Creating a ‘brand guidelines’ manual will help ensure you stick to this.
7. PERSONALISE YOUR BRAND – create a house style and tone of voice that sets you apart from others – things like free sweets in packages, stickers with witty sayings, help customers stay loyal to you and get them engaged.
8. EVERY EXPERIENCE MATTERS – there’s a cost to you for every new customer you gain, so you want to make sure you keep them. Everything you do should encourage customer loyalty, whether it’s offering free delivery, excellent customer service, compelling website content or beautiful packaging. Little touches such as a personalised thank you note or including mini eggs at Easter in their parcel can make a big impact.
9. CONSIDER THE COMPANY YOU KEEP – forging collaborations with other brands, and celebrity endorsements, can help fast track brand exposure, but do think carefully if the association is the right fit for your brand. Only work with brands that have a similar vision and will give you credibility.
10. BECOME PART OF YOUR CUSTOMERS LIFE –regularly engaging with your customer will help you understand them . Ask for feedback on products; send surveys with incentives to complete. Some brands do this by organising live streaming event on Instagram or forums on platforms such as Discord & WhatsApp is being increasingly used to communicate with customers.
There’s no doubt that building a brand takes time (and some money), but if you put the effort in, and always keep your customer in the forefront, it will reap rewards.
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By Alison Lewy MBE