Let’s say you’re starting a DIY home reno project and you need to buy a bunch of supplies. Which hardware store comes to mind? When you read the words luxury vehicle, what set of wheels pops into your head? If you were craving a mid-afternoon cup of joe, what coffee shop would you hit up for it? Would you go to the same place if you wanted a latte?
Brand loyalty is the holy grail of marketers everywhere, and although a consumer’s brand preferences are influenced by a lot of different things (overall product experience, connection to the brand’s essence, just generally liking the product or business…we could go on) the magic can only happen when a brand is strong enough to stand out from the crowd. The goal in marketing, always, is to make sure your brand is the first to come to mind whenever a consumer is ready to make a purchase – to make it “stick” in the public headspace. If it does, your chances of generating a large following of loyal customers is a whole lot better.
So how do you make your brand stick?
- Create a Marketing Communications Strategy
A solid marketing communications strategy is the roadmap for successful brand building. It is the difference between momentary achievement and enduring success. Without a carefully thought out and thorough strategy, your brand will wander aimlessly without ever taking shape in the marketplace, or in the minds of consumers. A professionally researched and written marketing communications strategy will clearly outline what your brand is all about – its unique value, character, and purpose. It will define your organization’s identity, values, emotional offering and the experience of engaging with your brand. It is the springboard from which all decisions guiding your brand (and your business) should be made, and black and white reference point for consistency going forward.
- Make it Personal
Your sales pitch can be perfect, but unless your brand reaches people on a personal level, it will never be top of mind. There should be a tangible benefit associated with choosing your brand – a promise your brand makes to the customer which they not only can’t overlook, they won’t get it from your competitors either. Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, Johnson’s assures gentleness and peace of mind with their products, and Nike makes us all feel that we can Just Do It. A strong brand promise equates to perceived value in minds of buyers – an essential component in creating “stickiness.”
- Get Graphic
Ever wonder how much the visual identity of a brand affects its success? An executive at Coca-Cola has this to say on the subject:
“If Coca-Cola were to lose all its production related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything visually related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”
The imagery that represents your product or business IS your product or business in the minds of customers. Your visual identity is the entire compilation of colours, fonts, photography, materials and textures that represent your brand in the marketplace, and it hinges on one crucial element: your logo. For a brand to really resonate with customers, it first and foremost needs to be consistent – but the best visual identities in the world are simple, impactful, and memorable too. A great logo does all the heavy lifting in this regard. Let’s take the golden arches, for example. We don’t even have to mention the name of the fast food company they represent for you to know who we’re talking about, now do we?
- Be Original
If you know the “why” of your business – meaning, the reason you went into it in the first place, then you are already well on your way to identifying what makes your company unique. Your story is your difference – it’s your greatest selling tool because it makes your brand distinctive. Of course it’s fine to take notes from other businesses that have a strong brand position, but don’t try to be them. It’s a losing strategy and you’ll get lost in the noise of your competition. Be yourself. Nobody does it better.
Whether you are in the B2B, B2C or non-profit marketplace, brand loyalty is relevant and important to the success of your organization. A strong brand will elevate your business to new heights, and if you need help crafting one, or simply refreshing your existing one, the team at WJ is always ready to partner with you and get strategic. Check out some of our branding work here.