Category Archives: Brand Identity

What Makes a Loyal Customer?

brand loyalty

Long-term business success relies on customer loyalty.

Though one-time purchases will certainly put money in your coffers, it’s the customers who buy from your brand time and time again that will really help you reach your financial goals – and beat out your competitors.

But cultivating loyal customers – and their repeat purchases – is easier said than done. In fact, according to recent data from Facebook, there’s a lot that goes into building a long-term customer relationship, and much of it is pretty intangible.

Let’s take a look at what that means for you.

 “Loyalty is Thriving and Rooted in Emotion”

People don’t become long-term, loyal customers with their pocketbook. Sure, they like to save a buck here and there, but to really want to come back for more?

They have to love it.

According to Facebook, people who are loyal to brands “prioritize more emotive and experiential qualities, like trust and service.” That means they don’t just want to get their order fast or get the best deal; they also want to feel like they matter – that the brand they’re doing business with cares about them, prioritizes them and, maybe, even shares some of the same values as them.

So how do you do that?

  • Over-deliver – Don’t just meet the bare minimum when it comes to customer service, communication or shipping. Over-do it. Beat your delivery deadlines. Go above and beyond when contacted with a question or order issue. Provide multiple points of contact to make sure customers have what they need at every step of the way.
  • Focus on the experience – A great product isn’t enough to cement a long-term relationship. A great experience is. Think holistically, and give your customers a good experience from start to finish.
  • Follow-up – Don’t just deliver an order and be done. Follow up, and make sure they were happy with their delivery. Check in, and see if they need anything at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever other holiday. Stay top of mind however you can.
  • Tailor – One-size-fits-all doesn’t work for cultivating loyalty. If you want long-term customers, you need to tailor your messaging at every touchpoint you can. Want parents to frequent your restaurant? Make sure they know about your high chairs. Need Millennials to make your hotel hot? Get social, and post about your community service events on Facebook.

Who’s Loyal?

Any customer can become a loyal one, but there are some subsets that are a bit harder (and easier) to reach.

Millennials, for example, are actually twice as likely as Baby Boomers to want to be brand-loyal. But unfortunately, there are some serious barriers to making that happen. With grocery stores, they’re 2.5 times more likely to consider a store’s hygiene level as a barrier to loyalty, and with restaurants, a lack of healthy options makes them twice as hard to make a loyal customer. They’re also harder to snag loyalty as a hotel, airline and auto insurer.

High-income earners, on the other hand, are actually an easier get. People who have a household income of $150K or more are actually 32 percent more likely to be brand-loyal. Parents are also more likely to be loyal than non-parents – especially in more experiential product lines, like hotels, airlines, etc.

As I mentioned before, if you’re hoping to snag one of these demos as a loyal customer, just make sure you tailor your efforts toward their needs. Do market research and find out what their hurdles are. Customize your marketing copy, ad campaigns, email newsletters and more, and make sure you’re connecting with them on a personal level.

Loyal = Long-term

Brand loyalty is where the money’s at, so if you’re hoping to see long-term success as a business, invest some time and resources into cultivating a loyal customer base. Both your bottom line and your customers will thank you for it.

 

Disruption Interruption: How Your Brand Can Do It

disruption

We’re living in an age of disruption. Companies like Uber and Lyft turned the transportation industry on its head, while artificial intelligence is doing the same for the brick-and-mortar retail world.

It’s a time of change and growth. And the only thing that’s predictable anymore is that nothing is predictable anymore.

For business owners, that can be pretty scary. It basically means that no matter how long a brand has been around, how much business it’s done or how much it’s loved by customers, there’s no longer a guarantee of success.

At any time of any day, someone – or something – could come in a change the game, and all past assumptions go out the window.

So what can you do?

Do you just sit back and wait for the impact? Or is there something you can do today – right now – to help protect your brand for potential disruption?

No matter what industry you’re in, lying down and rolling over for the new guys isn’t the right option. Here’s what you can do to stave off disruptors and protect your business in the age of constant change:

  1. Don’t want disruptions to catch you off guard? Then try to predict them. Put together a team of your most creative, innovative, outside-the-box thinkers, and ask them to simply brainstorm. What are the craziest things that could happen in your industry? What amazing things – if there were no financial, geographical or technical boundaries – would they want to see your company do or produce? Tell them the skies the limit, and see what they come up with. Odds are, even their most far-fetched ideas are already in the pipeline somewhere on the globe.
  2. Tune in. Stay apprised of what your market wants. That includes what they want from you and your products, as well as just what they want in business, love, and life in general. Find new ways to deliver on these desires, and evolve as the market demands. Better yet, evolve before the market demands. Give your customers what they want, before they even know they want it. (Great ways to tune into your customers: social media, surveys, interviews, polls, focus groups, customer think tanks.)s
  3. Disrupt. If you don’t want disruptors to hurt your business, become the disruptor yourself. Be the one who takes your competitors down a notch and catapults your industry to a new level that customers never imagined. Hire innovators and thinkers who can push your products and services to the limits, and never be satisfied with the status quo. Work outside the box, kick conventional ideas to the curb and don’t ascribe to it-worked-before-it-will-work-again model of business. Make constant evolution a mainstay of your organization.

You never know when disruptions will hit, so start taking steps today to protect your brand from potential disruptors in the midst. Need help? Want to be the disruptor in your industry? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

 

The Rules of Brand Continuity – Are You Following Them?

The Rules of Brand Continuity | Haley Brand Intelligence

Continuity is crucial if you want your branding to stick.

No one remembers a brand that changes its logo every year or uses 10 different mottos and slogans depending on the situation. They remember the ones they see, hear and interact with time and time again. The ones that are drilled into their brains on social media, in advertising, online and everywhere else they turn.

But just exposing your branding to people isn’t enough to make it stand out in their minds. You also have to be consistent with what branding you present. It needs to be 100 percent spot-on in every single venue a customer could come in contact with it.

Unfortunately, this is a big area where brands fail. They only follow their branding guidelines sporadically, and the customer sees a mishmash of voices, colors, logos and slogans every which way they look.

Want to make sure your brand is consistent and doing all it can to improve business and long-term customer loyalty? Then make sure you’re following the rules of brand continuity:

  1. Clearly know what your brand is. Before you can consistently present your brand, you first have to know what branding it is you want to present. Invest some serious time and resources into honing in on your ideal brand – what it stands for, what its voice is and what values it delivers to your customers. Create brand guidelines that outline this, as well as more detailed specs like your colors, logos, slogans, etc.
  2. Articulate that brand to everyone onboard. If you really want your branding to be consistent, every single person on your team needs to understand it and know how to pass it on to your customers. Now remember: Passing it on to your customers means something different for every employee and every department. It may take hands-on, specialized training to ensure every team member knows how to properly brand their channels, but invest the time in it and it will definitely pay off in the end.
  3. Have the tools and resources available. Want to make sure everyone is following your branding guidelines? Make them readily available. Have all your logos, fonts and brand standards available on a shared drive or server, and give your employees the tools they need to ensure branding is done right every single time. You can even include brand training in your new employee orientation.
  4. Use checks and balances. Create a system of checks and balances that ensures proper branding is used throughout your organization. Make sure everything that is presented to the public is seen by two, three or maybe even four sets of discerning eyes before it goes live. You don’t want anything to fall through the cracks.

How are you doing with brand continuity at the moment? Are customers getting a continuous, reliable picture of what your company stands for, or is there room for improvement? If there’s work to be done, contact Haley Brand Intelligence today. Our branding experts can lead the way.

How to Give Your Brand a Purpose

brand purpose

In this day and age, having a brand that looks cool is no longer enough. If you’re trying to build up a passionate, fervent following, your company needs to stand for something – to say something and have a purpose.

This is especially true if your target demo is the Millennial. This unique audience is looking for more than just a company with great products. They’re looking for a cause to support. And as a brand, that’s just what you should give them.

But how do you position your brand to do that? How do you give a nonthinking, nonfeeling entity a purpose, values and a voice? Well, it’s certainly not as easy as other aspects of branding are. You can’t just hand it off to a great designer and wait for a killer logo to hit your inbox. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Fortunately, we’ve helped hundreds of brands develop their “purpose” over the years, and we have a few tips that can point you in the right direction. If you want to have a purpose-driven brand with a passionate band of followers, here’s where to start:

  • Know your audience. What do they care about? What issues are important? What do they like, dislike and find important? Your purpose needs to tap into this.
  • Build a purpose around that audience. Forget designing a logo that fits your demo’s likes and dislikes. Instead, focus on building a brand lifestyle and purpose around those factors. Targeting the surfer type? Create a lifestyle around your brand that’s cool, calm and relaxed. Trying to hit up the more formal, professional buyer? Build a brand lifestyle that’s organized, high-tech and forward-thinking. That lifestyle is your purpose. It’s what customers will get behind, believe in and get excited about.
  • Stand up for that lifestyle. Find ways to promote that lifestyle, as well as stand up for issues that matter in that lifestyle. If you’re targeting the surfer type, as in the last example, why not donate X percent of your proceeds to clean up California beaches? Or if you’re targeting the business-type, host an event or tradeshow that can bring together all the vendors and services they might need to be successful. Get creative!
  • Be authentic and consistent. Let your purpose permeate all that you do – and be authentic about it. Work it into your social media, your customer services and even your internal culture. Make it a part of your everyday conversation around the water cooler and with customers. Let it be the driving factor for all that you do.

Does your brand have a purpose? What does it stand for? What lifestyle does it offer your customers? If you’re not sure, it may be time to take a second look at your branding strategy. Want help? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

 

 

 

3 Branding Rules That Are Meant to Be Broken

branding rules

I’m sure you’ve seen tons of blog posts out there about the “rules” of branding. Heck, we’ve probably posted some ourselves over the years!

As much as those rules are important, it’s also crucial you recognize that the rules aren’t all there is. Sure, they’re good principles to go by, especially if you’re new to branding or your company is just starting out.

But like any rule, branding rules are meant to be broken. They don’t all apply to every company and brand, and they certainly don’t work with every type of customer or audience.

The truth is, you really have to get to know your brand, your audience and your goals, and only then can you determine the appropriate way to brand your organization – rules or not.

Let’s take a look at some of the so-called branding “rules” and why maybe, just maybe, they’re meant to be broken:

  1. Be professional. Yes, customers want to know that you’re a resource – a go-to hub for information, services or products they want or need for certain reasons. They want to know you’re an expert – someone they can trust and lean on. But you know what? They also want to know you’re a person – someone just like them, who has feelings, thoughts, dreams and a sense of humor. That’s what will endear you to them and make them feel a part of your brand. So don’t make your branding strategy all about professionalism and business. Develop a brand voice and personality, and show your customers who you really are.
  2. Constantly communicate. Many companies think they need to constantly drive their brand down customers’ throats in order to be effective. In reality, some of the best, most well-known brands don’t do any sort of communicating at all. How often do you see a Google commercial? Are you always getting email newsletters from them or text message promotions? Definitely not. Great branding is more about communicating creatively, effectively and in a way that resonates with your customers. As not all customers are the same, the amount of communication you really need varies depending on your audience. So study them, listen and find the right way to reach your unique customers.
  3. Always provide information. Not every branding effort needs to talk about your products, your services or your benefits. It doesn’t even have to be about your industry or company. Really great branding delivers customers a lifestyle – something they can get behind philosophically and on a day-to-day basis. As such, some of your branding efforts should be aimed at developing this lifestyle – making your customers happy, giving them something to laugh about, or just putting a smile on their face for the day. Maybe that means posting a funny meme on your Facebook, instead of another promo for your upcoming sale. Maybe it means uploading a behind-the-scenes video of your staff having fun at work. Remember, customers want a brand they can feel a part of, so invest time and resources in providing that.

Rules are just a starting point. If you really want to break the mold and stand out as an organization, breaking those rules is sometimes (and often) a necessity. Want your brand to make a splash? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

5 Powerful Brands You Can Learn from

classroom

One of the best ways to learn is to study others who have gone before you, and this is certainly true in branding.

There are millions of brands out there, but only a select few are really, truly successful.

Want to see success like they did? Then it’s time to study the masters.

How did they climb their way to the top? What did they do differently? How can you emulate that? Let’s take a look at some of the world’s best brands now:

  1. Apple From the beginning, Apple has always set out to differentiate itself. Its products never looked like your typical computer (or phone, for that matter), and the company has always been at the cusp of technology – releasing new and unique products before any other brand got to market. From a visual standpoint, Apple has carried this same “uniqueness” through and through. Its simple, white logo has become iconic, and every product released has the same clean, minimalistic touch that just screams “Apple” the second you look at it.
    What can you learn from Apple? That what makes you different makes you special. Call attention to it. Make it your selling point.
  2. Google – Another tech company, Google has become one of the most successful brands in American history. Though it originally started out as a simple search engine, Google now rules the tech world, releasing products, programs and services that help individuals and businesses alike. Their ever-changing logo has become a symbol of knowledge, and the company has now become one of the most reliable resources of information around. They’ve made themselves virtually invaluable to the economy and U.S. business.
    What can you learn from Google? Make yourself a necessity to your customers. Offer them not only products and services, but give them value in return – be a resource for their needs and wants, and you’ll be around for a long time to come.
  3. Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola is one of the longest-standing brands in America. It’s been around for more than a century, and you know why? They’re tuned in to what their customers want. While sure, they’ve expanded their beverage offerings over the years, they’ve stuck to what their audience demands: delicious-tasting soft drinks and sodas.
    What can you learn from Coca-Cola? Stick to what you do best, and do it right. Get to know your customers, and deliver what they want at every turn.
  4. McDonald’s – Though once a simple burger joint in California, McDonald’s is now one of the biggest brands in the world. They serve millions of customers daily, and boast restaurants in more than 100 countries worldwide. The secret to their success? They deliver value. McDonald’s knows there are better burgers out there – but those are expensive, take too long and aren’t as readily available. McDonald’s acts as the antithesis of all those, offering fast, cheap and easy-to-buy burgers on every corner. Sure, the Big Mac may not be the healthiest or tastiest burger in the world, but when you’re in a hurry or short on cash, it’s the most reliable place to get a solid meal.
    What can you learn from McDonald’s? Know what your value is. Do you sell the best part, or the cheapest part? Do you have the best service or the most knowledgeable staff? Hone in on what your customers value most about your brand, and stick to it.
  5. Amazon – Amazon has taken over the world lately. With its Prime offerings, Pantry Box program and even a drone program that can speed up delivery, the brand has become synonymous with convenience. No longer do customers have to brave malls or stores to buy birthday presents, books or even toilet paper. All it takes is a few clicks, a credit card number and you can have just what you need in hours. Though plenty of brands offer fast shipping and delivery, Amazon makes convenience their main selling point – and it’s a formula that’s helped them become one of the most successful brands in the entire world.
    What can you learn from Amazon? Make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Streamline purchasing processes and don’t add a lot of hurdles along the way. The easier and faster they can get what they want, the better.

Want to see success like these brands? Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today. We can help.

 

 

Who Is Your Brand?

brand

A brand isn’t a “what.” It’s a “who.”

It sounds strange, but it’s true. To the outside world, every brand has a voice – a personality with unique values, goals and needs. And it’s those values, goals and needs that help customers determine if a brand is right for them.

Unfortunately, not every brand has its voice and personality finely tuned. This can make it difficult for customers to make a judgment call. What does the brand stand for? Do they value what I value? Can they help me overcome a hurdle or meet my need?

If a customer can’t answer these questions with one brand, they’ll find another brand that’s better tailored to their specific wants and needs.

Do you want to ensure you’re not losing customers due to your branding? Want to make sure customers can glean your company’s values and voice from the get-go? Then make sure you focus on these areas:

  1. Your employees. Your employees control every aspect of your brand. They create the strategies and marketing plans, they design your website and write your brochures, and most importantly they interface with your clients and customers every step of the way. They need to be intimately aware of the branding you want portrayed to the public. They need to feel it, believe in it and get behind it, because in the end, they are your biggest proponents. If they’re passionate about your brand, they’ll make sure others are too, and that can go a long way in business.
  2. Your online presence. In today’s digital world, your website is probably your most important marketing tool. It’s what many customers will see first, before ever going to a store, calling a customer service agent or making a catalog order. Because of this, it needs to be clear and up front about who your brand is and what it stands for. I don’t just mean create a great “about” page, either. Your brand should shine through in your site’s design, all of its copy and imagery, and even in the layout and styling of the pages. These all contribute to your “personality” as a brand.
  3. Your social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media can allow your brand to actually have a “voice” – one that’s not connected to a certain person or face. You can use these platforms to really develop your brand’s personality, with likes and dislikes, a sense of humor and other real, relatable traits that people can grow attached to. Use social media to your advantage, and don’t ever let them fall by the wayside!
  4. Your customer service. Virtually any touchpoint customers have with your employees is a branding opportunity, but your customer service is No. 1. It’s during a customer service interaction where customers can really see what your brand is about. Do they value your money and business? Or do they make you feel like just another sales number? Is your satisfaction important to them? Or would they rather resolve the issue as fast as possible and get you off the phone? Your customer service can either leave people with a bad taste in their mouth or encourage them to go tell all their friends about how wonderful you are. The choice is yours!

Do you know “who” your brand is? Are you showing that brand off to customers in the right ways? If you’re not sure, contact Haley Brand. Our branding experts are here to help.

 

How Corporate Values Impact Your Branding

brand values

Branding is more than your logo or motto. It’s more than your website and brochures. It’s even more than the products and services you offer.

Branding is your image as a whole – the first impression you make, the experience you deliver as a customer weighs the pros and cons, buys a product or uses your customer service, and even the touchpoints that occur via email, mail or at tradeshows long after the sale.

Essentially, it’s your company’s personality.

Sure, choosing a great logo and a cool color scheme that your target demo will like is a good start, but is it the road to sure-fire success? Definitely not. There are many other facets of branding that need to be ironed out before you have a truly viable, poised-for-success organization on your hands.

Most important? Your values – the things your company stands for.

Though most business owners assume customers buy only with their wallets, there’s so much more to it than that. While finances will certainly play a role, consumers also use their hearts to buy. They look for brands that share their same passions – that look out for the environment, value their employees or stand up for human rights.

And that’s where your corporate values come in. You can show customers that you’re not just in it for the money, but you’re also in it to make a difference.

Now, I’m not just saying post a “values statement” on your website and call it a day, but show your customers what you value through your actions.

Donate a portion of your sales to a charity or causes. Hold a food drive. Participate in local walk-a-thons or other events. You could even give away products or services to the less fortunate.

The point is: Show some corporate responsibility. Use your status and power for the greater good, and show your customers that you’re not just a faceless company but an entity that cares about both them and the world at large. You’d be surprised at the difference it can make – in your bottom line and in your community.

Want help with your brand values?

Having trouble identifying your brand values or conveying those to the world? Let us help. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

5 Times Branding Failed – and Why

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Most of our blogs revolve around making your branding great – how to ensure it appeals to your target market, how to translate your branding to your products and services, and how to keep your branding fresh and relevant no matter how long you’ve been around.

But just as important as what TO do in branding? That’d be what NOT to do. So today, we want to take a look through history and talk about some of the biggest branding fails of the past – the times brands went a little too far or tried a little too hard to launch a new product.

Without further ado, here are some of the worst branding mistakes we can remember. Study them, learn from them, and avoid them at all costs!

  1. Cocaine energy drinks – We’ve all heard the tales of Coca-Cola’s early days, when cocaine was actually an ingredient in the drink’s recipe. Well, this isn’t like that. In this case, Cocaine is just the name of an energy drink – one that has the caffeine of more than three Red Bulls. Its makers probably thought giving the product a shocking name would generate some buzz, but their branding ploy came back to haunt them. The FDA said the product was being illegally marketed as an alternative to street drugs, and it was banned from U.S. sale.
  2. 2014’s U2 album release – A few years ago, U2 had the bright idea to forget marketing its new album to existing fans and force the release on millions of unsuspecting Apple product owners instead. Without any notice, 500 million desktops, laptops and iPhones were automatically updated with the rock band’s latest tunes – whether they wanted it or not. While I’m sure there were a few music fans excited about the freebie, it was mostly just an annoyance for Apple owners throughout the world. They then had to delete the music from their accounts, sync their products, and go through a long, tedious process just to get the unwanted music off! It undoubtedly turned many off to U2 for good. (And that’s just about the opposite of what they were going for.)
  3. Breakfast Mates cereal – At one point, Kellogg was looking for ways to make cereal even easier to eat – especially for kids. They launched a new product called Breakfast Mates, which includes cereal, milk and a spoon all in one handy box. Ads showed kids pouring their cereal while parents napped and marketed the product like an easy, one-stop shop for hungry little ones. Unfortunately, those scenarios never became a reality. It turns out, Kellogg didn’t test its packaging, and kids couldn’t get into the cereal, let alone pour themselves a bowl!
  4. Clairol’s Touch of Yogurt Shampoo – Back in the late ’70s, Clairol thought it’d be a great idea to go more “natural,” launching a product called “Touch of Yogurt” shampoo. The product bombed almost instantly. For one, people found the idea of washing hair with yogurt to be just plain gross, and on top of that, a number of buyers made the mistake of thinking the product was edible. They became very ill as a result, and Clairol learned an important lesson: Test your product ideas first!
  5. BenGay aspirin – We’ve all used Ben-Gay before. It has a sharp smell – almost like menthol. It’s not something you’d ever want to ingest, right? Well, Ben-Gay failed to think of that little hold-up when it expanded its brand into the aspirin market, with Ben-Gay Aspirin Analgesic Tablets. As expected, no one was excited by the thought of swallowing Ben-Gay in pill form, and the product failed to take off.

Want to make sure you don’t make a list of branding fails in the future? Then let us help. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today, and we’ll make sure your branding is at the top of its game no matter what.

5 Branding Mistakes You Never Want to Make

branding mistakesYour branding can truly make or break you.

Good branding can be what separates you from your competitors, what makes you stand out in your customers’ minds, and what drives repeat sales, repeat business and long-term relationships.

But bad branding? Well, you may as well just say uncle now, and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, good branding isn’t as easy as just creating a cool logo, deciding on some colors and coming up with a catchy motto – not if you want big results, at least.

It’s about creating a persona – a company with values, beliefs and a distinctive voice that customers can believe in and get behind.

Sadly, few companies are able to actually achieve these well-honed personas. Do you want to ensure yours is one of them? Then take care to avoid these all-too-common branding mistakes.

1. Inconsistency

The key to driving home your branding – to making it stick in a customer’s mind – is consistency on all counts. That means your branding on your website, your social media, your brochures, your business cards, and anything and everything in between needs to match to a T. On top of this, you also want consistency in your voice, so you need your entire organization on the same page too. From marketing and sales personnel to C-level executives, every employee needs to know and understand what your brand stands for, what it values and what persona you’re trying to convey. Only through this will your branding come through in all that you do.

2. Not testing

Testing is the key to success with any business strategy, whether it be marketing-related, web-based or, as we’re talking about now, initial branding (or rebranding) of your company. When creating a new or updated brand persona, you always want to test it with your customers – or a segment of your target demo. Does it meet their needs? How does it resonate with them? What do they like or dislike? With this feedback, you can make strategic changes and edits until you hone in on a brand that’s truly effective and exactly what your clients are looking for

3. Failing to rebrand when it’s time

You might have a killer branding suite now, but in 10 years from now? It will likely be stale, tired and outdated. Every few years, it’s important to take a step back and really evaluate your branding from an outside perspective. Does it still speak to your company’s values and services? Is it still in line with today’s design standards and trends? You always want your branding to look crisp, clean and with the times. The biggest way to turn off a customer is to look out of touch!

4. Blending in

You want your brand to be “with it,” but you don’t want it to so on trend it fades into the background with all the rest. Branding should grab attention, be it through color, design or even just the tag line or unique voice of the company. Customers should be able to recognize right away what your brand is about and what makes you special.

5. Breaking from reality

Whatever your branding says, your company needs to deliver. If you have a fun, playful brand persona, but you sell paper through boring cold calls and fax forms, you’re not meeting your customers’ expectations. In fact, they’re probably going to be pretty disappointed once they do business with you! Your products and services need to match the branding you put out – both in personality and in style.

Have you made any of these branding mistakes? Want to make sure your brand is as effective and powerful as it possibly can be? Our branding pros are here to help. Contact the Haley Brand team today to learn more.