December 19, 2015
Ask tough questions about why and how you do business.
Treat your customers like real people by branding your company with likable personality traits.
Prepare for the future by nurturing lasting relationships with your customers.
Market your brand, not just your products.
Branding is an approach to building customer loyalty that starts from the top (you) and permeates throughout your entire company. Eventually, your brand grows to include your loyal customers, too—but we have to put in some work first.
Taking the right approach to branding is crucial, because hiccups in the early stages of this process can take a long time to iron out.
Let’s dive in and explore the mindset you’ll need to get started, plus the basic game plan for building a brand the right way.
Besides making money, I mean.
Really get to the core of your company. Why did you start this business? Who are you trying to help? How do you help them? How else can you reach that goal?
The answers to these questions form the foundation of your brand.
One of Google’s main reasons for existing is to catalog every bit of information in the world and make it accessible to everyone. Southwest Airlines exists to get you from point A to point B with as little stress as possible, and built an identity on not nickle-and-diming customers with hidden fees.
Your core values are there to keep you honest, and consequently those values are going to build customer loyalty.
MailChimp is playful. Cadillac is refined. Nike is makes you want to race a cheetah.
Every successful company chooses a voice and sticks with that voice through all of their marketing and branding attempts—otherwise, your message becomes distorted and uninspired.
Obviously, your voice will owe itself somewhat to your industry—nobody wants to read a depressing blog post about Caribbean vacations.
Ultimately, you decide what your tone should be—casual, formal, sarcastic, hip. Just make sure you can stick to your guns. Your customers don’t want to put up with a bipolar company.
The point is simple:
When you brand your company in a way that reflects real human personality traits and emotions, you win.
It’s simple to sell a service or a product. Selling a company is complicated. Customers flock to businesses who put in just a little more effort than the competition.
Effort might mean a weekly blog covering topics of interest to your customers. It might mean a monthly newsletter summarizing industry news. It could be humorous Twitter account. It could be special insider deals for email subscribers.
Pay attention to comments on your blog. What are people talking about? What drives them? What makes them take the time to respond?
It all depends on your business and your customers. One thing is for certain, though—constantly asking yourself how you can provide more value to your customers is the fast track to business growth.
A quick buck isn’t worth much if you damage relationships with your customers. Once gone, most buyers are gone for good.
Everything your business says and does should reflect your customers’ needs, and work towards two goals—snagging new customers and making your current customers feel like kings.
Long-term relationships can’t be built on a never-ending stream of rehashed ad campaigns anymore. Relationships today are built on trust. Trust is earned by communicating your company values (which should be in line with your potential customers’ values) regularly and consistently.
That’s why deals and elite customer service for your existing base can be far more efficient at growing your business than constantly seeking new buyers.
Marketing, plain and simple, is telling the world all about your brand.
Wait, isn’t marketing about selling stuff?
Yes, in a way. But besides selling a particular service or product, you’re also convincing people to give your brand a chance—and keep coming back for more, again and again.
Communicating your brand requires a hard look at everything we’ve discussed so far:
You also need to take into account which channels will be most effective to broadcast your message—blogging, emails, Facebook—the best options will depend on your message and audience (members of your country club probably don’t use Instagram that much).
After that, you can craft the perfect call to action to fit your brand identity, message and medium.
If you’ve been honest with yourself up until now, that CTA will seem authentic to your customers. Resistance to clicking/subscribing/buying will drop, because your brand is exactly what those people are looking for.
Branding is absolutely crucial for modern companies to thrive.
It’s no longer possible to take the easy way out and build a cult-like following. It’s also much harder to assault the general public with sales messages and rake in cash.
People want to experience something real, and you have an opportunity to give that to them. Become a voice they can relate to, something they can respect and support, something they can share with or recommend to their friends and family.
Build your brand the right way, and your customers will take care of the rest for you.
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