What do customers see when they interact with your brand? Are you projecting your ideas or taking the time to discover and listen to your customers’ wants and needs? In order to achieve success in marketing, it is critical that your image and message are based on what your customers are looking for from the outside looking in, not what a company wants to project from the inside out.
The first step in synchronizing your brand with your customers’ buying habits is to take a hard look at what your business is all about.
Face the inside reality
Your business’s inside reality is what your business is really all about: what you do well, what you don’t do well. It includes all benefits, obstacles, problems, etc. You can change your inside reality by improving processes, training employees, hiring employees, diversifying your services, improving your support and employing numerous other enhancements. Why is this important? Because if you don’t match the outside perception to your inside reality, you will wind up with unhappy customers.
Build or rebuild your brand image
…in accordance with your “inside reality” and your customers’ wants and needs.
The following elements are used to create brand impressions, build value, raise awareness, attract customers and promote services. They are the essence of your brand image:
- Your logo and tag line
- Your Web presence
- Your offline branding (stationery, sales kits, exhibits, brochures, etc.)
- Your messaging (critical in conversions, must get attention, build value and trust)
- Your blog (so important it deserves its own bullet!)
- Ongoing marketing and advertising (e-mail, SEO, PPC, Social Media, PR, etc.)
So how do you synchronize these components with your customers’ buying habits?
First, you take the time to find out what your customers really want, rather than making assumptions about what you think they want. A good way to do this is by conducting interviews and organizing focus groups. Once you know for certain what your customers want, expect and need from your business, you will then be ready to develop the above media and campaigns in alignment with your customers’ expectations.
For example, if a customer’s primary goal is to set a meeting with a company that they feel can provide the services they require, they would need a few things to happen first:
- They need a clear and easy-to-find explanation of the desired services they are seeking.
- The messaging they read must build up substantial interest in order to provoke a response.
- They must be easily led to THEIR desired call to action…which in this case is the ability to set up a meeting.
Now let’s take it a step further. What if you have a Web form to set up a meeting, but the customer is more “old school” and prefers to pick up the phone and call you? You will need to make sure they can easily find your phone number at the exact time they have decided to convert. If they have to look for it, you will likely lose them.
So, in summary,
- Evaluate your inside reality. Don’t guess…be honest.
- Discover and define your customers’ wants and needs and how they prefer to do business.
- Write down all of your customers’ desired goals, from a low-level conversion such as an e-mail string up to your primary conversion.
- Create or update your branding material and marketing campaigns so that they build value and trust and are infused with calls to action aligned with your customers’ goals.
By Scott C. Margenau
Founder & Brand Strategist at ImageWorks Studio Ltd.