Your brand is your identity. It conveys your values, your value, and is represented through every interaction customers will have with you. Getting it right is essential.
But how do you build up a brand that will last the ages, and delight customers enough that they become ambassadors? Delivering a great product or service is only part of the solution, you need to invest time into planning the strategy that gets you there, and continually evaluating and innovating as consumer expectations change.
Below are a series of questions that you should constantly keep in mind when considering your business.
What makes you you?
You can’t possibly build a brand, or expect a customer to understand what that brand stands for, if you haven’t fully defined what it is internally.
What is the purpose of your company? What sets you apart from your competitors. What are your values, and how do you add value for your customer? Only once you understand that can you start to think about how you communicate that to the wider public.
Who is your audience?
You now know who you are, but who are you now trying to communicate that to? Who is your target audience, and what are their needs, preferences and pain points? Each of these questions need careful consideration as it will all inform your business plan and marketing strategy. If you are targeting the premium high-end audience, your brand needs to reflect that. Equally, when thinking about branding, be mindful of international markets, especially how colours in one market might represent very different values in another.
What experience do you want the customer to have?
This is not just about customer service, although that is a very important thing to keep in mind. The experience extends into every interaction you have with your customer, across all your touch points. How do they interact with your website? What does your social media presence look like? Are you going to offer dedicated phone lines, and how will you train your staff to deal with that? What language will you use? Even small things like offering drinks while people browse if you’re a boutique is part of the experience.
How do you keep innovating?
Just as markets and consumer tastes change, so must your offer to remain competitive and relevant. Where does innovation come from: is it driven from the top, or do you democratise the process? Similarly, how much can you change before you radically alter the DNA of the company. Return to your core values and proposition – do the changes align with that? It’s only right to evolve the company over time, but for your brand to endure it needs to stay true to its foundations.
Are you soliciting feedback?
How do you know what you’re doing right, or wrong, if you aren’t taking feedback? This doesn’t just mean from customers, you should be listening to all stakeholders to understand how your brand is perceived, how it’s performing, and how it can be further polished.
What data do you collect, and how are you using it?
Data is crucial, and just like the qualitative feedback above, you want to be examining your quantitative data to see trends, high performing campaigns, and audience segments. What you look for will depend on the type of business you are, but for instance you might want to understand the average spend per customer is. How does adjusting your pricing, or marketing strategy, impact your customer spend? How does your competition market themselves? What are the key touchpoints for your customers, and are there any aspects of the journey that are under-performing? No matter what your ideal customer profile is, you want their experience to be positive, and using the data to make changes is a great way to show your brand listens to pain points and adapts.