Some companies will often try a shotgun approach to branding, that is, by trying a bunch of different marketing tactics to promote their brand. But is your brand really reaching your customers? More importantly, is it resonating with them so they feel compelled to buy your product or service?
In order to be strategic about marketing your brand, you must first put yourself in your customers’ shoes and map the experience they will have with your brand. This exercise will pinpoint the “touch points” in which you have the best opportunity to connect with customers, and identify the ones that are most relevant to them. Mapping this Brand Experience is as simple as dissecting the following four purchasing behaviors:
1. Pre-Purchase/Brand investigation
Today most customers find companies via the web, so make sure that your online presence is professional and speaks to their needs. If you do a lot of one-on-one or direct marketing, such as tradeshows, then a new booth and small leave-behind brochures might be appropriate. Be sure to consider the frustrations that potential customers might have in contacting your firm—be sure that you include a call to action that is measurable through a different phone number, email address or campaign-specific web landing page.
2. Making a Purchase Decision
Be sure that marketing materials answer any questions that customers may have about your product or service. This might involve the creation of a sales kit or a more professional presentation. Clearly communicate the services, and more importantly, the benefits of your brand over the competition, and help overcome any misconceptions or objections they might have. Knowing customer objections ahead of time is key to establishing credibility and a comfort-level with your brand.
Once the sale is complete, it is easy for companies to “move on” to the next big deal, sometimes leaving customers to wonder why they chose your product or service in the first place. This is the biggest opportunity to reinforce (or tarnish) your brand’s image. Be sure to follow up with consistent service by delivering on what you promise.
4. Building Long-term relationships
Staying at top of mind, even after the successful sale or completion of a project, shows customers you care. Check in every once in a while by developing an eNewsletter that they will receive in their inbox every month or so. Send them note cards when you read about them in the news, or to show them what else you have been working on that may be of interest. If customers use social media such as Facebook. LinkedIn or Twitter (and it makes sense resource- and budget-wise for you to do so), make sure that you have established a presence there as well.
While the tactics listed above may or may not be appropriate for your particular brand, the four steps in the sales process are universal regardless of your product or service. The important thing is to start thinking like your customers in order to build a brand that will connect with them. By creating a truly relevant brand, you will not only be more profitable as a result of your marketing initiatives, you will build brand loyalty as well.
By: Ryan Hembree, Principal | Brand Strategy, Indicia.