Branding is crucial when it comes to establishing a positive reputation for your business – but just how do you go about ensuring your brand image is the best that it could possibly be? Read on for our top tips.
1) Know what you do – and why you do it
Having a clear business plan is only part of corporate success – identifying how to go about achieving your goals and, most importantly, why you’re even doing what you’re doing is the key to knowing how best to position your brand.
Think about what your products/services are and why you’ve decided to bring them to market. Chances are you’ll hit upon a unique selling point that can be the focus of your brand’s image. Some good examples to consider include Lush and its strong positioning as a provider of natural and ethical toiletries, while Tesco and its ‘Every little helps’ slogan clearly marks out the brand as an entity that wants to help customers save money.
2) Be consistent
The most successful brands in the world are the most recognisable not just because of what they do, but also because they’ve taken great pains to make all of their marketing campaigns consistent with their core message, as well as with those elements that can define a brand in the minds of customers e.g. corporate colours and fonts, slogans, etc. They also keep this branding consistent with the times – see Coca-Cola and the many changes its logo has been through since its beginnings in the late 19th century.
Your marketing department or agency should know exactly how to accurately communicate your brand image through the right design and copy, while the rest of your staff should also be aware that there are requirements to stick to.
3) Be approachable
Positioning yourself as an approachable brand where the staff are always happy and willing to talk to customers is a must, whether you’re a consumer-facing or business-to-business entity. The key to achieving this is by starting with the most basic communications and ensuring they’re fit for purpose.
This could include reviewing your phone and internet services, revising sales scripts so they’re clearer and less pushy, and ensuring contact information is prominent across your website and social media accounts.
Speaking of which, your social media executives should be well-trained when it comes to dealing with other social media users, whether they have a complaint or want to praise one of your products. Social media is becoming increasingly popular as a way to get in touch with brands, so don’t tarnish your brand image with inappropriate communications on this platform.
It may be worth setting up separate accounts/feeds for customer service queries and complaints, leaving your main social media presence to be used for general conversation and marketing – lots of brands do this, including Argos, Nike, BlackBerry and ASOS.
4) Admit when you’ve made a mistake
Knowing when to own up to a mistake and apologize for it can help your brand recover from a potentially harmful situation. Stories abound of companies that have met their PR downfall by failing to acknowledge when something has gone wrong at their end, even after the public and media have turned their attention to the issue at hand.
Your brand is more likely to be respected for its honesty if you step up and say sorry when it’s clear this is what you should do – which can only be a good thing for your brand’s image. Taking action on the back of this to show you can learn from your mistakes is even better. The way in which you apologize can vary, but personal apologies from senior managers seem to be the best strategy.
Amazon’s CEO deeply apologized to customers when the company managed to remotely delete George Orwell’s 1984 from some users’ Kindles, while top executives at Sony and Domino’s filmed video apologies – the former for a hacking incident affecting the PlayStation Network and the latter for some offensive videos uploaded by two of its now ex-employees.
5) Get PR-savvy
Knowing how to deal with the media will support your efforts to create a positive brand image. If you don’t have the experience to do this, make sure you acquire it, whether it’s by hiring the right people, getting some training in place or signing up for the services of a PR agency.
It’s easy to think that PR simply involves churning out a press release every now and then, but there’s much more to it, whatever the size of your business. You will also need to track the success of your release when it comes to media coverage, as well as ensure you use all of the right channels – from print to online.
This article has been brought to you by Topher Davies, an entrepreneur specializes in marketing and sales. After more than two decades building up his own SME, Topher is respected in his field and has seen first-hand the ways to best create and develop a brand, and to use communication as the key to success. More information is available here for ways to improve communications within your firm.
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