You’ve succeeded in developing this mind-blowing innovation and yet the customers don’t seem to appreciate its ingenuity. You had the perfect timing, created catchy campaigns, and tested great with experimental groups. You did everything perfectly, by the book, yet again something seems to be missing. Why is that?
Customers are more than spending machines. Besides knowing what they are buying, they also like to know who they are buying from. And that is where your brand identity steps in. If they associate your brand with positive things and share the same values, they will be more likely to purchase from you. On the other hand, if they find something unappealing about your brand, even the coolest innovation will fall short. They might even choose your competition over you, and go with a more inferior offering.
It takes just 7 seconds to form an opinion about a brand. Creating a favourable impression will ensure a better starting position for you, but it takes more than that to create a strong brand. Paying close attention to every touchpoint of your customers’ journey and making sure that you enhance their experience along the way is the right direction for your brand strategy. Adjusting it and improving it constantly will make you stand out from the crowd, giving your customers additional reasons to choose you. So, instead of risking your innovation not reaching its full potential, take a look at these key points to focus on that will help you ID the gaps and opportunities within your current strategy, improve your competitive edge and assist with building a stronger relationship with your customers.
The sooner you start building the relationship with your customers, the better. Remember, you only have one shot at the 1st impression, so use it wisely. Your customers form an opinion about your brand way before they have made a purchase and/or tried out your product or service. They get their first impression from their first interaction with your brand. It can be by watching any kind of ads you might have, visiting your website, hearing from a friend about your, or being in touch with your customer service. They can also form their opinion based on the impact you might have on the community and the environment. So basically, you have to make sure that all these touchpoints are as flawless as possible.
Make it personal
If possible, try a more personalized approach. Not just by choosing your words wisely, but consider your tone as well. When it comes to communication over the phone, your tone has an 86% impact on your customer, whereas words, only 14%. When it comes to communicating in person, your body language makes the most impact, up to 55%. Improving your customer service and focusing on a more personalised approach will certainly improve your chances of making a good impression.
All the colours of the world
Even the colour of your logo can affect the first impression. From ancient times to modern psychology, colours seem to affect our feelings. From boosting positive feelings to causing anxiety. They in a way represent the mood and the statement of your brand, and your customers as well. They affect indirectly how others perceive us, and how your customers would like to be perceived. If you are an international company, have in mind that different cultures attribute different characteristics and meanings to colours. The colour choice might not seem like such a big deal, but research has shown that the brand colour improves brand recognition up to 80%! So next time you plan on launching a new product and branding it, or simply rebranding your existing brands, you might want to think about this.
Word of mouth
Such an effective tool, yet often overlooked. Your future customers are more likely to trust their friends and family than any number of campaigns you have going on to promote and position your brand. And their word of mouth is stronger than almost any promise and offering you might have. So it is important to make sure that your existing customers are satisfied, otherwise, you will be surprised by the effects of negative word of mouth. Improving the relationship with your existing customers will not only improve the chance of them becoming loyal but also help you in attaining new ones. Loyal customers are also more likely to give you a 2nd chance after a bad experience, up to 89% of them.
Transparency and trust
Around 78% of customers find brand transparency to be a very important factor when choosing a brand. Brand transparency encourages your customers to become more confident in their choice. This further leads to them trusting your brand and becoming loyal customers as well as gaining new leads more easily. For your brand, this translates into business growth and creating value for all stakeholders.
When building trust you must include both your internal and external stakeholders. Not only your customers but your employees, partners and suppliers as well. Employees are more likely to participate and engage if you are leading a transparent business. It also creates a better chance of attracting new talented job seekers and lowering the employee turnover rate. This further leads to a more efficient innovation process and secures the success of future products and services. Your customers will be more open to buying and trying out your new products and/or services.
Customers like to be well informed when making a choice and 70% of them spend extra time obtaining the necessary info. Clear and simple communication from your side will make their job easier and make you their number 1 choice. In terms of statistics, 94% of customers are more likely to become loyal to a transparent brand. Trustworthiness builds a stronger bond between your brand and your customers.
Rather than interrupting, persuading and convincing your customers to buy your product or service, you might consider a less pushy yet effective way. Traditional advertising has surpassed the need of modern-day businesses and in some cases can even become counter-productive. The “what you pay is what you get” math has its own limitations and can be unprofitable.
Once again, building a relationship with your customers is the right way. Knowing and understanding them, their needs, issues and motives will help you create and provide them with the right solution. Instead of traditional ways of gaining their attention, try storytelling. By focusing on the audience, you can create helpful content that will not only provide your customers with the information they need but also make the communication easier and the connection between you stronger.
Choosing the right format for communicating with your customers is up to you. You can always try out different formats and see what works best for you. At the time, Procter and Gamble chose to create soap operas, while Blendtec created videos of blending all kinds of things and posting on YouTube. Another great example of building a relationship through content is of John Deere and their Furrow magazine.
The bottom line is that it should be easy to consume, helpful and fun. And don’t sacrifice quality over quantity! Creating one high-quality content will have more impact than numerous low-quality ones.
What triggers emotions, and how do they affect behaviours and the decision making process? Understanding your customers and their emotions is of great importance for your brand strategy. Emotionally connected customers are more valuable customers for your business. Have in mind that different perspectives trigger different emotions, so there is no one solution to fit all. That is where Big Data and Machine Learning step in and help you create a more personalized approach.
Your brand represents a promise, and with it, a set of values that support it. Your consumers also have a set of values, aspirations and desires, and they tend to connect them to your brand. Pleasure, socioeconomic security, environmental concerns and nostalgia can be some of the reasons for an emotional bond. The better you understand your customers, the stronger and more successful your bond will be.
If you are creating a whole new market with your innovation, put time and effort into creating awareness of the very product or service rather than brand development, because you will likely be the only one. But very soon switch to developing the brand simultaneously. Your job doesn’t end with developing and launching groundbreaking innovations. Creating an effective and successful brand strategy is a difficult task, but in return provides your business with numerous benefits and ensures that your innovation gets the attention it deserves.