Impressions matter. Whether you “like” a company’s post or skip over yet another car commercial, your engagement with a brand plays a key role in how companies choose to market.
We tend to make snap judgments about most things in life. It’s completely normal, often unintentional, and constantly transforms the business world.
Companies recognize this and spend billions on advertising campaigns, logo redesigns and corporate training, all in the name of influencing the way consumers view their company. With so many choices available, companies often only have one chance at a lasting impression.
So, what can you do to make your business stand out? Start by recognizing that those snap judgments don’t have to be left up to chance. As a business owner, you can decide how you want your business to be viewed and judged. You can evolve your company’s perception to be more appealing. In short, build a better brand.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is everything. It’s the all-encompassing summation of your business’ image, values, goals and purpose. It’s all about what your followers and the layman feel when they interact with your business, sometimes before they even interact with an actual human. It’s the push that causes them to want to learn more, subscribe, make a repeat purchase or refer you to a friend.
Look at top brands like Apple or Starbucks as examples. These companies have solidified a brand identity that causes consumers to stop and pay attention to a particular logo and the messaging behind it.
Consumers want to know what that company has to say because they believe in that brand.
Once a consumer supports the brand’s products, shares their content and refers the business to friends, the company has effectively gained a brand ambassador. Loyalty is the most valuable asset to any brand.
How does branding impact a business?
Next time you decide to eat at a new restaurant, try this experiment. Don’t read any Yelp reviews or listen to any recommendations. Walk into the restaurant with a blank slate. Everything you see and interact with will shape how you feel about the restaurant.
First, is the building in a good part of town? Does it look clean and welcoming? Would you pass it by if you weren’t specifically looking for it? This analysis can be tied to aspects of your business in the same way. Are your website and logo up to date? Do you have flyers and business cards with valuable information that’s easy to read? Just like your first perception of the restaurant, your branding and marketing materials establish an experience for customers before they even interact with your business.
Once you walk inside the restaurant, assess if it matches what was advertised on the outside. Does it have a strong and clean appearance? Do the employees seem happy and interested in helping? This can also be compared to how your brand is being presented to the public. Your company’s service and product could be excellent, but the website or logo could appeal to your target audience a bit better. Maybe you need to work on matching the customer experience with the shiny exterior you present to the public. A billion dollar logo doesn’t do anything if the experience behind it is lousy.
How do you build a brand?
Brand identity isn’t just about fancy logos and expensive ad budgets. You can compete with companies ten times your size if you position yourself correctly. Think about larger and more established companies that have bad reputations for customer service or have products that are poor quality.
View these openings as opportunities to fill in with your brand where competitors are falling short.
Start building a successful brand by auditing your current brand identity. Where are you currently positioned? How do customers view you? Do you want to be viewed as the industry expert? Post thoughtful and engaging content, write a blog or apply for awards. Do you want to be synonymous with a great customer experience? Provide training for your employees, post positive customer reviews to your website and publicly highlight employees with exceptional customer service skills. The key is to publish content and influence as many individuals as possible.
There are successful and unsuccessful ways to build a brand. Never assume you have it exactly right. Always step back, remove your blinders and look at your brand from the view of your customer. It might reveal things that you never considered. If you have the budget, gather a focus group. If not, ask the opinions of your network.
As you build your brand, remember to have fun. If you’re not having fun and don’t believe in your own business, it will show.
Enthusiasm and pride in your brand are contagious. Customers will connect with your brand if you give them a reason and show them the humans behind the logo.
The more you put into building your brand, the more you’ll get out of it.
- Brand identity is everything. Make sure your customers know WHO you are, WHAT you do and WHY you do it.
- Put real emotion and substance behind your brand. Highlight employees or showcase your engagement with your community. Give your customers a reason to connect with your brand.
- Practice what you preach. If you want to be a modern, forward-thinking company, it might be time to update your website. If your tagline references putting the customer first, make sure you can actually back that up with each customer you work with.
- Maintain brand consistency. Find a tone you want to project in your brand and stay with it. Don’t publish anything until you pause to ask yourself, “Does this align with the brand I want someone to see if they’re looking at my page/company for the first time?”
- Give people a reason to follow you. Stay in the front of your customers’ minds, even during the slow seasons, by constantly engaging.
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think of how you’d want to be treated by a company like yours, then one-up that.
- Enthusiasm and pride in your brand are contagious.
The England Logistics Freight Agent Program provides companies with information and tools to expand and allow them to manage their business. Backed by the England Logistics brand, participating agents enjoy increased market visibility and established business connections. Our dedicated team also delivers consistent support for day-to-day operations. This allows freight agents to expand their portfolio while reinforced by a reliable team.