So… you’ve just received your shiny new stationery, proudly displaying your new logo and the address of your brand new website. Now the work really begins.
Unless you have a unique product that everybody wants [and already knows about], then it’s time to get your brand and message out there. Consistent, meaningful online activity, including engaging displays of your own unique thought leadership, as well as conversations with existing customers via social media can be a great place to start. It’s still just one part of what should be a broad and well-considered plan.
A famous sales and leadership teacher once said: “the sale begins once the sale is made”.
Think about it.
In this exciting business age of relationship-building via the convenience of our fingertips thanks to facebook business community pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and the many other permutations of today’s social media landscape, it’s more important than ever to build a genuine relationship between your customers and your brand. After all, the real profit is in the customer relationships and the repeat sales – a far savvier use of your marketing budget than the constant trawl for new customers. To optimise our potential to do this, it’s crucial that we, as business professionals (whether we are service providers, tradespeople, marketers, consultants…whatever), groom the customer/sale experience well into the product’s maturity/lifecycle.
But how does this relate to a new brand? Simple. A new brand is, at its root, a sale of a product to the brand owner themselves, and, contrary to popular belief in the design industry, we don’t just hand over a shiny, newly designed piece and move on to the next [sale]. Our clients need to be guided through its use, have their hand held, checked in on regularly and given allowance for potential adjustments to be made along the way.
We champion the same process for our clients’ clients. That means that the sale [relationship] with our client only truly begins once the hand-over is complete. For your customers, it should be the same. You can’t expect the product to do all the work. It’s up to you as the brand owner/ambassador/representative/coalface to spread the word about your brand and build relationships that will, in turn, spread the word, exponentially. This will require some investment in time and energy. I’ll use a recent project as an example.
Recently, we created a new brand for a personal training studio and have launched them into the market with a visual identity, a shopfront, an online presence and a strategy for using these tools to grow their business. The key word here is ‘using’. These tools are not simply ‘set and forget’. They need to be used regularly in order to grow the business – all part of a carefully considered marketing strategy. A new logo on a business card just won’t cut it alone. The real power is in what happens behind that logo – who it touches and how.
Every customer experience matters, and the good – and even bad – are great fuel growth when woven into a community of supporters of what you do. When your brand is part of their community, it can become part of their friends’ communities, too. Social media can be a great platform for hosting and nurturing these communities, as long as they are nurtured. No point establishing a blog or social media presence then letting it sit there, untended, like some forgotten indoor plant. It won’t survive.
Nurturing community was our suggestion for our client – synergy64. As accomplished and well-connected personal trainers, they are their brand. What better way to build their brand, then, to build a community around them and their clients – the raving fans. Of course, this takes time, effort and persistence in order to see quality results. A great product and an excellent customer experience will add fuel to the ‘conversation’ fire and hence expedite the process.
Here’s a few ideas that could help.
- Create an exceptional experience for your clients and give them a soapbox upon which to rave about you. 90% of customers trust recommendations and 37% of prospective buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth.1
- Write about your expertise. Share it with the world via your clients and your online presence and become known as a leader in your field. 10-25% of social media users use their social networks to make purchasing decisions1.
- Create videos about what you do and post them on your website, then broadcast them via social media. In the US alone, the average person consumes 19 hours of video per month and 52% of consumers do so because they feel more confident about their purchasing decisions2.
- Capture the foot traffic. If you have a shopfront, brand it and stick an A-frame out the front so that passers-by know you exist. Even if you don’t have street frontage, find out if you can promote your business using the footpath, or the roof of your parked car, or a flag….you get the picture. Add a QR code to the mix, with a landing page and a special offer, and see what it does for foot traffic and enquiries. It’s been reported that about 19% of American consumers had scanned a QR code by the end of 20123.
Now it’s over to you. You can do it. Get a plan, get out there and build your brand.