Once upon a time, Peter Drucker a Management Consultant said, “Because the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
And while marketing ROI is unarguable, the impact of a business’s brand is much harder to quantify.
Branding isn’t just about getting your target market to ditch your competition and choose you; you need to show prospects that you are the only solution to their problem.
It’s long been proven that a brand has a direct impact on a business’s financial performance. You only need to look at Pepsi as a recent example. Following the release of their latest advertisement and consequent backlash, shares in Pepsi plummeted – proving the power a brand holds.
So, if your brand isn’t aligning with your sales performance, here’s what could be holding it back.
You aren’t communicating
If your departments aren’t communicating with one another then the messages that you put out are going to become confusing. On the one hand, you have the marketing department running a particular campaign, while your sales team is saying something else. In order for your brand messaging to be consistent, then all departments need to be on the same page. From finance to HR – all business departments need to be aware of the message you are putting out there.
Aside from in-house brand consistency, you also need to ensure that your campaign is consistent across all channels that you use. The digital age has meant that there are more channels than ever before to keep up to date – try not to lose clarity or control of the platforms that you are using.
How your brand looks and talks should be similar across all the channels you use, and your brand should be identifiable before you’ve even said your company name. Golden arches? McDonalds. Apple symbol? Apple. You get the gist – their symbols and colours are so iconic, that you instantly know who it is.
Brand consistency is key to developing a loyal customer base – 58% of shoppers prefer to shop from brands which are familiar to them. So, place a high importance on achieving this goal if you want to create devoted customers.
You go off the radar
If your brand isn’t visible and your customers don’t know where to find you, then you are going to run into a problem. One which looks like a sales shaped hole in your budget. If you aren’t in communication with your target audience, then how can you expect them to buy into your brand?
All anyone talks about these days is data. And it’s truly the key to harnessing your businesses secret weapon. Many companies are often sitting on a wealth of data and yet do nothing with it, but when used it can drive results that you probably didn’t think were possible.
If you’re keeping customer data stored on paper or in an Excel spreadsheet, then it’s time to upgrade to a CRM solution. This will hold everything you need to know about your customer base, including; personal details, when they were last contacted, what they purchased etc.
If your business isn’t communicating regularly with your customers, then you are doing your brand a disservice. And one negative customer experience is often enough for them to give up on you altogether. It’s commonly reeled off that it costs five times as much to attract a news customer, than to keep an existing one – so, there are no excuses when it comes to ensuring that your current customers have a positive brand experience.
You aren’t investing your effort fully
Taking a half-hearted approach to your branding efforts will leave your business looking weak. For example, if you’re setting up social channels then don’t leave them incomplete or unattended. If you’ve simply set up a profile but are yet to post or are inactive on social media then it could signal alarm bells to you customers.
The message here? Invest fully into your branding efforts across all of your marketing channels. How your brand looks and speaks publicly, should also reflect how your sales team acts too. When they are speaking directly to your customers.
Your brand isn’t human
Every brand needs a human element; something which your customers can relate to. If you are able to build this element of your brand then trust should follow. A brand needs to be both aspirational and attainable – something which customers can aspire to achieve, but is also an attainable goal for them.
This means that you should think about your brand as if it were a person when you are building it, and how this transfers to the way your employees act. Your staff should be the actual human extension of your brand and embody what your brand conveys on your channels.
Therefore, keeping your tone of voice consistent can capture the meaning behind your business, helping you to build trust and loyalty among your audience – thus making your sales staff job a lot easier.
With 62% of people citing shared values as a reason they have a relationship with a brand and 65% stating that a business’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision, it’s an area of your business that you cannot afford to ignore.
By Richard LeCount, Sales and Marketing Director at USB Makers.