Having a powerful, recognizable brand is more important today than ever before. However, it is not something that "just happens" or that can be achieved overnight. It requires developing a strategy and carefully leveraging the brand in all interactions with potential customers. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell whether a branding strategy is working. The following tips can help you identify the points that can tell you whether your branding strategy is effective or whether you need to fine-tune your efforts.
- Maintain consistency across all channels. The digital age has brought with it a variety of opportunities to engage with your customers in new ways. However, you need to maintain a seamless experience and consistent message regardless of the channel that the customer uses to interact with you. This does not mean that you need to repeat the same information. It simply means that you do not ever want to confuse your customers by offering seemingly contradictory information, whether you are conveying your company philosophy or a promotional campaign.
- Know your target customers. Whether you are appealing to current or potential customers, you understand why they behave as they do and what their motivations are when making a purchase. You have identified at least one customer persona that defines the people who are most likely to buy your products or services. If you are asked to define or describe your customers, you can do so succinctly and confidently.
- Ensure marketing efforts are tied to the overall company goals. You have the right metrics in place to measure customer engagement as well as your campaign success, and you (and the company's senior managers) can correlate your efforts to a measurable return on investment.
- Use real-time (or at least near real-time) data to monitor your campaigns. Business today moves at an extremely brisk pace. If you are making decisions based on obsolete information, those decisions could be wrong. You need immediate access to data if you are to make mid-course corrections or successfully launch a campaign.
- Know who your advocates are. Influencers and advocates can generate a great deal of attention for your brand, and this attention is of the type that you cannot achieve through paid advertising. You have identified and engaged the right people who have the right following to give your branding efforts a boost. In addition to external advocates, you have internal advocates and employees who are delighted to spread good things about your brand with others, either through word-of-mouth or their social media networks.
- Understand that effective branding is the result of everything that your company does — or does not do. Your company's public image, reputation for quality, customer service, marketing materials, respect for customers' privacy and even the speed at which your website loads can all be factors that influence a consumer's opinion of your brand. They need to trust in the quality of your goods and services as well as the accuracy of any information you convey to them.
Effective branding is much more than making your company name a household word. It is a completely integrated strategy that spans all of your consumer touch points. In an era of ever-increasing (and global) competition, controlling your brand can help you achieve more with fewer resources. Your branding efforts can help you create a more loyal customer base and make it easier for consumers to make the decision to choose your company over the competition.