If you searched the internet right now, you could probably find hundreds of definitions of branding. Whatever spin you choose to put on it, however, your brand ultimately boils down to one objective: aligning what people think about your company with what you want them to think about your company.
Contrary to popular belief, branding isn’t just choosing a color scheme, a logo, or a web design. It’s telling existing and potential customers who you are, what you do, and what your reputation is. IKEA didn’t become one of the biggest companies in the world simply by picking a good logo. They did it by making modern design more accessible to people. In their own words the company asserts what it is known for, “functional home furnishing products” and “prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them”.
Memorable brands have mastered the art of making people feel good about patronizing their stores or websites. Here are four ways smart businesses achieve branding that works:
- Getting customers to interact with your products in unique ways.
Thanks to the rise of big data, it’s easier than ever before for businesses to get information about their customer base. Memorable brands use this information to generate targeted advertising campaigns that appeal to customers on a personal level. A strong understanding of your customer gives businesses the ability to make their message specific, unique, and valuable.
- Making customers feel good.
Virtually every business is in competition with another business that offers the same products or services. Memorable brands stand out by offering their customers not just products but positive experiences. Building a sense of respect, reliability, and friendliness is key. Take Starbucks, for example. They don’t sell the best coffee nor the cheapest, but by focusing on consistency and remembering countless patron’s “usual” orders, Starbucks has managed to make itself a core part of millions of people’s daily routines.
- Staying true to themselves.
Businesses are regularly presented with opportunities to show their customers what they’re made of. Quite often, these opportunities occur when something goes wrong. If your brand is focused on honest business practices, for example, and you find that an internal error has harmed your clients, the only option is to own up to the error, offer an apology, and make restitution. Staying true to your values in such a situation can actually improve business.
- Staying in tune with customer needs.
Engaging in conversation with your customers via social media enables your business to better serve your customer’s evolving needs and shows potential customers that your business is dedicated to customer satisfaction. Amazon has done this very well with @AmazonHelp, a Twitter account that answers customer questions and complaints, often within a matter of minutes.