By Kelley Briggs
In my DesignWorks NY blog post on January 18, 2012, I wrote about the elements of a brand – how a brand is not just a logo but ALL the ingredients that make up your company’s “secret recipe”. Once you have developed your brand, the next step is connection. Do all the pieces connect to tell a story? Do they relate? I can’t tell you how often I am called into a small- or mid-sized business for an assignment only to find their web site looks and sounds completely different than their brochure, than their Facebook page, and so on. That fragmentation confuses customers, because they aren’t quite sure WHO the real company is! More often than not this is because there is no brand strategy in place — everyone involved is doing what (s)he thinks the brand stands for.
The technical term for this is “brand disconnect”. But the more important thing to know is that it alienates customers. When a customer has an expectation of the experience (s)he will have with your company, and their actual experience doesn’t “match up,” it spells trouble. What steps can you take to ensure a strong brand connection?
B Be Brave. It takes confidence and courage to fully define a brand, and then to live, breathe and own it. Do it. Be brave, take a stand on who and what you are, and then maintain that “on-brand” message in everything you do. The customers that are right for you will reward you with loyalty.
R Relevancy. Make sure that what you offer is what your customers want and need, right now, AND looking down the road. Continually reassess what you offer, and stack that up against what they are seeking. Remember: it’s not about what YOU provide, it’s about what THEY are looking for. Satisfy that need, and you’ll have one satisfied customer.
A Adjust. You can’t treat every customer the same. Learn the differences in each type of customer you have— for example, if they prefer to get communication via regular mail rather than email — and accommodate. They’ll feel good that you understand their needs, and will return to you next time they need to make a purchase because of it.
N Nurture. A strong brand is an outcome of a nurtured relationship. Respond promptly, share and communicate with your customers, and it will reap big rewards.
D Differentiate. Make sure your brand stands for something different than your competition. Uncover and understand your uniqueness, and leverage those points. Finding and maintaining your points of differentiation is key in making a solid brand connection.