Cheryl Hayman

How to go from good to great branding

A crucial element of any business is the creation of a brand name by which people identify the service or product it provides. It’s also one of the very first things you have to think about when you start a business, and it’s something that will be stuck with your business for a long time.

Brand development is about delivering a consistent image that outshines your competition. Your marketplace is flooded with an infinite array of competitive choices.

How can today’s companies connect with purpose, build lasting relationships, and become irreplaceable in the eyes of consumers?

A strong brand shines brightest in the crowded marketplace. Your brand identity, marketing materials, and web presence should act as a beacon to attract consumers, build trust, and showcase your company’s value. The perception of your brand will ultimately determine the success of your company. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what your customer’s say it is.Your brand isn’t what you say it is.

Every exchange with your customers is an opportunity to shape this perception, make a connection, build trust, and strengthen customer loyalty.

Is your brand identity outshining the competition? What distinguishes great from good?

  •     Great brands strategically distinguish their product from competitors by conveying their unique positioning.
  •     Great brands hold appeal for the product’s customers.
  •     Great brands imply or evoke a salient brand attribute, quality or benefit.
  •     Great brands are available for legal protection and “trademark”.
  •     Great brands allow companies to bond and engage and connect with their customers to create loyalty.
  •     Great brands translate visually and memorably; they have a symbolic association that fortifies the image of the company or the product to their consumers.
  •     Great brands help motivate and stimulate customers to buy.

If you want them (the customers) to come, and you have a global business, or intend to, then be aware that while English is widely viewed as a global language, language differences have created some fascinating challenges for some brands.

Product naming faux pas

  •     Reebok named a women’s sneaker Incubus. In medieval folklore, an incubus was a demon who ravished women in their sleep.
  •     The Honda Fitta was, according to a popular urban legend, renamed Jazz after discovering that fitta is Norwegian and Swedish slang for the female genitals.
  •     Bimbo is a Mexican baking conglomerate; however in English the term describes a woman who is physically attractive but is perceived to have a low intelligence or poor education.

Always ask others what comes to mind when they hear your brand name. Be prepared to accept that all brand names will have strong and weak points, and you need to determine what matters most, as the business owner.
Tips for getting started

Use the word-map technique. Start with your business in the centre. Create branches out from the centre into immediate words that come to mind. Then branch and build upon these further, creating a word map. Include both words that describe what the business does, as well as how it, or the products, make people feel. Both are critical and can form the basis for a strong, relevant and memorable brand name.

Your choice needn’t always be a blatant line from positioning to the name, a little intrigue can also be good. Just keep in mind the resources needed to communicate and create memorability.

To ease your mind a little, during, and after, talk to mentors, employees, colleagues, suppliers and customers, and work through to a strong short list. Consider pairing descriptive words, or devising strong word combinations. If a clever acronym works, that’s an option to consider, but it can require more work and money to build and make known.

For ease, keep it simple. No more than two words is best. The more memorable, the easier to get word-of-mouth spread, therefore, the better.

Sometimes business owners are “clever”, and choose to use words that are not spelled out the way they sound. The risk: people may have difficulty searching for the company. For example, although “Xerox” has become an effective brand name that became synonymous with “photocopy“, it probably had some pronunciation issues when it first existed.

Brand name and logo go hand in hand. Visual underpins verbal. The connection between the name and the logo is significant to your branding, so it’s necessary to think of a name that affords you, or your designers, freedom in the creative designing of your logo. Many people believe that an “image” logo is stronger than a “word” logo, so it may be a good idea to consider a brand name that can be symbolised as an object or something.
But ultimately, it’s your business. So, the final choice is yours.

9 Branding Tips

 1.Understand the mindset of your customers and you win, every time.

As marketers, it is important for us to be able to empathise with multiple, diverse audiences. We need to understand their mind-set, their goals, their challenges and their lifestyle in order to shift perceptions and to help our clients’ brands resonate.

2.Branding creates value for your business

Branding has the potential to build incredible value for your business because it creates a connection between your offer and your customer and that makes your brand ultimately more valuable than anyone else’s. Every contact with your brand is a selling opportunity.

 3.Competition demands you brand

Branding is an integral part of a company’s overall success in any highly competitive marketplace. To grab attention and build a desire for purchase, you have to have an offer than is competitive and relevant at all times.

4. Stand out from the crowd

To brand your business is to differentiate it (or make your company stand out) from the rest.

5. Branding builds loyalty

Brand awareness can lead to brand loyalty, so your goal should be to create a group of followers or “fans” who not only recognise your brand, but also trust it and are loyal to it.

 6. Trust in your brand gives you a voice

Once people trust your brand, you have a “voice”, or become an influential authority in your industry and in the overall marketplace. This will enforce you as the ‘go to’ brand or place and set you apart from other brands. Customers like being with the most credible brand.

7. Build your online presence and you build your leadership

To increase your company’s online presence and become a recognised leader in your industry, brand building is a fundamental stepping stone in the journey to online success.

8. Strategic branding leads to consistent positioning

When you ensure that all of your marketing initiatives, both online and offline, are consistent with one another, and that they reinforce each other, you build a strong, motivating brand over time that engages customers for more than one time.

9. Branding builds identity 

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service or business. It can take many forms, including a name, sign, colour combination or symbol. This then encompasses the personality of a product, company or service.

Every contact is an opportunity to build an experience and connect consumers with your brand.

Uncover, communicate and nurture your personal brand

In developing and managing your personal brand, the most basic marketing principles apply.

In today’s engagement oriented environment, the most successful business leaders are those who understand the value of marketing and apply to themselves those principles that companies have used for years to successfully sell their products.

Those principles are:

  1. What brand are you- how do you present?
  2. What do you want to be known for-what reputation elements are you wishing to display?
  3. How do you build awareness of yourself, and then reinforce that awareness so you become more top-of-mind and relevant to your business?
  4. Where do you voice your brand (you)?  What ‘media’ channels?
  5. How do you measure your success?
  6. Are you willing to change/evolve according to the reception and success you’re achieving?

There are 3 key things to consider before you begin the personal branding journey:

  • Are you willing to be yourself – to put who you are into what you do and how you do it?
  • Personal branding is based in authenticity, not in creating an image for the outside world. – can you be authentic?
  • Can you bring your self – your best self to every customer experience?

Building a strong personal brand isn’t about telling people how great you are,

it’s about showing people how great you are, or better still, how easy it is for them to relate to you and respect you , as pertinent to your business building.

Messaging-Tone/Personality/Style

If you are a brand, then your clothing is your logo. What impression is your wardrobe giving to those around you?

Consider how you present yourself.  Think about what impresses you when you meet people for the first time. Things such as Personal Style,  Colour Choices, Hair and Make-up. How do the individual components represent your personality and the impression you wish to convey? Do you want to leave a lasting impression, or be instantly forgettable?

They say ‘first impressions count’ well,  it is a well-documented fact that the way your present yourself creates an impression is the first 7 seconds!

How do I best initiate contact with my customers?

There are numerous ways to initiate an approach when seeking to grow yourself and your business:

  • Cold Calling – tough for most people, but sometimes you get lucky this way.
  • Networking – again, tough for some people, but an absolute ‘must’ at any stage of business building and progression.
  • Scour LinkedIn Groups, and other social sites for the right places to interact and comment, or answer questions – that is, to get noticed!
  • Join relevant Associations and Member organisations.
  • Speaking events and attendance at the right events yourself.
  • Take up advertising opportunities through any event or association that budget allows.

Which is the most important  “personal distribution” channel?

Most experts agree that networking is crucial to a successful business growth strategy. Networking means developing a broad list of contacts – people you’ve met through various social and business functions – and using them to your   advantage in your enterprise activities.

Building an online presence

Today, no personal brand can be built without acknowledging and understanding how to utilize the online space that surrounds our every day lives.

One of the first things you can do is to create an online portfolio. Find out if your personal domain name is available. If it is, purchase it!

I recommend building and designing your online portfolio using a free content management system, such as WordPress.

On the homepage, include a welcome message to visitors which can be a similar, more generic version of your cover letter.

Then, include separate pages for your resume, portfolio, contact information and a link to your professional blog (if feel comfortable with this).

What are the biggest personal branding mistakes job seekers make?

  1. Not controlling content. Many sites—such as Facebook or Twitter—have ‘private’ settings for personal information. If your customers  won’t think it’s appropriate, take the content down or make your profile private.
  2. Not knowing what makes you unique. Show customers how you will fit with them and their needs, and why you, and therefore your brand, will be an asset.
  3. Not taking advantage of technology. Along with LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites for networking, you should also create an online portfolio. Sites such as VisualCV or webs.com allow you to compile your own portfolio and show them to others.
  4. If you have a visual business, and are a visual personality, then use Pinterest or Instagram to enhance the experience of your brand with your customers, and heighten engagement.suz

I like to remind people that Google is not a search engine. It is a reputation management system.

Online your reputation is quantifiable, findable and totally unavoidable.

Linked in is a

  • Professional social network
  • Way to research business and individuals
  • Professional “Branding” opportunity

Facebook advice:

  • Watch the photos you upload
  • Create a business page and a friends site separately
  • Watch wall posts
  • Join relevant Groups
  • Publish anything you write, any article written about you and any links to relevant industry pieces. It is about building a profile and enhancing awareness of you out in the larger world.

Online is one of modern day’s networking tools. Never underestimate its power or its influence and the impression it leaves. It has become part of your “grooming”…as important as the clothes you wear.

If you follow these tips, and remember you are the brand, then you will find that over time you will do all these things as part of your second nature, and there is actually no major effort required, other than being conscious of how you continually reinforce “brand YOU”!

 

Revised for the Aust Businesswomen’s Network, Her Career Blog Post Oct 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media and Topicality

Shock-Horror ! The 2013 Superbowl is not something I am usually interested in, however, I AM always drawn to it for its fame in the advertising world. Its fame stems from it being the most expensive, yet highest reach event for any single ad each year. This historically has seen ads such as the ’1984 Apple Macintosh’ commercial reach incredible levels of celebrity which then continued for many years.

The beauty this year was the way in which a very short blackout was capitalised on with such speed and relevance by two brands, Oreo and Tide, but Oreo got in first.

As the lights went out during last night’s Super Bowl, the electricians scrambled, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers tried to keep their muscles warm, fans dug into some 47 layer dip and Oreo jumped into action.

With a mission control room full of ad executives the Oreo management team spun into action and completely capitalised on the nimbleness that social media offers. The ad features the caption “Power out? No problem” reminding Oreo eaters that you can “dunk in the dark.” The timeliness and pithiness made the pitch funnier, more effective and undoubtedly millions of dollars cheaper than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl commercial.

So it made me reflect about how much more effective social media can be when it is executed in a really timely manner, and when it capitalises on a relevant, interesting topic or event.

Most of us don’t have the budgets, resources or physical capability to pull off campaigns on the scale of Oreo, but we do have the capability and capacity to be aware of topics which provide us with social media fodder to leverage our brands against. Every brand has subject matter, outside the obvious, which has a relevance to that brand’s market place. It is crucial that the brand owner sets out and follows these topics constantly.

Some questions to consider when thinking about where to search for these adjacent areas of interest:

1. Where are your customers looking and what are they reading , when not with you?

2. What special seasonal or event-based subjects could provide interesting additional material for you to review, comment on, or merely pass on to your customers?

3. How might you maximise special events or topics?  Plan for them ahead of time, so when they come up, you’re ready. You don’t need an Oreo-style mission control room to throw it together at a minutes notice.

4. In a service industry, perhaps it’s modern version of “issue management”, and not necessarily from a crisis point of view. What issues are appropriate for you to curate for your customers?

In other words, create a list of these topical opportunities. Think about your brand from a more holistic viewpoint. Consider your customers and their behaviours. Consider your competitors and how and where they play. Sometimes you’ll even find some idea you can steal or improve upon in your competitive landscape.

Find subjects and events, schedule them into your plans, develop the message you want to present, and stand ready to push “post” as soon as each respective occasion arrives. Stand at the ready on these occasions, like Oreo, to capture moments for your brand.

The final question is where do you do it. Oreo chose Twitter as a priority…fast, effective, pithy, and far reaching in their case. Their simple and surprising ad was retweeted more than 15,000 times in the first 14 hours.

For your brand…where are your biggest audience numbers interacting and how do you reach them with speed? Multiple platforms are acceptable, but make a splash when you do it – speak in the right voice and make your point in the right language, and whatever you do, don’t over complicate it. Oreo didn’t mention the blackout, they merely mentioned “dunking in the dark”…if you ultimately let your customer finish the thought you will deliver a most effective communication.

 

 

Makeover your Marketing Message

What makes you special? What makes your brand special? Why should I buy from you, interact with you, or even listen to you?

These are the questions you should all ask yourselves when considering whether your Core Marketing Message needs a makeover. It’s makeover month, so what better time to challenge you business and brand on this critical component, one that can make the difference between success and mediocrity.

Three Steps To Creating A Powerful Marketing Message

A lot of small businesses are confused about their marketing message. Some think that a slogan will suffice, some think that an ad about how great their company is will do, or that saying how long they have been in business will work.

Some companies even allow their mission or vision statement to become their marketing message.

It’s none of those.

Where to Start the Makeover?

  1. Any authentic message must be simple:  Put yourself in the shoes of potential customers and ask “Is my message easy to understand? Does it motivate customers to purchase?” When constructing your authentic message, you need to first understand your ideal customers, and then visualise who they are and write directly to them in a tone and language that resonates with them.
  2. Benefits – not features, will grab your targeted audience’s attention: The secret to putting together a message that will make consumers of your market sit up and listen is to identify any issue they might have. What problem can you solve for them? They need to know that you understand, from their point of view.Your customers want to hear a clear, simple message that demonstrates that you understand their situation and that you recognise the outcome they wish to achieve.

    Identify how those benefits will improve their lives and how great they will feel when they engage with your business or brand. This way you can stretch them from functional benefits into an emotional interaction with your brand. A simple authentic message like this will be the single deciding factor for customers choosing you over someone else.

  3. Explain what makes you different from your competitors. Differentiation is the hardest test of all for most business owners. Separate yourself from what you believe you deliver. Try seeing it through your customer’s eyes, with an imperative to provide a point of difference to the rest of your market.

Once you know how you solve a consumer problem, and how you are different from your competitors, you need to communicate your differences. Those differences need to have a perceived value in the mind of your consumer to help them along in your message. It needs to be something they care about. This forms the core message that now needs to stream thorough every communication channel that you choose.

Remember that old adage:  What’s in it for me?

The “So What” Test

In the end, the consumer will be your judge. While it is important that you acknowledge your functional benefits, don’t assume listing them is compelling for your consumer. Run each benefit and assumed differentiator through a “so what” filter, until you get to an end benefit that is motivating to your customer.

The Message Makeover

Tell an authentic story and you will ignite potential customers who buy from people they know, like, and trust. Building trust begins with sharing the story of your business and, often, the people behind it. Telling your authentic story helps both you and your prospective customers by:

  1. Demonstrating your values, so you naturally attract customers who relate to you.
  2. Explaining why you do what you do, which helps prospective customers understand you and trust you.
  3. Sharing your unique persona, enabling customers to understand what you (the brand) will be like to work with.

The changing face of media, and of course the growth of social media means that businesses must understand and optimise every interaction, both off and online.

This requires interaction with customers in a way that establishes positive, emotional responses to form meaningful relationships with your brand and message. Over time, these customers will become your best marketing advocates and promoters.

This level of personalisation means that making over your message is crucial to competing effectively in today’s transparent world.

What Remains Certain…

A strong brand message coupled with a solid customer relationship will create business value. In the end, these relationships are founded on consistent delivery of a relevant brand offer (marketing message), as well as meeting, and often beating, customer expectations.

Credible Marketing – Really?

Sit and watch TV these days and be inundated by commercials for the big retailers … and once again they’ve got an equally similar, and equally non-differentiated positioning, and the big question is “is this credible”?

“Woolworths-the fresh food people”

“There’s no freshness like Coles”

Confused? Surprised? Bored? Uninspired?

I watched these ads on TV tonight and wondered, ‘do 2 competitors, operating in what is best described basically as a duopoly add to, or dilute the “fresh” message when they’re both yelling it from the rafters?’

Does the fact that Woolies were “the fresh food people” for years, under Roger Corbett’s reign, and then left that message behind, add to, or dilute their message the 2nd time around???

And what of their constant hammering on about low, low prices, and ‘down down, deeper and down’? Did they finally discover that price reductions, while good for wallets, did nothing for the brand? No surprise there!

There is no equity driving strong and sustainable brands evolving from severe price reductions. It is also THE most easily imitable strategy known to the marketplace. The other lesson- if you both do it, then it’s no longer anything other than the cost of entry for any given market.

So ponder the significance of price for yourselves and your business. Of course, it is critical that you have a price that reflects your offering, which is sustainable for consumers in your market, but it should also represent the value that you bring to the end user of your product or service.

Avoid the retailer’s dilemma of ending up in a downward spiral where price is just an expected place and recognize, as they have, that you need something else that is the true benefit of a consumer buying your goods.

The ‘watch out’ is that you don’t want to be a brand with the same strategy and proposition as your main competitor.

In my opinion, Coles and Woolworths have no credibility for fresh now. They both say it, yet they both have reputations for importing, freezing and thawing products, and no matter how much they try and tell us that is not the case, their credibility is shot.

Their issue is that they both say it in the same way. Neither has found an interesting or inspiring way to deliver the message that would add to their point of difference and make consumers reconsider their choice. Has either retailer managed to sway you from their competitor to them based on their current fruit and veggie fresh messages? That they come from the Australian land-wow, that’s new!? I doubt it.

Be aware of what your competitors are doing, but please focus on what consumers want, and understand the dynamics of your users and their needs. Don’t be like these guys who are maniacally focused on what each other is doing, and little else.

In the end it comes back to 4 age-old marketing requirements…be clear, be differentiated, be interesting and be real!

Brands Need Social Currency

In a world where one of the only things you control is your reputation, the same can be said about your brand’s reputation.

However, in a world where your reputation can be built over time, yet trashed in a minute, understanding some ins and outs related to “social currency” in our confusing social world is critical.

Social currency derives from the social capital theory put forward by Pierre Bourdieu where social capital results in:

  • increasing one’s sense of community,
  • granting access to information and knowledge,
  • helping to form one’s identity,
  • and providing status and recognition.

These concepts now apply to brand building in a social media context.

In the world of social media branding, it is all about the way people share their knowledge, views, interactions and experiences about brands with each other.

It is about creating a sense of community between consumers, customers and brands.

In this way, it has the same fundamental principles as branding has had since it’s original definition; the difference is that the means for creating that community of opinions has altered to include the vast array of social media that people today use for voicing and collaborating about brands.

If the traditional model of brand marketing was centred around the key principles of positioning, targeting, and messaging, the model of building social currency is centered oninteraction, collaboration, conversation, and co-creation.

I like to say we have moved from mass communication to mass collaboration. Consumers now co-create your content and help you produce, evolve, alter and even understand your brand better.

Social Currency is the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social life at home or at work.

It is neither a product feature, nor a communications or PR campaign that is completely managed by any one company. From this perspective, social currency is a far more delicate asset to build, nurture and maintain than is brand equity.

Social currency is a means, not the end; nor is it just about buzz or conversation. Rather, it is about creating meaningful experiences around the brand.

It is therefore crucial that you acknowledge the social currency or make up of your brand and nurture, respect and refine it to fit with an ever-changing consumer mindset.

So how might you do it for your brand?

Think about:

  • Advocacy-build a community of advocates
  • Information-source it, respect it, utilize it
  • Context-give your brand context in the real world of your consumers

But remember that social isn’t for everyone.

You can create social currency through cultivation of a sense of community, by strengthening consumer interaction, and by providing value to the community.

In the end, your brand’s social currency and the trust it engenders develops from the credible experiences that your consumers have in the context of their daily life.

If social media is the way for your brand, then you need to use social currency to build a gravitational field that keeps your consumers orbiting around your brand.

Tip No. 5 Marketing to Small Business Owners

The ‘one size fits all’ method doesn’t work when it comes to connecting with small business owners.

Many of us within the ABN need to attract and engage with other small businesses and their owners. Marketing to such a unique audience requires some diverse thinking and a reduction in the grandeur of the usual marketing formats we discuss, especially for those of us who herald from bigger corporations and brands.

Small business owners are busy. They wear many hats and are often generalists in many areas.

Areas on which to focus that help small business owners notice you have to do with:

1) How your service helps the business owner stand out, in other words promotion?- do you have a means by which they can grow their customer base and their profits?

2) How your service helps the business owner find new customers – what do you offer that adds value to them and provides a resource or skill they don’t have internally?

Understanding that a large percentage of small businesses with less than five employees don’t have a website, you have to think about how to best reach these business owners as well. While they may not have a website, they do subscribe to industry trade journals, meet with peers and use online services to stay competitive. Even though they might not be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, as they are busy running their company, small businesses definitely look to find new ways of reaching customers.

Introducing your products and services through targeted ad placement is one approach for connecting with this group, another is providing useful information that helps a small business owner stay competitive. Become a champion of this group – provide resources and participate in the conversation where small business owners are.

So what can you quickly do to connect to the SMB audience? Here are a few sites where small businesses are actively present:

o Manta (www.manta.com)- allows for specialized/targeted advertising to small businesses and decision makers by revenue, employee size, industry, etc

o LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) – allows for finding business professionals by industry

o Present.ly (www.presently.com) – allows individuals within a company to post short, frequent updates that are tracked or “followed” by others. Unlike Twitter, it provides a secure and private way to share updates among members of a company, without them being visible to the general public

o TalkBizNow (www.talkbiznow.com) – allows networking while visualizing the small-world phenomenon by displaying how each member is connected to any other member

 

Tip No. 4: Shoppers even more Savvy

By Cheryl Hayman, Hayman Strategy

The latest data has it that a growing majority of consumers are making more considered purchases and turning to the internet for cost savings.

Research from ACP Magazines reports that 76% of Australians are being more careful with their money. With 71% taking advantage of easy price comparisons online and daily deals through group buying sites such as Ouffer, Cudo and Jump On It, it is important to consider how this might impact your sales.

It is not a blue collar, lower socio-economic phenomena. It is an Australian phenomena and the implications are that it is now more acceptable to shop the “home brand” or retailer brand, which is often considered (even if just a perception), to provide the same quality as the branded product.

This particularly presents a big challenge for a branded, marketed product. The imperative to deliver over and above expectation is clear. It is no longer enough just to build a brand with sexy packaging and a funky name.

You must now consider every suitable marketing channel for your product and the most compelling offer on a channel by channel basis. Simultaneously, you must consider the mindset of your consumer when he or she shops through that channel. The impact of social media and other internet channels need more and more thought. Consumers have always been unique but now their unique values and behaviours will alter as they access products and services through various, and newer channels, and their approach and mindset will differ by channel.

For instance, if I’m traveling, I will buy my perfume in the duty free store. My mindset is positive and expectant and excited by the impending journey, so I will be less concerned with price, however I will also assume a good price because of my environment. On another occasion though, if I run out of that same fragrance and I am not about to travel, I immediately jump onto the internet, perhaps to strawberrynet.com and purchase the same product at a reduced price. I would no longer shop in a store for the fragrance, and I access the online resource for two reasons – practicality (it’s easy), and price, knowing the product is the same.

In almost every case now, I turn first to online for purchases. I don’t always buy that way, but it is a resource for helping me short list and research anything else I want to know. Now, even if I am a bit ahead of the norm, the data suggests that that won’t be the case for long.

In a world where every brand is considered, by and large, the same, and it’s about convenience and price, what tricks or tools exist to engage the consumer above the competition? How do you cement your brand into the consumer’s mind?

US research shows that companies that utilise social media and engage directly with consumers have a greater opportunity to not only reach more customers, but also increase their likelihood of making a purchase. Here are some basic tennants:

  • Social media websites have become an information resource for consumers
  • Online word-of-mouth is powerful
  • Consumers who visit social media sites are more likely to take action
  • Talking with a brand representative online greatly influences purchase behaviour

Social media marketing is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing strategies of companies. One of the biggest advantages that social media websites have over company or news sites is that consumers who visit social media websites are more likely to take action. Consequently, companies who integrate elements of social media into their marketing mix will have a greater opportunity to influence consumers’ buying choices.

If you are not already doing this, then it’s now time to act.

Tip No. 3: Brand Loyalty-the Pot of Gold

By Cheryl Hayman, Hayman Strategy

In order to create brand loyalty, a brand or business must break consumer habits, help them acquire new habits and reinforce those habits by reminding consumers of the value of their purchase and encourage them to continue purchasing those products or services in the future.

The image surrounding a company’s brand is the principal source of its competitive advantage and is therefore a valuable strategic asset.

Loyalty marketing is specifically aimed at building a strong continuing commitment to your brand, rather than just brand awareness. It suggests rather more influence and involvement from a consumer.

There are 6 components which I recently came across and which I think have enormous and wide reaching applicability.

  1. Fame
  2. Leadership
  3. Emotional Affinity
  4. Rational Affinity
  5. Difference
  6. Price

If you can garner “fame” then you are the most popular and most salient brand in the marketplace, but this is unlikely to happen immediately unless you truly pioneer an untapped area. Beware however, that even if you are “first in,” don’t assume fame will follow. You still need to demonstrate all the remaining loyalty-building components above.

 

Leadership is awarded to your brand if it sets trends and is able to grow in popularity. If you become the brand other brands try to emulate, or if you are the ‘port of call’ for the media or whoever your relevant advocacy groups are, then you have the leadership quality required to enforce lo

yalty.

Emotional Affinity is exuded through your warmth of character, your tone, the image you project and personality. It provides your brand with engagement at a ‘heart’ level with your consumers and works to lock them into their association with the brand.

You also need a Rational Affinity: the ‘head.’ The balance between how much ‘heart’ and how much ‘head’ depends on your brand, your industry or marketplace, and the tangible and practical attributes you have on offer.

Your point of difference must be linked to a direct benefit that meets the “what’s in it FOR ME” criteria that underlines all strong brand loyalty relationships. It may work on an emotional or a rational level, although it is ALWAYS important to ensure that there is a rational benefit of some sort that is defining and differentiating for your brand.

Price is self-evident, although it is usually more about Value. If you can develop and cement the previous characteristics into your brand then you will have strong loyalty and as long as the price is appropriate and relevant for the marketplace, this should not be the most important attribute for your brand.

Recently I heard an interesting expression: “Losers make decisions; Winners make commitments”… we can all think of brands that meet these criteria, consider them against your own brand and decide now whether your brand make that winning commitment and succeed.

 

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