Branding is arguably the most important aspect of your business. More so than the products, or your ratings, reviews, and publicity. A brand makes your company. Even the highest quality product on the market is nothing without a solid brand behind it. It encompasses who you are as well as what you do. It defines your business to the audience and is the medium in which you communicate with them.
Branding is essential, which is why it can be so hard to master. Every element of your business, from the team members you choose to the label you put on the box, is the brand. If it doesn’t resonate with customers, your product simply won’t sell. So, what happens if you get your branding wrong?
Many companies start out with an idea of what they want their company image to be. But, if what the entrepreneur sees doesn’t align with what the customer sees, you have a problem. The right product used with the wrong brand voice can turn a stellar idea into a huge flop. That’s why it is important not only to create a solid brand, but to accept feedback and change when your company needs it.
- Brand voice – The expression and communication of a brand through words, prose, and content that motivates consumers to buy.
Creating a brand voice is a lot more than writing about your company, products, and services. It’s the way you relate to your consumers, and how they perceive your brand on an individual level. The nuances of your brand’s communication style play an important role in how you win a customer’s loyalty and repeat purchases.
Your brand voice has to change as your company does. As you expand to new markets, or as your audience changes its views based on cultural influence, you too have to change. Some brands can successfully modernize or redefine their brand image, but many others make mistakes that cost them the loyalty and trust of their customers.
Here is how you can avoid those mistakes and stay in touch with your audience:
Redefining your target market.
If you’re making a change in your target market (perhaps to reach a younger audience or to expand your reach to a niche demographic), you need to study your market and understand what speaks to them. You cannot make assumptions on how a particular audience will perceive your marketing efforts. Instead, you must ask, learn, and eventually experiment with different communication tactics that prove effective.
When branching out into new territory, you have to ask, “How will this new segment of customers improve my business?” You have to decide whether they are worth the rebranding effort, and if so, how much of your core business are you willing to change to meet their expectations.
Sometimes a business just needs a “fresher” look, whether that be in signage, media assets, or logo design. These elements are easy to change and can improve customer perceptions across the board.
If you want to make a dramatic change in brand identity, you have to do so in small steps. Otherwise you will alienate your existing customers, and likely lose their trust very quickly. What would you think if you were used to a brand’s light-hearted sense of humor and fun, and suddenly they take on a very structured corporate communication style? Would it make sense to you? And would you want to continue doing business with a brand that’s inconsistent?
If you decide to make a change, do so gradually. It’s important that you don’t alienate existing customers while trying to attract new ones.
It’s never a bad idea to take cues from highly successful competitors in your niche. Take a look at different brands, both in your industry and outside, to see what communication styles are used for different audience demographics. When you see what works for others, use it in your own marketing messaging. You don’t want your brand voice to sound generic; however, you also don’t want to go completely against the grain of what your customers are used to from brands like yours. Researching your competitors can also help you generate ideas for marketing campaigns, content, and more.
Test reactions with your existing customers.
Sometimes a change in brand voice does not go over well with your existing audience. While you may want to make a bold shift, some forms of humor, brand values, and other communication do not go over well with all demographics. If you do decide to go in a bold, new direction, do so in incremental steps, and see if there is a change in engagement. Ask for direct feedback from your customers as well.
Brand voice is the most influential part of your company image. If you don’t get it right, you could lose potential business. But, if you have a plan in place, and continually tailor your brand to the needs of your consumers, you’ll receive unique brand loyalty that’s impossible to replace.
For more tips on attracting, nurturing, and selling, purchase a copy of Scale Up Your Profits! here.