9 Ways to Optimise Your Brand and Compete

If Your Brand has Competition, You Need to Strengthen Your Brand so You Can Compete

Having a brand is beyond having a name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these to identify products and services and to differentiate them from others.  Having a brand means having a set of values or associations that your target customers make with your company, products and services.

First question: What set of values does your target customers associate with your brand? Second question: Do they even know your brand exists?

You need to pay attention to this and you need to start today. Because if you’re not taking your brand seriously, how do you expect potential customers to take your business seriously? In today’s competitive market, you just can’t let that happen.

So… are you building your brand every day? What benefits do you stand to get? What challenges will you face? Discover the answer to all these questions and more below.

Know your Target Customers and Build your Brand’s Personality around Them

Like humans, brands also possess or project a certain type or a mix of personalities. In “Dimensions of Brand Personality,” a study published by the Journal of Marketing Research, Jennifer Aaker, now a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, summarised brand personality into five dimensions: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Each dimension has defining characteristics. For instance, a brand that imbues “sincerity” is perceived to be honest, domestic, genuine and cheerful.  Therefore people who value these characteristics tend to prefer brands with this personality.

The idea here is to identify the personas of your target customers and identify your brand as well, using a mix of these dimensions. Then, build and shape your brand around this mix of dimensions. This way, you’ll be able to align your brand persona with your target customers and identify what customers to target based on your brand personality. These dimensions are helpful, especially for small businesses that are just beginning with the creation and strengthening of their brand.

Build your Brand Slowly but Surely or Fast and Strong. Either way, You have to Build it

According to Millard Brown’s Brand Dynamics Pyramid, the value of a business is directly proportional with the value of the brand. If you want to grow your business, you need to build your brand. Analysing five years of stock market data, the company found that strong brands are more likely to increase their share price than companies with weak brands. Strong brands are more likely to grow.

What’s more interesting here is Millard Brown’s pyramid relates how brand strength affects consumers’ expenditure for that brand. This time, brand is inversely proportional with “share of wallet,” or share of category expenditure. For instance, brands at the bottom of the pyramid or those with “presence,” eat up only 12% of spending for that category. On the other hand, those at the peak of the pyramid, or brands with bonding with consumers, account for 40% of wallet share.

You need to move your brand from merely having presence in the market to be performing and eventually having a bond, which is the peak of the pyramid. By moving it up the pyramid, you are also raising the value of your business.

Connect Your Brand to Your Customers

Your brand needs to be able to reach out to your customers and connect with them. Only then will you be able to benefit from it. The biggest benefit perhaps is customer loyalty. According to Nielsen, 62% of your potential customers prefer to buy new products from familiar brands rather than switch to a new one. Be a familiar brand and your customers will stick with you.

Having a connection means being aligned with your customers’ beliefs and earning their trust. According to Edelman research, 92% of global online consumers want to do business with brands that share their beliefs. Customers also want transparency on how products are made and sourced. Will they trust what you say? Put your brand on the line and they will. Some 69% of global consumers trusted product information on branded websites in 2013, up from 60% in 2007, according to Nielsen.

You Need to Market Your Brand Too

While focusing on other aspects of online marketing (search engine optimisation or SEO, paid advertising, etc.) is necessary to market your products or services, you cannot take branding for granted. You also need to put focus on marketing your brand as well. Businesses seem to be getting this right as “brand awareness” is the No. 1 goal of today’s content marketing initiatives. Some 79% of respondents agree, according to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

It’s not surprising that business owners are spending more to build their brand. A survey by the CMO Council and Vizu, a Nielsen company, found that 63% of marketers planned an increase in their online brand advertising budgets. Some 20% said they will raise their brand spending by at least 20%. Despite this budget trend and brand marketing benefits, many owners still struggle to adapt.

Brand-building Challenges Businesses Face

As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of content marketing for the majority of businesses is to build brand awareness. Business owners understand that for them to build their brand, they need to reach out to their target market with engaging branded content. But why are they struggling  to implement this?

According to a research by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, there are a number of challenges that marketers face in effectively using content for marketing. The biggest setback is lack of budget, with 52% of marketers citing this reason. Producing enough content (51%) and producing the kind of content that engages (49%) complete the top three challenges.

Twenty percent of businesses are responding accordingly by raising their budgets. They are realising the necessity of branding. As for the other two challenges, they are outsourcing. Writing (64%) and design (54%) are the top services outsourced.

9 Ways to Seriously Build Your Brand

If you are serious in building your brand – and with all honesty, you should be – you need to start today. Here are 9 ways to build your brand.

Go for a Professional Website Design for Credibility – Studies published by Stanford University found that 75% of Internet users judge the credibility of an organisation based on the design of its website. A separate study on websites, meanwhile, found that 94% of all the factors mentioned for rejecting or mistrusting a website were design-related. Needless to say, professional web design plays a crucial role in establishing your business as a trusted brand.

Get Exposure via PPC Remarketing – Pay per Click Remarketing displays your ads to people who have left your website and visited another site within the Google Display Network. The network includes Gmail and YouTube and two million other sites. Plus, studies show that even if your ads are only seen and not clicked (called “impressions” in PPC), they can still have an effect on viewers.

Use Social Media to Influence Followers – People like to follow brands on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Make sure your accounts are properly branded—with your logo and tagline. Upload a primary photo, a striking banner and a nice background image and post delightful, persuasive content regularly.

Generate Buzz around your Brand in your Locality and Niche – Optimise your local listings and publish engaging content that turn visitors into customers and loyal customers. This will make your brand more visible on local listings searches.  Put out promos to delight your customers with your brand and increase purchase and loyalty. These promos will generate buzz through your blog, social media accounts and will spread across the social media space. Local searches end in a purchase. Seventy-eight percent happen with buyers using mobile phones, 77% with tablets and 59% with PCs and laptops.

Manage Your Online Reputation – Online Reputation Management or ORM aims to keep your brand trustworthy. Pay particular attention to responding to negative comments and encouraging happy customers to give testimonials.  Seventy percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews. Make sure that you have lots of 5-star ratings and that these are visible all over the web.

Use Video & Article Content – According to CopyPress, featured articles (62%) and video (51.9%) generate the most attractive return on investment for marketers. Respondents surveyed by CMI and MarketingProfs agree. The top five formats used by content marketers (social media, onsite articles, e-newsletters, videos, and blogs) use articles or video.

Write & Share Articles to Introduce and Build your Brand – Whether appealing to business decision-makers or customers, producing articles is the best choice, according to studies. Articles are preferred over advertisements. No wonder, as Forrester points out, 79% of surveyed marketers reported that their organisations are shifting to branded content.

Reach Out to Your Target Market with Videos – Videos have such a wide reach. Accenture found that 90% of consumers watch online video. Its reach is still growing. According to Cisco, Internet video traffic will account for 69% of all global consumer Internet traffic in 2017. Want your brand to reach your audience? Go video.

Influence Purchase Decisions with Videos – Not only will your brand be able to reach customers through videos, you can also influence purchase decisions. Some 96% of consumers surveyed found videos helpful for making online purchase decisions. Even executives (59%) prefer watching product videos than reading text, said Forbes. What better way to sell your brand than through video?

Take Your Branding Seriously… Today!

If you have been neglecting your branding because of budget constraints, lack of guidance or as a matter of choice because you don’t think it’s necessary, then you need to rethink this. Branding allows you to connect with your target market, convert potential customers into actual buyers and earn their trust and loyalty. You need to take branding seriously. You need to start today.

CALL US on (09) 449 1005 or (027) 489 5009 or email chris@pattersondigitalmarketing.com for a FREE consultation to optimise your brand and compete.  

Chris Kirkham