Brands are a lot like people. Each has its own traits and personality that make it unique. Some brands, like OxiClean are loud and in-your-face. Others, like Target, are hip and fun. No matter what type of brand you have, it’s competing for consumers’ affection with many, many others. Here are three ways to ensure that your brand gets the love it needs to succeed.
American consumers are the savviest on the planet. They know when a brand is sincere and will go elsewhere if it isn’t. Take, for example, the Kellogg’s Rice Krispie square. In 2009 during a flu epidemic, boxes of these tasty treats boasted they could boost children’s immune systems. Of course, the claims hardly held up to scrutiny, and the squares were promptly pulled. And while the brand recovered, consumers were more than skeptical.
Kellogg’s erred by reaching beyond its brand promise to deliver fun snacks for kids. No one expects the brand to fight off sickness or disease – just the hunger that a quick snack can cure. If you’re brand is over-promising, or claiming it’s something it’s not, you’ll quickly erode trust and consumer confidence. So take stock of your brand and what it stands for before you make promises. Then do your best to deliver on them day in and day out. For more examples of brands that over-promised, click here.
Just as you have a circle of friends and acquaintances that understand and like what you’re all about, so does your brand. As the proprietor of your business and brand, your goal is to find these “brand sympathizers” better known as core consumers. Learn all about them and why they like your products. Find out why they’re loyal to your brand instead of others. These are the customers who will sing your praises to others.
You can do this the old-school way by talking to customers when they come in to your shop or restaurant. Or, you can go high-tech by conducting market research or hiring a consultant. The one rule of thumb to remember is not to ignore the research. Are your brand sympathizers blue-collar workers looking for a good burger and beer after work, or white-collar professionals wanting sushi? Understanding this difference allows your brand to stay in alignment with core customers.
Whether your brand is bold and brash or soft and tranquil, make it loveable to consumers by taking care of the details. From your logo to the employees who deliver your products create an identity that is true to your brand and consistent in every area.
If you own a chain of Laundromats, make sure each one has a sign that uses the same fonts and colors. Create ads that look consistent whether they appear online or in a weekly shopper. The more attention you pay to brand design, the more your brand will resonate. It’s why McDonald’s arches are always golden and why the Starbucks mermaid always swims in a sea of green.
Once you’ve nailed the look of your brand, turn your attention inward. Make sure every employee understands the brand promise, and that each area of your business is set up to deliver on it. If you run a law firm that promises an initial consultation with a partner, be prepared to make good on this important promise.
The more you understand and tend to your brand, the more loveable it will become. By following these three important tips, there’s nothing stopping you.