When it comes to brand and identity management today, the most influential people are those “in the trenches”. It wasn’t too far in the past that your customers’ opinion of your brand was largely derived from what they saw on the telly or perhaps heard on the news. Today, what an organization says about itself is only a tiny piece of the brand identity puzzle. And for the most part, the size of the company appears to cause little variance. Anyone connecting via social media can have a major impact on a brand image. Luckily however, you do have some control even in this scenario.
- Customers today value word of mouth more than ever. Your advertising means less than a good endorsement from one of their friends on Facebook. Make sure you give them a reason to say good things to their social network.
- Make it a priority to create a mission statement that is clear and easy to understand by everyone in your organization. If they don’t “get it”, you can’t reasonably expect them to be a champion of your cause..
- Make sure you are giving the same impression with your brand messaging across all media, both online and off.
- Feel free to eavesdrop on what is being said about your brand. This is easy to do in Twitter and Facebook. You can assume past and potential clients are going to talk so listen well and respond appropriately if necessary. Don’t however, feel like you have to refute every negative comment made about your brand. If it’s legitimate, listen and fix the issue.
- On the web today, brand messaging needs to be concise. We rarely have time to wade through tomes of fluff to get to the core of your brand. When you boil it down, what does your brand really stand for?
- Take the time to craft your brand message so that it speaks to the reader in a language they will understand. If you don’t, they may get the impression you either don’t know them or aren’t listening. Either scenario is not a position you want to put your company in.
- Deliver products and services your target audience can get attached to so they will naturally want to be your “ambassador” and maybe even Tweet your virtues. Think Apple here and the way they make their products a “lifestyle”.
- Go beyond price. Consumers today are savvy and are not incapable of focusing on value. Don’t underestimate your audience. Most will be willing to pay the higher price if the perceived value is higher.
Of course you can’t tell your traget market how to think about your brand. Brand identity today is an give and take process so learn from what you hear. But this doesn’t mean you need to change your business plan the second someone gripes about your product or service — you still need to ensure you pursue one course for long enough to find out if it’s effective.