Brand recognition and loyalty can make all the difference when competition is fierce in a saturated market. The article below shares four questions you should ask yourself to ensure your brand is resonating with your target market. CK
Article written by Jennifer Spencer originally appeared in Entrepreneur on June 15, 2020.
Let’s talk about your company’s brand. Is it resonating? How can you know for sure? The importance can’t be understated. Recent statistics show that brands that show up consistently across all mediums see a revenue increase of about 23 percent. Why? Well, some would say that a company’s brand is what makes customers care. If you offer a product or service in a heavily saturated market, the customer can find what you’re selling anywhere. But if you’ve nailed your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you.
That’s if, of course, your brand resonates with them. Statistics also show that 89 percent of customers stay loyal to brands that share their values. The crafting of a brand requires in-depth knowledge of your customer and what matters most to them, which you should know anyway for the development of your product and marketing strategy. How can you take something they care about and make it the epicenter of your company’s purpose? That’s what defines a brand that resonates. Here are four questions you must ask yourself.
1. What does our brand stand for?
We hate to admit it, but sometimes we don’t spend enough time on the details of a brand when we’re bringing the company to market. There’s so much to figure out that the core of the brand itself can get lost. Or you may think that you already determined the brand because you chose a color palette and a general tone for your web copy. But what does your brand really stand for? Have you figured that out yet?
Consider companies who do branding really well. For example, Starbucks has a brand based on community. Oreo has a brand based on togetherness. You see the expression of these brands in their advertisements — it’s something that is easily noticeable, that doesn’t require the actual verbal telling of what their brand is. Does your brand stand for something others can identify?
2. Based on the product selection and website, what would people think our brand stands for?
Regardless of if you know what your brand stands for or not, it’s not going to resonate unless your target audience picks up on your values. Take a step back and take a critical look at your website, digital assets and product selection. What does it look like you stand for? It’s highly advised to also get some outside perspectives. Next time you’re at an event or a networking meetup, show someone your website and ask them what they think the brand is. If they struggle to answer, that’s certainly a problem. And if they say something that isn’t it all what you’re going for, that too is a problem.
It’s possible that you have figured out your brand but haven’t expressed it consistently. Smart Insights noted that “brands that fail to be consistent will also fail to have a consistent performance in the marketplace and in the game of business. You can’t expect your customers to stick around if you’re not always sticking around. They’ll come once, see that you’re not available or no longer what you used to be and represent, and boom, just like that, your brand’s starting to fall into pieces.” Not only does this illuminate the importance of knowing your brand and what it stands for, but is a great reminder that it won’t resonate if it isn’t consistent.
3. Does our brand serve a need?
Apple, as one example, expresses its brand of connecting the world this through commercials and ads showing how they can bring friends and family members together for special moments through their features. That very vividly serves a need.
Chase Norton, an entrepreneur who specializes in crafting brands, notes an interview with Entrepreneur that “the best brands are customer-centric, which means they’re created for the customer around a need that they have. Sure, a product or service solves a problem and a needm but a brand is where something deeper comes in. You may have the best technology to solve the customer’s problem, but does your brand stand for something they care about?”
In Norton’s example, consider a customer who is looking for a technology that will help them edit their photos faster. Perhaps, in this case, the brand would be about expediency — helping people do more of what they love by streamlining their processes. Now that solves a need and is likely to resonate.
4. Could a shift in brand serve this product in a better way?
Take a critical look at what your brand is currently — whether it’s set in stone or still being formed. Then, consider other creative directions it could take. Of course, if your brand is already resonating, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Rather, think through ways that your brand could hit at more of the target audience’s pain points, support them where they need it most and echo what your products stand for and why you started the company.
It may also be an issue in how you’re positioning the brand. If the brand itself is great, how are you showing what it is to customers? How does your website copy explain what you do? What type of marketing campaigns do you run? A holistic approach to your brand is required to really make sure your brand is the best it can be, and is being expressed the best it can.