Six key steps to developing a successful brand in a changing economy.
Building or reimagining a brand that will succeed in a changing economy isn’t luck – it’s foresight. Global lockdowns have altered the way we live, communicate, and consume. Branding is important and it’s the good brands that know themselves well enough to roll with the punches and switch their thinking from survive to thrive that will be the ones to lead us through the uncertainty and into a new economy.
The last thing you want to do at times like this is nothing. This is the moment to be getting in touch with your loyal customers, letting them know that you’ll be with them through these strange times and long into the future when the dust has settled. It’s time to find new ways to attract business, create momentum, and keep the conversation going. If there’s ever been a time to clarify who you are and what you’re about so you can stand out from the crowd, that time is now.
Think about the great brands you know. Without its identity, Nike is just another shoe company. Without its attitude, Butch is just another business making comfy undies. Brands with personality and purpose have the right foundations to be able to adapt and survive where others might be lost. The following six steps are key to developing a successful brand in a changing economy.
1. Know your Target Audience.
The most successful companies are invariably the best marketers, and the best marketers always know their target audience before they build a brand. They know how old they are, where they live, how they socialise, and how to re-enact their elaborate, 13-stage, secret handshakes. Well, maybe not that far, but you get the picture. Having the best product is only one part of the challenge. Being able to market what you do is far more profitable than just being able to do what you do. It all starts with knowing your customers. How well do you know yours?
2. Define your Competitors.
Things are changing fast. The way we live and spend our money has suddenly been turned on its head, meaning it’s never been more important to stay ahead of your competitors. Knowing their business well is the first step. Are they dominating the market? If so, why? Study up and make sure that when you communicate, you do it in a way that cuts through the chatter. You might need a new brand strategy, or a different creative approach. Understanding what your competitors are offering gives you something to separate yourself from. With less money to spend, people will be thinking much harder about what they buy. You need to be the brand that comes to mind first. This must be done through strong branding.
3. Find out how you are being perceived.
First step… take a selfie. Every brand should know how its customers perceive them.Why do you do what you do? It’s a big question, but if you don’t know the answer neither will your customers. Whether you are a small or medium size business, get a clear idea of your brand identity and what your brand represents. Then find out if the world sees the same thing. Reach out to them. Talk to the people you’re working with or have worked with in the past. Talk to the people you’re working for and selling to. Ask them what you’re doing well and what could be done better. They are your most valuable critics. As the old saying goes, ‘if you want to know about water, don’t ask the fish.’
4. Confidently position your Brand.
No one believes the guy who walks into the room telling everyone how funny he is. You have to actually be funny. You won’t find an irreverent brand delivering manifesto-style monologues. Or a quirky brand with a monosyllabic footy player as their spokesperson. Everything from your social media approach, PR and advertising down to your in-store customer experience and customer service affects how your target audience sees you. What do you want people to see when they look at your products and service, or pass by your shop window? A big dreamer? A reliable old friend? A new fling? These are the questions you need to ask if you want to play a meaningful role in people’s lives and create the best brand experience for your target audience. Time to behave like the brand you want to be.
5. Establish brand trust.
When life gets chaotic, we turn to the things we know and trust. It might be a family sourdough recipe, our closest friends, or that old pair of sneakers we can’t bear to throw out. The strong brands people love are the ones that bring a sense of normality to their lives. Whether it’s a favourite soap, or brand-new tech toy, consistency is a powerful tool. Your audience needs to know that you’re still here – and you’re still you. Though you may have to change how you reach your customers, or how often, make sure that you’re still speaking in your voice. Build trust through your marketing efforts and they’ll reward you for it.
6. Engage with your customers.
In challenging times empathy and solidarity are more important than ever. This is a time to face the crisis together, side by side with your customers. Keep speaking to them. Let them know you understand how they’re feeling, give them something funny or entertaining to distract them from the constant stream of headlines, or ask them for their input. Your audience’s lives have been turned upside down, so you might need to get creative and find new places to reach them.
We are Brandwell, a Branding Agency we know how crucial branding can be in a crisis. But a hurdle is there to be hurdled. We can help clarify what you and only you can offer people right now. Together we’ll create a brand strategy that’ll have you thriving through these challenging times and far into the future.
Brandwell – Branding Agency Melbourne