5 Ways to Set Your Brand Above the Rest
Brands are numerous and come and go at a rapid pace. Those that truly resonate with their audience are those that stand the test of time, and last through generations of consumers.
Of course, everyone with a brand wants to be like the top-rated brands named in the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. But in order to garner that kind of loyalty from fans, we need the proper tools. In this post, we’ll outline five ways you can create a standout brand that might just make you a household name.
1. Understand the Difference Between Brand Awareness and Brand Equity
Recognition of a brand does not automatically mean revenue for a brand. Think of this traditional method of building brand awareness: the television commercial. At one point, it was the best way to reach the masses, though measuring the actual ROI was difficult.
Today, we have digital marketing, which really helps brands build awareness around all types of issues (think Dove’s Real Beauty campaign). Still, measuring the bottom line gained from these efforts remains tough. In some cases, great brand awareness barely nudges brand equity.
What are the keys to converting brand awareness to brand equity? A couple:
- Realize that driving sentiment does not always drive behavior
- User research, such as Voice of Customer studies, can get insights from real customers at the right time to create strategies that drive revenue
2. Learn How to Make Your Messaging Resonate
Marketers sometimes operate in a bubble and end up using messaging that only resonates with others in that same jargon bubble. This a barrier to the essential brand-consumer connection. So how do you make your brand messaging resonate with your actual target market?
Some things can only be discovered by talking to actual customers, and making changes based on feedback from your target audience. Quantitative and qualitative research can help make the connection by:
- Testing which words have a positive or negative emotional impact. Testing your messaging with a large sample provides you with statistically significant data that you can use to optimize messaging.
- Targeting real customer needs. Stop guessing and start asking – talk to your customers about what their needs are. With qualitative feedback you can better understand their pain points through open-ended comments, by watching their screen recordings as they go through essential tasks on your properties, and by listening to their audio feedback.
3. Use Your Brand to Launch a Meaningful Conversation
It’s important to not only maximize on the important conversations customers are already having, but to also move those conversations forward if you want to stay relevant.
User research is a great way to discover these issues based on the values your target audience has. Returning to the example of the Dove Real Beauty campaign, we saw a brand doing a good job of addressing the issue of female insecurity, then questioning how society defines beauty.
What does it take to become part of meaningful conversations and helping it evolve? Try this:
- Learn about the “pillars” of your consumer’s values by first asking how they’re defined with open-ended questions via qualitative research and testing these with large sample sizes via quantitative research to see how widely held the beliefs are in your target market
- Question long held assumptions, and position your brand as something that challenges them
- Keep the conversation moving forward; don’t beat everyone over the head with the same point
4. Evolve Your Brand to Meet Market Demand
Want to stay relevant over time? Take our advice: Listen to your target market through a Voice of the Customer program. When they tell you what they want, be willing to evolve and reinvent your brand as the market does.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in particular offer a keen insight into changing market demands, and since 84 percent of consumers see word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family as the trustworthiest form of advertising, NPS should be something every brand is paying close attention to. When your customers are less willing to promote you to friends, family and colleagues it might be time to evolve.
Stubbornly clinging to a brand image because it used to work, and not because it is currently working, is inviting your customers to shop elsewhere. A standout brand has to be flexible and listen to their customer base to keep up with their demands and changing expectations, or risk being left behind.
5. Create Brand Loyalty
The holiday shopping season might get tons of attention, and have you strategizing six months in advance, but lasting success takes work all 12 months of the year. True brand loyalty is built during more routine shopping, and then brings customers back when they need holiday gifts.
Some hold a misconception that offering deals and deep discounts will create loyal customers. But if a customer is so driven by low prices, they may not have the means to be a loyal customer all year round.
Brand loyalty requires more than that. Go beyond the discounts and the products themselves to create an experience – both in terms of product quality and what consumers think is important.
Here are a few ways to create an experience and build real loyalty:
- Develop great policies that minimize risk of buying from you
- Ensure the user and customer experience is optimized through routine testing and tweaking
- Offer friendly customer service to build relationships
- Advertise discounts at reasonable times, but in a way that complements loyalty rather than tries to create it
Brands face a lot of competition today. Creating real customer loyalty that stands the test of time is crucial. Understand how your brand fits into the lives of your target market through user research, and position yourself through digital marketing to create a standout brand that sits a head above the rest.