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branding concepts

Are you talking all about you, AGAIN?

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

When I look at your website can I tell that you get me? I mean if you really understand my needs, or is it all about you? I am not interested in all about you. The problem with the majority of websites and I dare say most marketing materials, is  that they shows a distinct lack of understanding and insight about two things:
1. The ideal customers that they are trying to attract
2. A way of positioning the value that they offer to that customer group so it is effective.

Maybe this lack of insight  that is resulting in this swell in demand around research, buyer personas, geotargeting, consumer panels, crowd sourcing, social media mapping, branded communities and more.

Larger corporates are leveraging any means possible to provide insight into product development, positioning, sales touch points and refining their brand footprint. As a small business we can take a more immediate and simple approach but it is useful to stay abreast of the technologies used to discover real-time insights.
Some examples of companies in this space are:
Panelportal.com makes it easy for companies to deep dive into what customers think about their brands in real-time using a cutting-edge, socially inspired branded member community website. In real-time you can get feedback from the community on any idea.

Usamp -With 9 million panelists. Usamp combines self-service, mobile ap on demand audience, branded panel.

Gfk.com is a retail research company that has been around for ages but has adapted its research to take in more social media and mobile tools.

So what is the take away for us. Well as a small business ask your customers for their opinions. It might be as simple as having a suggestion tab on your website or doing a yearly survey using wufoo or survey monkey. The direct approach sometimes works well. Is there anything I could be doing to serve you better. Ask for recommendations in LinkedIn and read what they have to say. Do a poll on Facebook. Great a persona of your ideal customers and check it against who you are attracting.

Look at your marketing materials from your customer’s point of you. Are they written to them or more about you? It is not just about your customers but also your employees. Do you ask them for feedback about how they feel about working with you? They often have some good insights for better ways to serve your customers.

Tools

Content Mapping. This Barbara Gago Persona Mapping pdf is a great tool for mapping out your content strategy using the buying cycle and a persona profile template to profile your ideal customer.

Identify your ideal customers: who are those people you serve best and love to work with. Focus on these. This template helps you narrow your focus and allows you to be more purposeful with your marketing strategy.

Key functions of a brand for a small business

By | Branding, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

What is a brand?

The collections of perceptions about your company.

Brand is not just a packaging, tag-line and logo. Brand is every interaction with your customers. The perceptions your customers have about your brand, influences whether they choose you over a competitor.

Brand is more than a logo.

Do you have brand recognition or awareness or just a corporate identity with a logo? Many small businesses spend a lot of time on their logo or website without considering the messaging to the target audience to see if it will resonate and any time promoting their communications. A brand is not just visual, it is behavioral. Are you listening to your customers?

I bought an Apple Mac computer this week. Until then I had a Dell and had been very happy. The support was fantastic, they were proactive with their sales calls and not pushy. Despite enjoying my Dell laptop it did get viruses and I didn’t feel as cool as I might. I even stuck on a Apple logo on my Dell saying to clients ” I want to be an Apple computer”. So you get the picture. So the time had come and I ventured into their Chadstone store.

The store the atmosphere and the branding everywhere made you feel like you were somewhere special. The uniform of the staff being hip and the furniture and layout super cool. Then  I met a salesperson called Clay. He was helpful but not energetic like I imagined a Apple person to be. I felt like I got the right technical advise but the service  left me feeling ripped off. First I asked Clay if there was anything else I needed (perfect up-sell opportunity). I thought at the end of the conversation I had everything only to discover when I got home I didn’t. I didn’t have the extra software I asked for and I didn’t have a mouse which I think is key. What’s more the 1 to 1 registration that we did for extra support in the store had locked me out on my new computer at home. All of this I could live with but then I experienced more dissatisfaction when I went back into the store for the second time in 2 hours. This time Igor told me I had to bring in my old laptop with my new laptop so they could see how long the appointment time would be for support which I then had to book! Holy cow, totally rubbish support and not only that, apparently wrong. I spoke with another salesperson when getting my wireless mouse and he (Chris) said I could book the support/ lesson on line. Come on Apple what is going on? I tell this story because Apple have nailed their physical brand. The logo, tag, store and salespeople appearance, but it all is devalued the moment you experience less than satisfactory customer service. Someone needs to start training these geeks in customer service fast!!! Interesting also is there is no where on the Apple website to make a customer compliant. Not at all promoting the right image in assisting customers.

Brand attributes: for a brand to do its job well it should have the following benefits.

  • Recognition/ awareness: Does the market know you exist? Have you heard of x company?
  • Top of mind awareness: memorised your brand
  • Brand preference: choose you over others, they need what you do.  They like you.
  • Differentiation: they believe you are different to the other choices.

Remember the famous McGraw Hill ad from about 30 years ago? The one with the grumpy, old man saying, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know what you stand for. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”

Brand can help give you sell you service by providing a level of trust and comfort in the eyes of the customer.

What does branding do?

1.Branding – draws clients to you and gives you opportunity to meet face to face with customers.

2.Brands pulls everything together in a cohesive package which gives the your business a visual identity.

3.Brand can make price less of a consideration in the buying cycle.

4.Brands increase sales effectiveness. Brands help generate leads. It makes lead generation programs work better.

5. Brands helps you beat the competition.

6. Brands facilitate repeat purchases as customers prefer to buy from you.

7. Brands attract the best candidates.

8. Brands increase value of a company.

Brands have many long term financial benefits. So as a small business think about brand as more than the physical elements and put as much effort or more into the messaging about what you stand for and delivering the brand promise to your customers.

Insight taken from Professional Service Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr

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