How to Build Loyalty & Excitement Around Your Brand
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.
—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Start-ups and small businesses often stand on the threshold of opportunity in ways that more established businesses may have long forgotten.
While creating a brand and crafting a marketing strategy to complement it may seem daunting at first, business owners do well to consider the challenge as an exciting opportunity to mold or re-evaluate their company to fit their vision.
Develop a laser-like focus on what you do best, and do it with consistency. Create a business model around your mission, and train your employees to embody that vision every day.
This involves much more than simply sending out a memo with a canned mission statement attached. Your mission statement must engender excitement and passion in your employees and your customers. Once passion becomes an intrinsic part of your organization’s culture, excellence will follow. Not to mention: Employee retention will be higher and prospective hires will be of higher caliber.
This will greatly improve your profitability and successfully establish your brand in the marketplace.
For branding to be truly effective, it must connect on an emotional level with its audience of customers or clients.
Marketing guru Seth Godin famously said:
If you can’t state your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a position.
When your customers think about your business, what comes to mind? Clearly defining the strengths of your business and its worth in the minds of clients leads to emotional engagement. When people are emotionally involved with an idea or product, they are more likely to exhibit loyalty toward it.
Charisma makes a premium brand.
Though it can be an elusive concept, a premium brand is one that creates in its clients an ideal which is desirable above and beyond other offerings in the marketplace. Think of it as charisma.
The concept of charisma is hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it. Just as a charismatic person draws others in, so an effective branding strategy draws clients toward a loftier ideal expressed by way of your product or service.
Effective branding strategies encompass good marketing strategies as well.
Does this mean that you need to focus entirely on the perceptions of your clients when crafting marketing strategies? Consider this quote from Henry Ford, a major innovator by any standard:
If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.
To be a true innovator in your field, you must consider not just what your customers might perceive as their wants, but anticipate ways to exceed their expectations by a considerable margin.
Express your company mission in an easily accessible way.
Small business marketing strategies must engage clients on a visceral level. Frank Lloyd Wright once said:
The truth is more important than the facts.
Your marketing strategy must speak to a larger truth, and include not just facts about your products or services. Advertising must be specifically targeted to achieve the desired outcome. Spending time and thought on what your ultimate all-encompassing message is should inform all your advertising efforts. The importance of this from a branding perspective cannot be overstated.
In his groundbreaking book Marketing Management and Administrative Action, Stuart Henderson Britt says:
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
If you would like information about how branding and marketing strategies can be integrated to work synergistically for your growing company, please contact us. As thought leaders in the field, we can work with you to craft a winning, brand-specific strategy for your enterprise.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks via Compfight