Amazing products and compassionate customer service are a must for building your company. But be honest with yourself—any business can provide those things. How can you solidify your marketing efforts and develop long-term relationships with customers?
Answer: focus on brand identity.
Branding is truly the glue that pulls all your other efforts together. If you browse Google for a while, you’ll probably noticed the same old brand development suggestions: spend months designing your logo, carefully select your copy tone, encourage online reviews, keep things consistent, and so on. You get the point.
In this blog, we wanted to provide you with some of the best underrated brand strategy tactics. We considered all the little ways customers come into contact with your brand and how you can take control of those interactions.
However small, every interaction is an opportunity to win over hearts and minds. Let’s dive in.
Marketing has drastically changed over the past decade. Websites, social media, videos, blogs, email, digital displays, OTT programming, and other online channels have provided more possibilities than ever for brands to find leads and stay in touch with loyal customers.
But you only have so many hours in the day—and money in the bank—to spend on marketing efforts. Spending considerable time brainstorming brand strategy might be the furthest thing from your mind. But the truth is: your brand identity should come first. Before you even touch your first blog or pen your first email campaign, brand identity should be behind the wheel from the starting line.
94% of consumers say they’re more likely to be loyal to a brand that provides complete transparency. Furthermore, 50% of customers worldwide say that they’ll either reward or penalize a brand with their purchasing choice based on that company’s values. In China, that figure stands at 73%.
The bottom line is that customers aren’t putting up with traditional sales tactics anymore. They want genuine connections with brands. That's why your brand identity will either make or break your presence and overall success in the market.
You’ve heard all of the old brand development tactics before, so we won’t bore you with any of those. Instead, we put together some unique ways to leave a lasting (and positive) impact on your audience and customers.
We’re not talking about colors and graphics here. We’re talking about how easy it is for customers to navigate your website and find the information they need.
You might not think this has much to do with brand identity, but consider the following: How do you feel when you visit a brand’s website to learn more about a specific product, but the page loads too slowly because it’s bogged down with huge images? Or when the menu doesn’t load right when viewing on your phone?
These faux pas create a very poor impression on your audience, and they’ll remember it whenever they think about your brand. In fact, design research experts at Nielsen Norman Group say that user experience can be the deciding factor in whether your customers choose your brand over a competitor.
With this tactic, it’s the little things that matter. Scrolling through your Facebook page and simply reacting to comments shows that you’re reading what followers have to say.
Twitter is an excellent platform for communicating with users who share trending hashtags. You don’t need to constantly talk about your company, product, or service all the time. Just focus on having meaningful one-on-one conversations. People will remember this.
Arby’s understands the value of interacting with followers on Twitter with simple replies. They aren’t savage like Wendy’s, but just a few waves and responses can go a long way for brand development when your competitors’ strategies just involve yelling into the internet void.
According to research from Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that recognizes them by name and remembers key pieces of information about them, like past purchases and buying behavior.
With that said, you can’t get inside every customer’s head. And you only have access to so much data. So developing audience personas can help you fill the gap.
Get out your notepad and create a profile for a customer. Be specific as if you’re writing the next great novel. What does she wear? How is her relationship with her parents? Is she struggling to pay rent? Where does she work?
Taking time to study your audience is a crucial part of your brand strategy because it dictates your voice and how you’ll interact with customers.
Developing thought-leadership-style content will help set you apart from others in your industry. This is your long-form chance to use your voice and explain what you have to offer. Take a stance on something, add nuance to the conversation, or say something that inspires thought.
You could do this through:
long-form authority blogs
long-form social media posts
Figure out which type of content your audience reads and meet them halfway.
Vibrams makes unique minimalist shoes for all types of outdoor activity. On their website, the company has devoted an entire landing page to thought leadership on minimalist running. Customers can browse videos, tricks, and tips for making the switch.
Do a quick Google search to see if there are any industry events happening in your area. Could you host a similar but unique event for branding purposes? For global (and busy) audiences, webinars are an excellent idea.
Before getting started, consider what you want to educate people about and which type of people will attend. Lawyers, for example, could host an online “know your rights” event through Facebook Live and answer questions to build brand identity.
For events like this, keep things free and no-strings-attached—even for webinars. No one wants to sit through a webinar assuming you’re just trying to help, when the whole event was actually just a big sales pitch. This will help form a genuine connection with your audience.
Don’t underestimate the power of high-quality graphics. Truth be told, stock photos simply won’t do in many cases.
Hire a professional photographer (or find a college student looking for experience) to take pictures of your team and building for your company’s website and social platforms. High-quality images of your products or services in action is an absolute must.
Remember how we mentioned that transparency is important? Real photos put transparency at the center of your brand strategy.
Imagine the following scenario. You just read a really informative and compassionate long-form blog post about anti-aging from a wellness company. You get to the bottom and their CTA reads “Only 5 of our secret anti-aging cream left in-stock. Order now!”
You’d feel a bit played, right? As if they were just manipulating you through the whole blog. Even if your CTA action isn’t offensive in that sense, failure to maintain consistency can still affect your brand identity.
When you build a brand strategy, carefully merge your CTAs with the same language and voice you use throughout your blog posts, emails, and all other content.
As mentioned above, 50% of global consumers vote with their dollar. They want the brands they support to give back to the community in some way.
Find an NGO you can support and run with it. Consider choosing an organization that meshes well with your overall branding, mission statement, and products. Think about what your customers care about—reach out and ask them through email surveys.
Creating this connection means when people think of your brand, they’ll associate it with something good.
The entire brand strategy of Toms revolves around giving back. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company gives a pair back to someone in need. They’ve successfully merged a very specific cause with their branding.
DoubleTree hotels offer a free cookie when guests check-in. McDonald’s offers a toy with every children’s meal. We associate these companies with these “free” products because they stand out. What can you do differently than anyone else in your industry?
When in doubt, reach out to your audience for answers. How can you improve their day even just a little bit?
You have a lot to consider with brand development. Most marketers won’t have all the resources and time at their disposal to implement all of these tactics tomorrow. Narrow down your efforts by focusing on your ideal audience. What’s important to them? Where do they spend time? Consider areas your brand could quickly or easily improve, then move on from there to develop a long-term brand strategy and make a genuine impact with your audience.