Building Your Brand: Make It Count

    By | Small Business

    The importance of your customers’ experience with you, when building a successful business or brand, shouldn’t be underestimated. It has always been important but it is even more important today when consumers can easily share online their good and bad experiences.


    “A brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme.”

    - American Marketing Association


    Building-Your-Brand-Make-It-CountThe ‘Look’ Of Your Brand

    A well-designed logo, catchy tagline or slogan, and a nicely laid out and attractive website are an important part of building your brand. These are the lures (think fishing) that help attract consumers, who may know little about you, to consider doing business with you.

    Lure: anything that attracts, entices, or allures. ]

    Ultimately, the ‘look’ of your brand (your logo, tagline, website, etc.) won’t make your business successful on its own.

    The words and images or outward appearance that represent your business in your marketing and advertising, will help give a personality and face to your business for consumers. And, for this reason, the quality of your outward appearance is important.

    The Value Of Repeated Exposure To Your Brand

    The easier your brand is to identify consistently with a quick look, the more likely it is that repeated exposure to that look will cause consumers to remember you, to feel like they know you. (Think Nike swish!)

    When it comes time for a consumer to decide whether they will deal with you or someone else, name brand recognition becomes an important factor.

    If consumers experience your brand in a positive way, this is helpful for your business. If the experience isn’t positive, this will hurt your business.

    If your website is dated and not mobile-friendly; if your social media profiles are incomplete and inactive; if your marketing materials are poorly put together; all of this says something to consumers about your business when they check you out online, see your advertisements or receive one of your marketing pieces.

    The Key To Your Success (Hint: It’s Not Your Name Or Your Logo)

    That said, world famous brands like Nike, Apple, McDonalds and Coca Cola didn’t become successful because they have amazing logos, taglines or names. In fact, there’s nothing that spectacular about any of their logos – but we all recognize them!

    They became famous for a number of reasons, but at the core their success is based on consumer trust. Consumer trust boils down to taking care of your customers and delivering on your brand promises.

    Their branding and marketing materials told consumers who they were and what they had to offer. Delivering the promised customer experience (products, services, customer service), sealed the deal.

    Your-Brand-Voice-Making-It-Count

    Instantly recognizable, iconic brands

    Your Reputation In The Marketplace

    Marketing plays an important part in creating awareness of your business or brand, and in continuing to build and maintain brand awareness gained.

    For your branding to really work for you, it needs to present your business professionally (however that looks in your particular market) and it needs to be backed up by your reputation in the marketplace. Your reputation will come from how your products and services, and your customer service, are experienced by consumers. Do consumers see their experience with your business as having genuine value, based on your brand’s promises?


     “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” 

    - Dr. Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management


    Marketing Materials & Customer Experience – They Both Matter

    Having great looking marketing materials can lure or attract consumers to take a closer look at your products and services. It may even entice them to do business with you. But it won’t keep them coming back if what is on the inside of your business (your products, your services, your customer service) doesn’t measure up to your promises and their expectations.

    Four areas to pay attention to when building your brand/marketing your business:

    1. What do you say about yourself? – What is your unique brand message? (What do you say and how do you say it in your marketing and advertising – print and online – visual and written?)
    2. Who are you really, and are you living up to who you say you are? – What is the truth about your brand? (What are your products, services and customer service really like? Do your marketing materials, website, social media, physical location reflect favourably on your business or are they poorly done and hurting your image?)
    3. What do those who have dealings with you think and say about you? – What is your reputation in the marketplace? (What do customers and others experience? What do they tell others about your products, services and customer service?)
    4. What do those who don’t know you think and say about you? – What is the impact of your reputation in the marketplace? (What is the impact of word-of-mouth advertising on your business?)

    For your brand to have an impact in your local area and beyond, these areas need to be in alignment.

    A telling sign as to whether you are achieving success in this or not, is whether your staff believe your marketing messages and are committed to your brand promises.


     “A tone of voice is an expression of a company’s values and way of thinking. It cannot be plucked from thin air, created on a whim or entirely based on a trend you think is cool. Rather, it must grow out of who you already are as a company.

    Not who you might be tomorrow, but what you look and sound like today.”

    Harriet Cummings, Distilled


    Consumers are a powerful force in today’s online world.

    In our online world, everything you do, say and are has the potential to impact your brand in powerful ways. ‘Everything’ includes:

    • Your appearance (physical store/offices, quality of graphics, website, marketing materials);
    • Your words (written and spoken);
    • Your ‘tone’ of voice (written and spoken)
    • Your actions (the quality of your products and services, and your customer service)

    These areas make up the personality of your brand and together they help determine what people think and feel about your business. They influence your reputation and, as a result, consumer buying decisions.


    “Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, often referred to as earned advertising, are still the most influential, as 84 percent of global respondents across 58 countries to the Nielsen online survey said this source was the most trustworthy.”

    (Source: Nielsen, Under The Influence: Consumer Trust In Advertising)


    Ultimately, a professionally designed logo, tagline, website and marketing materials, are the icing on the cake when it comes to building your business. But, the cake or real substance of your brand is the customer experience – a combination of the products, services and customer service delivered by your business. You need the two working together (the marketing and the experience) to attract customers and to retain them. (Neither cake or icing are as good on their own!)

    Building a strong brand that resonates with and has influence with your target audience doesn’t happen overnight. But, when the products, services and customer service you deliver live up to and exceed your brand promises and customer expectations, the power of word-of-mouth advertising comes into play.

    And, in a digital world, positive word-0f-mouth advertising is a must for any brand hoping to retain its existing customer base, let alone attract new customers.


     “Companies must pay attention to the fact that customers are getting more educated and have better tools such as the Internet at their disposal to buy with more discrimination. 

    Power has been passing from the manufacturer to the distributor, and now is passing to the customer.  The customer is King.”

    - Dr. Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management


    Original Article.

    This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Building Your Brand: Make It Count

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