Building a successful business goes beyond your products and services. If you want to attract loyal customers, you also have to pay attention to your branding which includes your image, style, mission, and voice. People are often fiercely loyal to the brands they admire, which is why companies such as Nike, Apple, Amazon, and Coca Cola are so dominant in their industries. However, as of recently, small and midsized businesses have begun to dominate their industries all because of their brand strategy.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of branding as well as some guidelines on how you can build brand loyalty.
What is Behind Brand Loyalty?
People are loyal to brands for many reasons. In some cases, they may simply prefer certain products over others. However, there are also deeper psychological principles behind brand loyalty. Research shows that people respond to certain words, colors, images, and other branding elements. There’s also a sense of familiarity and security about patronizing the same businesses year after year. Brands that endure for many years appeal to nostalgia. Adults who enjoyed certain types of breakfast cereals or candy bars as children may continue to buy these products throughout their lives -and introduce them to their own kids. In this way, brand loyalty can be a powerful and long-lasting phenomenon.
What Goes Into a Brand?
A brand is more than just a business. It includes many elements that have a strong impact on people’s responses and behavior. Here are some of the elements that make up a brand.
- Name and logo. People will first notice your business name and logo. These should provide a good introduction to your brand and what it stands for.
- Your style, voice, and design. Two businesses may sell similar products but appeal to different types of customers. Is your brand formal, edgy, vintage, contemporary, or humorous? Your branding strategy reveals these and other aspects of your values. Choose your designs carefully whether they appear on your website, business cards, signage, or anywhere else you make yourself known.
- Where you’re visible. Depending on your goals, type of business, and audience, you’ll focus on certain platforms and marketing strategies.
- Differentiation. What sets you apart from your competitors? You may be cheaper, better, more fun, older, or newer. A key part of branding is to differentiate yourself so your customers find you.
Tips to Build a Strong Brand
Everything you do reflects on your brand. Here are some guidelines to help you build a stronger brand that inspires loyalty among your customers.
Know Your Customers
Your brand strategy must be closely aligned with the needs and preferences of your customers. That’s one reason you need to do market research to understand your audience as much as possible. It’s essential to consider the age, gender, location, budget, and values of your customers when creating your brand strategy. Do you appeal to people who want to save money, express their individuality, or show off their status?
One of the biggest branding challenges is to provide a consistent customer experience over time and across channels and platforms. There will naturally be differences between your messages on your website, physical store (if you have one), Facebook, Twitter, ads, and offline marketing. However, it’s important to maintain your brand’s style and integrity wherever you are active. Coca Cola is a prime example of a company that’s thrived for many decades by staying consistent in its look, flavor, and marketing. Coke’s most notable failure occurred when the company introduced New Coke, which gave customers an unwelcome change that was widely rejected.
Study Your Competition
Since part of establishing your brand’s voice is to differentiate yourself, it’s necessary to know what your competitors are doing. Stay current on who the competition is targeting and what kind of branding strategy they employ. You can take cues from this to see what is and isn’t working for them. You can also identify key areas where you want to set yourself apart.
Keep Searching For Ways to Strengthen Your Brand
If you want to build a business that enjoys long-term success, you have to give plenty of consideration to your branding strategy. Great branding requires you to understand your customers and deliver a consistent experience that meets their expectations. If you need inspiration, study the branding tactics of some of the large companies you admire. Keep in mind that creating and sustaining your brand is an ongoing process that requires constant attention.