There is not a single business owner who does not want to build a successful brand, sell more and boost profits.
However, when sales start to dwindle, they often look internally to pinpoint the problem.
They may blame it on poor customer service or lazy sales departments, or perhaps they look for ways to improve on the products/services themselves.
But the true answer to shrinking conversion rates could actually be external – by means of low brand recognition. According to a report from Red C Marketing, 82% of consumers were more likely to click on a search result from a brand they were familiar with.
Only 16% would choose to select a new brand. Since customers are more likely to trust a business that they are familiar with, building brand awareness should be a primary goal for marketing teams.
The thing about brand awareness is that it is not necessarily founded on past experiences. What is truly important here is the perception that people have about your business based on their interactions and sentiment. There are plenty of ways that companies can build awareness through their marketing efforts, but unfortunately, most come with big price tags.
Businesses will often execute major content or marketing campaigns in order to get their name at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Others will look for specific niches to target to build popularity within these smaller segments.
However, just because you spend lots of your marketing budget on these methods does not guarantee that they are going to work. It can take up to six to eight interactions before a consumer recognizes and begins to consider your brand.
However, there are better ways to make your brand more memorable without breaking your marketing budget.
If you’ve noticed that your sales cycles are starting to slow or that your sales teams are having a hard time generating leads, it could be time to rethink your brand awareness strategy.
Asking yourself these four simple questions can help you re-evaluate your current tactics and find new brand building strategies that will help you establish your brand.
What Phrases Represent Your Brand?
When it comes to brand awareness, many marketers and designers focus heavily on visual elements like a logo, specific font, or a color scheme. Of course, these details are incredibly important – some even estimate that using a trademark color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.
But, it is important that your brand awareness does not just ride on these factors alone. It should ultimately be based on the meaning and feelings behind the aesthetic.
Start by asking yourself (and your consumers in market research) what words come to mind when people think about your brand. It could be descriptive words like fancy, trendy, classic, expensive, or casual. It can also help to identify your brand’s perceived personality, whether it comes off as cool, smart, innovative, or fashionable.
If you find that it is difficult to come up with these descriptive words or your customer’s answers don’t match up, then it may be time to re-define your brand. You may even want to create a visual board of the colors, visuals, fonts, and words that you think best describe the perception that you want of your brand.
Once you’ve established a clearer picture of your company, it is time to find ways to make it more apparent so that your customers will pick up on these descriptions. Pay close attention to the overall aesthetic appearance when it comes to designing your website and optimizing social profiles.
You want to make sure that your branding is cohesive across all channels in order to create a memorable impression. Kate Spade NY does a great job of keeping their brand style consistent. Comparing their website to their Instagram feed, you can see a lot of overlap in terms of the color scheme and theme of their visuals.
Source: Kate Spade NY
Again, you want to make sure that you take things a step beyond just the visual representation of your brand. Memorable slogans and catchy phrases can also help to build awareness and brand associations. Think about what pops in your mind when you hear:
“I’m loving it”
“15 minutes could save you 15% or more”
“What’s in your wallet?”
“Just do it”
Chances are, you instantly knew which brands those slogans were associated with. That’s because those companies have done a great job of capturing their brand into a short but memorable phrase. Make sure that your brand’s slogan communicates to your customers what you do or how it will make them feel – then build it into your marketing.
Do You Really Know Your Audience?
Forgetting the people who buy your products is a huge mistake that could stand in the way of making any progress. Even though your marketing strategies may be on point in terms of their appearance or content keyword inclusion, if you are targeting the wrong customers, then your efforts are going to be futile.
Take a step back and think about the people that make up your target audience.
- What kind of personalities might they have?
- Are they young and fun or a little bit older and wiser?
- Are they looking for the best deal or do they care more about the appearance and perception that comes along with your brand?
Brand personas are a great tool here to transform audience analytical data into something more understandable and relatable. First, be sure that your audience analysis data is up-to-date and use information from multiple sources, such as web traffic analysis, social media data, and market research.
As you start to recognize overlapping patterns, you can start to separate these datasets into generalized personas that will help your marketing team get a better grip on the audience that they need to be connecting with.
How Authentic and Transparent Are You?
Transparency and honesty matter more than ever to customers these days, especially in a time where most are not very trusting towards businesses.
In a report published by Stackla, the majority of consumers across all age groups agreed that they were more likely to choose a brand that was truly genuine and honest. In fact, up to 30% of customers agreed that they would disengage with a brand if its content seemed to be inauthentic.
Overly curated images or content that lacks a genuine quality is a major turn-off to customers. One clear example of the influence that authentic content can have on consumers is a comparison between Victoria’s Secret and Aerie.
Both of these companies sell intimates and swimwear to similar audiences. However, Victoria’s Secret is known for using the world’s most beautiful supermodels to market their clothing. Aerie, on the other hand, uses more diverse models and does not airbrush or Photoshop any of their images.
A report from The Sun UK states that customers found Aerie to be much more realistic and relatable. As a result, their sales increased while Victoria’s Secret’s plummeted
How are you establishing an authentic brand currently, or are you at all? If the majority of your content is being created from stock images or with heavily promotional text, it won’t give your audience a genuine representation of your brand or stick out in their minds.
One of the best ways to ensure that your brand comes off as transparent and real is by incorporating UGC (user-generated content) wherever possible. Customer testimonials and reviews are a great starting place, but make sure that you are using them for more than just on-page content – it’s great to incorporate into your social presence, too.
For example, the shoe company Vans used to just be popular with avid skaters. However, they have been able to re-invent their brand and expand into wider audiences by using UGC on their social media pages. Customers were urged to upload the outfits they wore and the activities they did with the hashtag #MyVans.
Source: Vans Instagram
This helped to show their audience that their stylish sneakers were meant for much more than just skating, making their brand far more relatable to a wider customer base.
How’s Your Customer Experience (CX)?
Great experience with a brand will stick with a customer much more than any advertisement. For instance, many people are willing to pay more for specific brands simply because of the added customer service.
Take airlines for example. All of the airline companies will get you to the same destination, but companies like Southwest and JetBlue stand out because of their superior customer service.
Remember too that the CX is no longer just limited to the experience in your store or even just on your website. Customers interact with brands multiple times before conversion, so each experience needs to be positive and memorable.
One major CX trend at the moment is personalization. In fact, one study found that 80% of consumers agreed that they were far more likely to choose a brand if it offered a personalized experience.
Source: Epsilon Marketing
When customers are treated like an individual, rather than just a number, it makes the experience far more memorable. Furthermore, personalization can be a key competitive advantage that can set your brand apart.
Companies like Care/Of and Curology are capitalizing on the personalization trend by basing their entire product model on customization.
There are plenty of other ways to offer personalization to your audience without having to change up your business or products. One great way is to use interactive content like quizzes and surveys to narrow down product options for a personally curated feed.
Another way is to allow customers to select their preferences for personalized details, such as the rewards they would like to earn or to select the types of promotions that would interest them the most.
Establishing a memorable brand is incredibly important in today’s competitive business environment – where consumers are being offered more options and access to global brands than ever before.
Reflect on the ways that you are currently making your brand stick out.
- Are they really working?
- What areas could use improvement?
The key to successful brand building, recognition, and loyalty is to offer customers something special and unique. Shift your focus and look for ways to meaningfully connect with your audience and offer them a fantastic experience with your brand.
Jaykishan Panchal is the SEO & Content Marketing Manager at E2M Solutions Inc. Implementing cutting edge SEO strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence is his forte. Apart from helping small and big businesses, he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Technology Geeks with his knowledge and expertise of 9 years in the industry