Branding is the process of figuring out who you are and what you stand for, conveying that to your audience, and then maintaining that perception. And it’s hard work! It requires careful management, but those that manage their brands well instantly stand out.
Obviously brand management has changed a fair amount in recent years, in response to changes in consumers and the culture at large. Brand management today includes a mixing of tried and true principles and an ever-evolving adaptation to the age we live in. As you look ahead to the New Year, here are a few reminders for managing your brand successfully in 2015.
1. Experience is everything
From front-end employees and project managers to the nit-picky details of a website, each and every aspect of interacting with a brand plays an important role in how consumers will value their overall experience and relationship with a brand. It’s the small things to a brand that can often be the biggest in the eyes of the consumers, even if they can’t see them.
Looking into a website for example, the intuitiveness of the site’s navigation and structure can either open up new business opportunities for potential customers by enabling them to easily explore the brands offerings or it can cause frustration— making them want to leave after hitting a mental roadblock or two during their visit. To the common eye, it’s something that is not so noticeable when done right, but absolutely noticeable when it is done wrong.
Think about your brand as having an individual relationship with every customer you’re in business with. Each interaction will either positively or negatively influence their perception of your brand whether it is conscious or subconscious, in person or online.
2. Establish your brand before they do
A brand can only reflect what actually exists. So it’s important to clearly define your company’s culture and core values in order to ensure that there is consistency throughout the entire internal structure. Without consistency, customers will have mixed impressions of your business, which ultimately will degrade the overall image.
If distinct ideals are set in stone, employees are able to execute tasks consistently and customers will then know what to expect based off of the reputation you have built for your brand. Employee consistency and cooperation across the map is essential in branding your company; it’s the “how” you deliver your services or products rather than those services or products themselves.
3. Adapt to cultural shifts
Consumers are no longer just buying products or services, they are buying into the brands that they perceive to have a similar set of values and ideals that they do. With people being more socially conscious than ever, both consumers and businesses want to be associated with brands that have a good image because it will ultimately reflect how they will be viewed.
This viewing most often happens on social media, which has its pros and cons and can go down hill pretty quickly. In this era with social media integrated into our everyday lifestyle, brands have to realize that these platforms have the power to enhance or tarnish their reputation in a matter of minutes. They are the grounds where the conversations take place. One post can be liked, then shared, and then seen by millions. With that said, take the time to formulate an appropriate post for your audience and consider what may or may not be an acceptable language on that platform.
4. Maintain your image
People sleep but the Internet doesn’t. Always be on your “A” game by confirming that your website and all of your social platforms are consistently up to par with your brand’s standards. Whether it’s promoting social responsibility or employee culture, stay current and active to have a strong presence. Be responsive to customers’ interactions and stay open to new ideas in order to enhance the customer’s experience. Keep in mind, your brand image isn’t what you think it is, it is what your customers think it is. So work hard to maintain the identity that you have created.
Branding is an investment, not a chore. The energy you put in will eventually pay off. Keep in mind that consumers are consistently looking to the Internet for reviews on products and brands. This means that the audience’s experiences with your brand will matter.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 4 Brand Management Reminders For Success In 2015
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