A brand is much deeper in meaning than just the logo of a company. It can range from the perception customers have of the brand, to the way the brand sits alongside its competition. It also includes the social causes the company associates with, and the narrative the brand presents.
A company’s image is like an iceberg. The logo sits just above the water, while the majority of the iceberg, the brand, sits below. It is out of sight, but integral for performance; therefore cannot be “out of mind”.
Controlling the brand image is important, but understanding and acknowledging how your customers engage with that brand and to what extent is critical.
Companies such as Apple, portray a strong and consistent brand image that is desirable to their customer. The customer also contributes greatly to the spread of this image, not just through purchasing, but also through discussions with friends and ‘sharing’ of marketing campaigns on social media.
Scott Cook (founder of ‘Intuit’, board member of ‘Ebay’ and ‘Procter & Gamble’) highlights “a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
We believe that there are a few simple and inexpensive ways to create the right brand engagement for your company.
The digital age has given access to many more customers online than previously available for businesses. Allowing more customers to contact the business directly. Initially it was one-way communication, the Internet has allowed for two-way interaction. Appreciate your customer by becoming involved in the conversation via social media, newsletters and blogs, as they are your biggest advocates. Talk to them and understand their wants and needs. Creating a brand that has two-way channels allows you to respond faster to changing market and consumer needs and wants.
Encourage your customers to talk to you online. Their engagement with your brand allows them to feel part of a ‘tribe’/community, which ultimately creates advocates – it’s the new word of mouth.
Keep your conversations succinct and clear. This helps to eliminate any confusion about your brand. We know Apple is about “simplicity” and this allows them a halo effect for all future launches.
Consumers will engage with a brand that is creative or distinct from its rivals. Gain competitive edge by thinking, ‘how do I want my customer to feel’ when they interact with the brand. Finding the right brand personality that reaches this audience is key.
Companies that actively allow their customers to become part of the conversation and brand advocates, create communities where the consumer feels involved. This includes your Facebook page, blog, and events. One example is Vanish stain remover, where they asked their customers to share washing tips with other customers.