There is a saying that perception is reality. In the business world, this applies to your brand. These perceptions are shaped by more than your logo and color palette. Every interaction, every touchpoint, every product or service experience, and every message shapes your consumers’ perceptions of your brand over time. Your brand identity is formed in the court of public opinion —whether it is carefully crafted and communicated with intention, or it is experienced as a winding collection of transactional moments.
Consumers need to feel a connection and develop a level of trust with a brand before they will part with their hard-earned money. In fact, 81% of consumers said they need to be able to trust the brand to buy from them, according to Edelman. On the flipside, brands which fail to build a connection or differentiate themselves are often relegated to obscurity, resulting in just another no-name product collecting dust at the bottom of the bargain bin.
The best way to ensure you achieve a positive brand perception is to create and implement an effective brand strategy. Although the granular goals of a brand strategy may differ wildly between companies and industries, the overarching objective of your brand should have a unifying thread: to align your team and your customers around a common vision and purpose that will elevate your offering above your competitors’.
Everyone Has a Story to Tell
Creating, nurturing, and protecting a positive brand image is not just about telling your story; it is about knowing your customers and understanding how your brand fits into their lives. 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values, according to NerdWallet. The key to engendering the right perceptions is having a deep and constantly updated understanding of your customers, visitors, and other stakeholders:
- Who is your audience?
- What interests and inspires them?
- What pain points do they need alleviated?
- What causes do they care about?
- What role does your brand play within their world?
- How can you develop a deep and durable relationship with them?
- How do you provide value with each and every interaction?
- How should your customers feel when they interact with you?
Brand strategy consultants ask questions like these and more to understand what makes your offering different, what makes it better in the hearts and minds of your consumers, and how your brand serves a purpose for your customers. Those elements serve as the building blocks for a brand’s purpose, vision, mission and values, which then serve as a launchpad for authentic brand messaging that can connect with your audience on a human level, helping your brand stay top of mind with your consumers.
Rise Above the Fray
Effective brand strategy instills positive associations and emotions that take root at a deeper level than the rivals. Based on an understanding of the audience, brands make promises to solve problems, enhance lives, create value, and uphold a certain standard of quality and responsiveness. Those promises create expectations in the minds of consumers, and consistently meeting and exceeding those expectations leads to sustainable brand growth.
Consistently is the key word here; consistency creates an experience that is essential to building trust and familiarity. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ research shows that experience is everything: 73-percent of consumers cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. As brands repeatedly deliver on promises, trust builds. Brands earn meaningful customer loyalty, find themselves empowered to charge premiums, and — most importantly — increase the overall value for the consumer and for the brand.
Reap the Rewards
A study by Lucidpress found that brands that present themselves consistently generate 33% greater revenue than their rivals. When the brand and customer experience are optimized, consistent, and high-quality, everything else becomes easier: building greater brand awareness through reputation and referral, breaking into new markets, customer acquisition and retention, cross and upselling opportunities, and access to entirely new audience segments.
When a brand is effectively stewarded, it’s not just more valuable, it becomes more resilient to disturbances in the marketplace, better able to recover from external and internal setbacks, and is less likely to suffer defections from its core audience during hard times or during the pains of exponential growth.
How is the marketplace perceiving your brand currently? How would you prefer it to be seen? Gigasavvy is a marketing agency that specializes in helping brands make human connections. Contact us to hear more about how our brand strategy consultants can help you build an authentic brand strategy.