Category Archives: Branding

5 Actions that Build Brand Trust

Today’s tech-savvy consumer doesn’t buy from just anyone. With all the options out there and the ease with which one can compare prices, read reviews and study up on brands, there’s no need to settle for a less-than-ideal brand anymore.

Customers can have their cake and eat it, too.

It’s this stone-cold buying approach that makes brand trust even more crucial than it has been in years past. As a brand, trust is what can put you above a competitor in a customer’s eye – even if your price points are higher or your products are a little bit different. It’s also what can keep a buyer coming back for more, time and time again.

Do you know how to build brand trust? Here are 5 actions that do it every time:

Providing value

Today’s consumer is wise. They don’t want their time wasted, and they know full well there are other brands that can give them what they need if you can’t deliver. Want to keep them around? Give them value at every touchpoint. Stop using your blog to promote your latest sale, but instead show your buyers how to style the clothes they buy from you or install the software you sold them. Forget flooding their inboxes with ads and spam, and send them rewards money or coupon codes. Deliver something useful to your customers, and they’ll repay you with repeat purchases and brand advocacy in spades.

Going live

Nothing is more transparent or authentic than a real, live interaction with someone. That can mean showing up to a trade show, answering phone calls or even using Facebook to live-stream some behind-the-scenes footage of your brand at work. Show customers you’re real, you’re here, and you’re part of their world.

Being authentic

If you want people to trust your brand, you have to build it up as a friend or confidant for your audience – and that means breaking down those corporate walls and getting a little more “real” with customers. Now that doesn’t you should mean forgo the copyediting before posting a Tweet, but be a little freer when communicating with your audience. Don’t always pump your latest product or shove sales jargon down their throats. Speak to them like you would a peer, and they’ll do the same for you.

Showing outside evidence

Telling customers you’re great is one thing, but other people doing it? That speaks volumes more. Build up a network of strong brand advocates and ambassadors who will tout your brand in their circles. Solicit reviews on Google, Yelp and other review sites. Give rewards for those who provide you testimonials, and share Facebook reviews and satisfied customer Tweets to show off the real, authentic feedback you’re getting from buyers. Let their words do the work for you.

Asking for feedback

Everyone wants their voice to be heard – even happy, satisfied customers. Make an effort to reach out to customers new and old, and get their feedback on how you’re doing and what you could do better. Poll followers on Facebook and Twitter, send out email surveys or gather customer focus groups to solicit their thoughts. You want them to trust you? Let them tell you how to make that happen.

Earning their trust

Brand trust doesn’t come easily. You have to earn it. Want more advice on how to do that? Let Haley Brand Intelligence guide the way.

 

 

 

5 Steps to Building an Effective Brand

Your brand isn’t just the products you sell or the services you provide. It’s not even your name, your logo or your motto.

Your brand is your company’s personality – how you make customers feel and how you’re perceived as an entity.

It’s an intangible thing that can’t put in a box or even really defined. It means something different for each and every business out there, and if you want to see success as a company, it’s something you should work to hone, build and grow at every turn.

Does your company have a unique brand, or are you just a business that sells products? If you’re the latter, consider taking these six easy steps, and start building your brand today:

  1. Determine what makes you different. What are your brand’s strengths and weaknesses? What makes you stand out from your competitors? Sure, you might sell the same products as them, but do you offer anything that they don’t? Maybe you sell your products online? Or maybe you have better, more comprehensive customer service than them? Whatever it is that differentiates you – no matter how small – use that to define your brand and create a company message to share with the world.
  2. Find the right niche. You’ve heard that old saying about a “big fish in a small pond,” right? Well, that’s what finding a niche is. It means instead of promoting your brand to the entire world and competing with millions of other businesses out there, you instead choose to focus on a small, more tight-knit group of consumers – ones who are more likely to become leads or paying customers, either because of their interests, demographics or another factor. Determining a niche for your business allows you to cut down on the competition and reach more viable, ready-to-buy customers, and it can make a huge difference on your bottomline in the long run.
  3. Be consistent. Once you’ve honed in on your brand – what makes you different and what message you want to convey to the world – be sure that comes through in every other area of your business. It should be heard in your website copy, in your press releases and in your blog, and you should even follow suit in social media and with imagery, logos and graphics. If it doesn’t fit in with your overall message and brand, then step back, re-strategize and try again. You don’t ever want to get confused for your competitors, so always focus on what you do best and the overarching message you’re trying to convey.
  4. Reach your customers on a personal level. Nothing grows a brand more than word-of-mouth marketing – customers sharing their experiences with others, recommending a business to friends and loved ones, and just touting their favorite brands and companies around the water cooler. If you want your customers to help grow your brand, you need to reach them on a personal level and speak to them emotionally. Don’t touch base only when you have a new product or are hurting for sales. Instead, make them feel like valuable, integral players in your company’s success. Answer their questions on social media, make customer service and support a priority, and always go the extra mile to show them that your brand cares.
  5. Measure and reflect. Every once in a while, take a step back and measure the results of your branding efforts. Survey past customers, as well as random participants, and get feedback on your marketing efforts, your website, your social media strategies and more. Use metrics and analytics to see how successful your efforts have been at growing your brand, and if things aren’t trending the way you like, use this time to sit down and make some changes. Though you may not always see the results you were looking for when measuring, it will always provide you with valuable insight to grow and expand your brand even further.

Take a minute to consider your business. Do you have a recognizable brand? One that people can get behind, emotionally connect with and feel a part of? Or do you simply provide products and services? Building a brand may take more work, but the investment will more than pay off in the end. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today to learn more about branding and how it can help you improve your company’s performance in the long run.

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. Got questions about your strategy? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

 

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.

 

How to Increase Customer Loyalty Through Your Branding

brand ambassadors

Good branding doesn’t just help increase leads and bring in new customers. In fact, it’s actually best at improving the loyalty of existing customers who already know about your brand, have bought from you and have used your services.

Now I know that doesn’t sound as exciting … the same old customers? Don’t you want new ones to improve your profits?

Actually, there’s a lot more money to be gained from a passionate, loyal following than just a bunch of newbies. For one, they’ll buy from you again and again – that means no advertising costs, no sales pitches, and no added expenses. Just regular income from them month after month or year after year.

They’ll also become your biggest brand ambassadors. Without any payment, they’ll start shouting your name from the rooftops, getting their friends and colleagues to love your brand too. You can’t get much better than that!

So how do you make this happen? How do you increase loyalty with existing customers simply through your branding? Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Give them an experience. Your customers should experience more than just an exchange of money and goods. Make their experience memorable. Make it easy, fun, helpful, valuable and anything else you can. Get everyone from your sales team to your customer service specialists on board, and create a consistent level of care and service that customers can learn to love and rely on.
  2. Make a human connection. Sure the web makes everything easier, but there’s something to be said for human connection, too, and don’t forget that. Whenever possible, add personal touches to your customer experience to make buyers feel more at home. Reach out with a personalized thank-you email, call them up and make sure their purchase is up to par, or check in a month later to see if there’s anything you can help with.
  3. Get to know your customers. Take time to find out what your customers like and don’t like, need and don’t need. Then use that information to tailor your brand exactly to them. Add them to an email list specifically aimed at buyers in a certain sphere or positions in a company. Direct them to landing pages that address the unique challenges they’re going through. Use their first name when they call for customer service or email your team for help. Make them feel like a part of your branding – not a victim of it.

What has your branding done for you? If it’s not encouraging repeat business or turning customers into outright brand ambassadors, you’re doing something wrong. Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today to learn more.

How to Traverse Today’s Changing Marketing Landscape

marketing

Marketing tactics are more diverse than ever. Hyper-targeted and interactive, nearly every method connects directly with the consumers, allowing them to be just one step away from a purchase.

Unlike the days of yore, marketers no longer have a clearly defined role. They don’t just simply create an ad, post it in some predetermined space and wait for consumers to inevitably see it. They have to work for it. They have to seek out customers. They have to find the target buyers and reach them directly.

This can make marketing anything incredibly difficult – whether you sell shoes, software or some sort of service. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain.

Are you trying to traverse today’s unsteady marketing landscape? Not sure what to pour your money into? Here’s what to do:

  • Power up with data. Learn as much as you can about your customers – their buying habits, their interests and finances, and more. Use this data to segment your efforts into the most granular level you can. You want to deliver a message that is targeted as much as possible, so you really speak to each customer’s individual needs and wants.
  • Forget keeping your marketing department in silos. Your web team shouldn’t be working separately from your print folks or your cold-calling sales reps. Integrate all your marketing efforts and interweave your digital and physical strategies. They should work together and play off each other, not operate in isolation.
  • Test and learn. No matter how much research you do, sometimes marketing efforts just don’t work – or they don’t work as well as you’d hoped. Set up A/B test versions of all your campaigns, so you can more easily spot what works and what doesn’t. Keep tweaking until you find a strategy that really resonates with your target audience.
  • Get creative with content. Not all marketing has to be done with ad dollars. Use content to attract new customers and sell more products. Social media offers a great platform for this, as does a blog. Developing relationships with journalists and media members can also help.

Are you finding today’s marketing options just a little overwhelming? Don’t throw your money blindly at every new strategy that’s out there. Let Haley Brand’s marketing experts help you determine the absolute best path to success for your business. Contact us today to get started.

 

3 Steps to Unlocking Your Brand’s Potential Today

unlock

Want to be a Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola or Apple? A megalith of a brand known all over the world?

Unfortunately, every brand is different, and there’s no hard-and-fast solution that will make one a success over the other. In fact, some even become successes out of pure, sheer luck!

But that doesn’t mean you can only sit there and cross your fingers. While there might not be a secret sauce that can get you from $1 to $1 million in profits in a year, there is, however, a series of steps you can take that can point you in the right direction.

Want to unlock your brand’s potential and get on the right path to success? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Evaluate where your brand is and how far it’s come. Before you can move forward, you first have to know where you are and where you’re headed. On the journey from point A to point B, how far are you? Halfway? Two-thirds of the way? Just getting started? What would be the ultimate measure of success? You should also take a look at how far you’ve come since the beginning. What successes have you experienced? What caused those successes and how can you emulate them again?
  2. Create a path (for all areas of your business) to get you there. Once you’ve determined your marker of success, it’s time to create a roadmap of sorts – directions on how you’ll get there and who will be a part of the journey. Sit down with key members of every department and map out how each area of the business can help drive home your branding and further your company’s goals. Get down to the nitty-gritty details and assign specific tasks, deliverables and responsibilities to all involved and create a timeline. You want the entire company on board – from the mail room up to the CEO’s office.
  3. Implement safeguards and processes. Finally, you need to implement a few safeguards that will ensure your success along the way. Put quality control processes in place, assign people to oversee milestones and goals, make sure performance is being tracked, analyzed and acted upon to give you the absolute best results all the time. You need to be sure all the wheels are turning (at the right speed and in tandem) 24-7 to see success.

Need help getting your brand on the pathway to ultimate success? Let Haley Brand Intelligence help. Our branding experts have helped hundreds of companies climb the ladder of success, and we can help your brand too.

The Ultimate Online Branding Checklist

social media

Branding is no longer just the logo and colors you slap on your products or hang from the walls of your trade show booth. While these physical pieces of branding are still very important, they only account for a very small portion of your overall branding strategy.

The bulk of your branding? In today’s world, that’s found online.

It’s your website, your social media accounts and your email campaigns. It’s everything your customers see when they search you on Google or research your products on the web.

So take a minute to look at your online presence. Is it branded properly? What is it saying to your potential customers? Is it selling them on your company or making them run for the hills?

Go through this checklist and make sure your online branding is up to snuff – before it’s too late:

  1. A well-designed, easy-to-navigate website. Your website is going to be your first touchpoint with customers, so make it one to impress. Your site should be sleek, professionally designed and, most importantly, easy to use and navigate. Confusing menus or overly complicated designs are just going to turn users off, so keep it simple and beautiful at every turn.
  2. A well-honed voice. Just like your customer service reps have a voice on the phone, your brand needs to have a voice on the web. It should show off your personality and values as a company, and it should carry over through everything you do – your website, your social posts, your email newsletters and more.
  3. Matching social media accounts. On the web, your brand needs to have consistency so your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social accounts fall right in line with your website. They should share the same logo, have similar design schemes, and the same voice.
  4. Online customer service. The service you deliver is a big part of your branding too. It’s what makes people feel a kinship with your brand – what keeps them coming back for more time and time again. So don’t slap a phone number on your website and call it a day. Invest in online chat functionality, install web contact forms, and make getting in touch with your team a breeze. Don’t forget to also have the right staff in place to manage those contact funnels. You don’t want long queues or angry customers.
  5. Good calls to action. What’s the point of pulling in customers online if they’re not converting in some way? Make sure you have a call to action on every point of contact with a customer on the web – a product to buy, an ebook to download or at the very least a contact form to fill out. The more you interact with a customer, the more chances you have to impress them and draw them in for more business.

Want more help with your online branding? Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today. We’re here to 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.