A brand’s reputation is golden. It is the culmination of the look and feel of a business, which is why it takes so much to build one. Ultimately, a business cannot control how it is perceived, but it can take decisive steps to help influence and maintain its reputation. That is why we say you can’t buy a good brand, but you can invest in creating one, otherwise, a brand may well cost you - so pay for it wisely. Here’s how...
What makes one brand better than the next? Is it a memorable tagline, a recognisable logo, or a quirky brand personality? The truth is, all of these aspects form part of what a brand is. When you have a stellar brand identity and reputation, your business has earned a favourable spot in the hearts and minds of audiences - a reliable go-to that you can count on in the long term.
So, how do you build that and, importantly, how do you sustain it?
A brand is a business identity. It speaks to all aspects of what the business stands for. This also sets the customer expectations of the brand. That is why customer experience is such an important part of branding. The customer experience, from the awareness stages to the journey along the sales funnel and beyond it in post-purchase times all count in creating that. Every interaction counts.
To achieve this, you need to have a thorough understanding of your customer. By continually developing your buyer personas, you will be able to spot preferences, changes, needs and desires.
When a brand is marketing itself for visibility in the market, for example, consider the message itself - what is the tone like? What visuals are used? Which platforms is it being marketed on and who is it associated with? All of this, along with the core of the business and the specific solution it creates, factors into brand perceptions by audiences.
Speaking about customer engagement, successful brands have historically put their customer first. This means you value their input, even if it’s through a negative review online. In fact, these are key learning areas when it comes to branding, and the way the business responds is also a reflection of the brand. Being available, friendly, and helpful goes a long way across the board when it comes to branding.
The customer is not the only focus for modern-day businesses, however. There is a community-based approach in which the employees are also considered as a top priority. That is to say, the way a business treats its staff matters. Audiences today care about making considered decisions as to who they’re supporting. You’ll get their business if the values are aligned. This, therefore, needs to be communicated - not only with words but through action. Beyond this, how is your business contributing to the community at large? Social responsibility is another top priority.
But, focusing on your staff and treating them well is not only to show face for branding. This is also where Employer Branding comes into play. That is your brand reputation as an employer, which has a serious influence on the talent you are able to attract, and the working environment. This matters as it can boost employee morale and therefore productivity levels, and ultimately create a workforce that is excited and passionate about the brand.
To encourage customer loyalty, a brand needs to concisely deliver on its promises. As you can see, it requires a concerted team effort. The brand needs to have a solid foundation of values that it upholds and those need to be transparent. Good brand perception and brand reputation will earn the trust of the customer and can be a catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing.
All of the above will lead to more interest in your business. That means more leads and more sales.
Let’s consider the customer journey and how this ties in with the brand.
Is the shopping experience seamless? Marketing messaging needs to be integrated and flow across omni-channels. The customer needs to feel valued, have access to everything they need, and be able to reach out for prompt interactions. The process of making a purchase factors in as well - how many options are there? What’s the time involved in getting the delivery? Then what’s the packaging like, and how are they treated post-purchase?
When it comes to maintaining the brand reputation, the business needs to be prepared for unforeseeable threats. Public relations is super important so managing the contacts you have who can help you in sharing messages about your brand are essential. Marketers need to be scanning their environment and have a crisis plan in place to react quickly and effectively. A crisis of this kind may not even be directly to do with the business itself, but an external factor of influence, like a cultural shift. How you adapt and respond in these situations are vital to maintaining a healthy and respected brand.
It’s all about taking proactive steps and showcasing an authoritative stance within the market.
Ask yourself: What is your brand’s perception in the market right now? How does it compare to the other options on the market, and where can you improve?
To answer these questions, you need to take a holistic look at what the brand means to its customers, employees, stakeholders, and the market. Do you have a positive brand reputation? If not, then why and how can you change it? If you do, work towards upholding and building upon that.
Branding - it’s both a tangible and intangible element within the business and one that can set you sailing toward the heights of long-term success when you get it right. In circling back to the title of this article: you will pay for your brand reputation, so be sure to spend wisely for the sake of your reputation. You don't want a bad rep to cost you!
We needn’t get into the dangers and damage that a bad brand reputation can cause a business. The importance of branding cannot be underestimated. That is why it's crucial to uphold yours and continually improve it. If your business needs to rebrand, follow these 6 steps to achieve it.
Ready to put branding first? Nexa is here to help. Book a session with us so we can evaluate your brand and capitalize on the opportunities to enhance it.