So you’ve got a snazzy, brand new, spankin’ logo. Or maybe you got that email marketing template you always wanted. Or perhaps that new sales folder really pops out at you, and you’re convinced that your customers can’t help but notice. You’re so pleased with all of the new stuff that came out of your branding strategy that you can’t help but be over the moon.
The question is: what do you do now?
The reality is that now your work is really cut out for you. Your branding strategy has to include the fact that you have to market your company or association in a way that’s going to build a relationship with your customers. So while your print materials and your e-mail marketing are fantastic things to introduce your brand to donors or customers, you have to foster that relationship through your corporate actions from there on out.
You can no longer just assume that once someone becomes a customer, they’re going to remain loyal forever. Think of the taxi industry and what happened when Uber started moving in. People will react to competition, especially if they perceive the competition as being a better brand.
The Importance of Referrals
So, as eye popping as a new logo might be, you have to continue to cultivate trust with your customers after a purchase or a donation has been made.
For one thing, people still interact with your product or service after they buy something -- think of the Nike swoosh and what wearing that logo represents to all of the people wearing it. (You know, athleticism and being associated with all of the world-class athletes who endorse Nike.)
For another thing, referrals are driving a lot of business these days.
Let’s go back to Uber. When people started having good experiences with Uber drivers (I can hail them on my smartphone, they show up in a timely fashion, and, hey, they’re way cheaper than a cab!), people talked about the positive experience they had to their friends and family.
That kind of word-of-mouth can make or break a branding strategy. According to a 2016 Nielsen survey, more than 80 percent of respondents said they rely on the recommendation of others when buying any sort of product or service.
While people of certain age groups and income levels rely on referrals more than others, the big takeaway is that referrals are not limited to certain industries. So you don’t have to be an eCommerce app to benefit from positive word of mouth.
Position Your Brand
This all means that if you want people to engage with your brand, and give you a glowing recommendation (and not be embarrassed if they’re wearing a shirt with your logo on it), you’ve got some thinking to do.
This is preferable to do when you’re developing the branding strategy, but you then have to execute those thoughts afterwards in meaningful and tangible ways to your customer. It’s all about your actions post-purchase.
According to a list of points that has been adapted from Serff Creative Group, a US branding and design company, you can build loyalty within your industry if you think about the following in relation to your company’s vision and mission statement:
- How does your products and services solve problems for people in a way that is compelling to them?
- Is your marketing focused? Do you know who your customer really is? Do you target them through your campaigns? (Tip: You may want to also target your best customers within that targeted audience to specific campaigns, while having some campaigns that are open to everyone in your general target audience.)
- Do you set yourself apart from the competition? What value do you have? How can you use your differences to rise above the pack?
- Do you know what the benefits of your company are? Do you have your most valuable aspects of your company as the things that are in the public eye at all times?
As you can see, building your branding strategy starts with knowing the customer, but goes beyond just having a successful, memorable logo that they’d like to display on their chest. You’ve got to know thyself, and then engage people -- if not inspire them.
Think of Nike again. In a post-purchase action, they have a running app where pro athletes offer encouragement so you can meet your goals at the end of your run. That example solidifies the brand or how people react when they see that familiar swoosh and the words “Just Do It!” They think good things.
Why? Because they’ve probably had a great experience with an element of the product offering after they’ve brought the product. (It helps that the shoes are well made to start with.)
There’s a world of stuff to consider beyond just developing shiny new things. Your brand is your actions and how you treat your customers. You have to deliver the promise of your brand in everything you say and do. If you can do that, you’re going beyond what’s in your branding strategy into delivering real-world results.