People often confuse brands and businesses which sets them up for the ultimate failure. Building a brand is completely different than building a business. And being able to understand the difference and know how to work it into their strategies can be the key element in a successful brand. We all plan to build and grow our business by using common strategies such as creating a business plan, marketing plans, defining sales goals and creating products or services. But growing a brand is a completely different strategy. And growing the loyalty behind that brand is just a percentage of the work behind it.
When you’re on a mission to build your brand, you’re ideally creating loyalty from your clients and potential clients in order to lock them into your business are recurring clients. Loyalty to a brand is what creates recognition, build expectations and ultimately lead to sales and a strong client database.
So, how exactly do you grow that loyalty and how do you get them to buy into you and your company? The first step is really making sure you have aligned the image you are projecting with the one it is giving back. If you are attracting the wrong kind of customers, getting little traction online or not seeing the results you were expecting, chances are there is something that needs to shift.
Your brand image is very important as it is the first impression of your business. This includes not only your logo, but the kind of images you use on your products, on your website and in your social media. Even how you personally dress, and how you portray yourself online and in public affect the “look” of your business.
The voice your brand carries is extremely important. This is your written or spoken material and words. What do you say about yourself online? What do your reviews say? What does your marketing collateral say? What does the tone convey? Are you upbeat and casual or formal and precise?
Your story can play a huge part in your brand, if used correctly. The life your business takes both online and offline. Do you make yourself out to be the mom and pop shop down the street or are you a large company who portrays yourself as such? Perhaps your story reflects one thing, but you are actually another which is causing confusion for your client or potential customer.
Once these pieces have been aligned you might start looking at ways to grow loyalty. Many times the more transparent your brand becomes towards your business this loyalty will begin to happen naturally. You can, however, take some of the following opportunities to fast track your customers coming back for more.
Have a defined purpose and stick to it. Show your clients the ultimate purpose of your business and be brutally honest about it. If you are in it to make a difference, don’t hide it. If you have a family legacy to hold up, let it shine. Tell people your mission (not just your mission statement) and have your company live by it.
Be Superior and 100% Humble – We don’t want you to buy a one way ticket to Bragtown, but you also have to let it be known that you are the expert in your industry. Talk about what makes your business better than all the rest (Is it quality? Service? Maybe materials?). But always follow it up with a gracious acceptance. At the end of the day you are made a business because of the people who buy from you.
Customer service should be your number one priority. Sometimes a script and a form email seem like the simple way to solve problems. But nine times out of ten if you just listened, and gave valid solutions/resolutions, customers that may have walked away will be HAPPY all over again. Think about companies that you know and love who have superior customer service. Maybe they go out of their way to deliver a phone call or a handwritten note. Pay attention to aspects of great customer service that you like and try implementing it in your own business.
Over deliver and under promise. Things can be out of your control at times, but when at all possible deliver exactly what was promised, on time, no questions asked. Being a reliable resource keeps people around and it also makes them way more likely to share your company as a referral to someone else.
Time Will Tell – Occasionally the only thing left to do is wait. All businesses and brands have a lifecycle and you have to listen to it. Put in the hustle, make strategic decisions, tweak and repeat. You’ve got this!
Ask for Help – It is perfectly acceptable to know when you need help. Sometimes you need a creative person to spice up that about page for you. We’ve got a growing tribe of Creative Entrepreneurs waiting to lend you a hand over in our private community.
It's your business, run and manage it like it's your baby and it belongs to you. Know that everything you do in your business will have everlasting results in your future.
With Love | Nikki xo