A brand is a promise made and kept. How to grow and sustain your brand involves a business following through on whatever they have promised to do, e.g., if you say that you will deliver a product in two hours and keep that promise, your brand will be known as the best and customers will be loyal to your brand. The challenge is keeping the promise, isn’t it? The difference between the brand promise and the promise kept is what we call the brand gap.
Tangible and Intangible Aspects
Brand development has two aspects; the tangible (practical) and the intangible (emotional). Many entrepreneurs focus on the tangible aspects of the business; is my product working? What are the functionalities? What about the emotional side?
For example, there is this advertisement of Dettol soap where they say there are three kinds of mum. One mum who worries too much and another mum who is neutral. Then there’s one mom who’s carefree because Dettol soap has helped her clean and keep her son’s clothes clean and germ free. The advertisement has been able to plug into both the emotional and practical traits of the product.
It is important for your brand to have both aspects, practical and emotional. When starting a business, an entrepreneur focuses on business operations, product/content delivery, cash flow, and forget the emotional side of the brand. It is paramount for the entrepreneur to also build the intangible parts of the brand.
A brand is a customer’s gut/good feeling about the value they get from a product or service. If a product or service is good, you can always tell. The same applies to your customers, they can actually tell the difference.
For example, as an entrepreneur, when you are pitching a product and are asked to state the price, avoid giving a discount to the customer before you get to hear their feedback. That affects your brand as the customer starts feeling that you lack confidence in the product. If you look at the best brands, they know their value, and the customer also feels the value of their brand.
Steps To The Gut Feeling
There are four steps to the gut/good feeling:
We tend to say our product or service is good forgetting that it may be good in our eyes but not good in the eyes of the consumer. Many times we build product additions, value, but based on our perception, but not based on customer requirements.
For example, if you are in the hotel business, and you say the reason you are different is because you have a lot of water. That will add value to the hotel, but is it important to the customer? It may not be important to the customer. How are you different in the eyes of the customer?
Differentiation builds favorability. It is human nature to want to try new things. When a new movie is launched or a big brand opens a shop in town, you will find a long queue of customers eager to have a taste of their products or services;
As a business you need to be consistent, let’s say you are an eatery joint, let the food taste the same day in, day out. If you are in the service industry, ensure you deliver within the stipulated time that you have indicated. Inconsistency creates a lot of doubts. Okay, if you’re inconsistent, there will be doubt. If you’re consistent, you will build trust because the client is sure of what they are going to get.
We have businesses with amazing services, but no one knows about them. They struggle for business, yet they have amazing services because they have not created awareness about their services. If you have not created awareness about your business, how can customers know you exist?
Awareness builds familiarity. It means your clients are getting used to hearing about you and knowing about you.
Reputation builds value. Most consultants have no reputation when they begin their coaching and consulting journey, but over time, because of the experience gained as they are given work by different clients, they get to be known to be good at a specific field. This reputation builds value;
If you are rebranding from a previous company, how do you redo the brand and erase previous perception?
- One way is to change the look and the reputation of the individual or the brand. You can clean up your image online, especially with Google; you can petition them to remove some information that is damaging the image of the organization.
- If you rebrand, you need to build trust afresh and also engage the old customers to try your products again, and that could be through trials and freebies. As you know, the saying is if something is free, you are the product.
- You can change the name, have it communicate differently. How to grow and sustain your brand involves winning over the customers that were hurt as you win new clients. Devise a different strategy for the clients that had bad experiences with the company. For the new clients, build new awareness about what your brand is all about.
For example, there was a client who did a rebrand because the initial brand was not good. They launched a new brand, but we added more value. They had to do a whole assessment of what the gap was. What did the customers want more? By offering a higher value in the eyes of the client, the brand took off. When you’re rebranding, it is a good time to look at the whole organization and come up with strategies of improving the way you deliver your products/services. Be careful; don’t get stuck in those colors and stuff. Focus on the value and your customer.
It takes time to grow a brand. To grow and sustain a brand, an organization needs to implement both online and offline activities.