Brand perception does matter. But what is more important is how you create and position that perception among your customers. Studies have shown that 75% of purchase decisions are based on emotion. The organizations that place value-over-price considerations to win hearts are usually armed with a well-defined, genuinely likeable brand. The benefits of defining your organization’s values, voice, and market placement can include increased profits, and better customer and employee retention. Here are some effective ways to begin defining your organization, or jumpstart your current branding efforts:
1. Be Authentic
A well-branded organization has the ability to be recognized, earn loyalty, and define themselves within their market. However, your efforts to brand your organization won’t get far if they’re not authentic. Don’t try to cast your brand as luxury if you serve price-sensitive customers. Avoid being too “fun” if your ideal customers tend to be more serious. You’ll struggle to deliver the right consistency across platforms if your brand persona is nothing more than a facade.
2. Build From the Inside-Out
Consumers trust their friends and families’ opinions far more than even your owned media assets. That’s why every effort to brand your business should include thought toward building a tribe, who will spread your word organically and with a healthy dose of authenticity.
In Fast Company, Mitch Baranowski recommends starting your branding efforts with the people closest to you, which will most likely be your employees, your existing supporters, and their friends. By building excitement around your message with the people who already know and love your brand, the word will spread much more quickly.
Read more: The Benefits of A Strong Brand Presence and How to Achieve One
3. Define Your Archetype
While the concept of archetypes may have been defined by famed psychologist Carl Jung, the idea is nearly as old as time. Throughout fables and parables, novels and folklore, there are recognizable types of characters that pop up again and again. This tactic’s been used successfully by more major brands than you probably realize. Microsoft is the boy (or girl) next door, while Apple is the visionary. Taco Bell is a jester, while Volvo is something of a caregiver.
While a basic archetype doesn’t need to control your brand’s entire identity, figuring out where you fit into the classic narrative can significantly streamline your process of creating a compelling brand story.
4. Be Relatable
Virtually everyone knows their company should be relatable, but too few understand what that really means. As author Lewis Howes points out, the heart of the issue here is really empathy. The world’s most relatable brands have made it their mission to understand their customers problems, and focus on being the de facto solution. That’s why Nike represents athletic triumph, and Geico represents price-sensitivity. Know your buyer personas, and be their solution.
5. Market to Your Customers
If your current content marketing strategy doesn’t include outreach efforts for your existing customers, you’re losing fabulous potential. Remind your clients who you are, and how you fit into their unique lifestyle, in order to remain both top-of-mind and avoid being forgettable. Strategist Daniel Tay highlights the fact that truly epic brands aren’t built overnight, but more usually over decades with the help of consistent efforts.
6. Be Honest About What You Don’t Do Well
Regardless of what makes your brand unique, your values need to include authenticity, which is enhanced by honesty. Know what your company doesn’t do well, and focus on enhancing your strengths, instead. Successful beauty entrepreneur Ido Leffler says this very tactic is among their biggest successes to date, and it doesn’t end with focusing their marketing communications on their strengths. “When things go bad you have to be honest about the reality and do everything humanly possible to fix it.”
7. Give Back
Even if your organization doesn’t have a non-profit or humanitarian bent, engaging your community in positive and altruistic ways can be an incredible branding action. Whether you choose to donate a portion of your profits or sponsor employee-led volunteer outreach, it’s more than just good PR. Community service can enhance your customer’s perception of your brand, and improve your ability to leverage your employees as brand ambassadors. Studies by RealizedWorth have found that corporate social responsibility programs improve employee engagement and loyalty.
Have you defined your businesses’ unique brand? Share your favorite tips and tactics in the comments!
You NAILED it with this list, Liz! There is no substitution for authenticity and the best part is it’s the MOST affordable element of building a thriving brand. When someone told me to stop focusing on my weaknesses and start honing my strengths I had a huge shift in my approach that has garner me more success in the last 6 months than I had spinning my wheels the 2 years prior to that.
Now that I loudly and proudly own my weaknesses I’ve seen a lot more engagement. People have appreciated me fessing up to my flaws and confessing my screw ups. Sometimes we forget, no matter what type of business we run, we are people marketing to people. The more real you are the easier it will be for people to relate to you.
Great list, Liz!