Developing a brand that generates loyalty is the primary goal of any marketing agency. That means starting with a solid plan. Websites and social media solutions are tools to achieve customer loyalty.
Brand evaluation and development is something, as a business, you’ve already done. You look at your target audience. Determine your business’s core values. Determine the assets you have in your arsenal, and build from there. You build a logo and a website. Come up with a catchy tagline. Open your doors and your new business is “alive ”. Have you reevaluated that brand since that day?
We use the word alive intentionally. Your business is alive. It continues to grow and evolve. That means that it’s unlikely that your business is the same after years of learning who you are and what your customers expect. We have to continue to update your brand message as your company grows, as technology evolves, and as the expectations of your audience changes. You are not the same person you were when you started… neither is your business.
If your business we’re a celebrity, who would it be and why? This question may sound silly, but it’s really very important. What is the personality of your business? Does it fit into the expectations of your audience?
In this pretend scenario, you’re about to have brain surgery. You have your initial consultation with the lead surgeon. You are welcomed into his/her office and see no diplomas hanging behind the desk. Instead, you see posters of the latest superhero movies. There doesn’t appear to be any books or resources in large bookshelves anywhere in the room. On their desk isn’t the latest medical publication, but instead, a candy dish in the shape of a skull, a bobblehead, and a 1980’s troll doll holding a pencil.
When the doctor arrives, he’s in ripped jeans and a t-shirt that says “can’t sleep, clowns will eat me” with the sleeves cut off allowing the skull and crossbones tattoo on his shoulder to be proudly displayed. This is the first meeting with the person you will trust with your life. Thoughts?
In our ridiculous example, you are the audience. You have an expectation regarding the professional personality of a lead surgeon tasked with keeping people alive. The truth is, despite your first impression they may be incredibly qualified, but their brand image makes it difficult to believe that. Their brand doesn’t match your nor the industry’s expectations. Brand means everything when it comes to the loyalty of your customers and how seriously your company is taken as a resource to provide a solution to their needs.
Although brand awareness remains the top goal (89% this year vs. 87% last year), there also is more emphasis on leads (last year, only 36% cited lead management/nurturing as a goal).
Regardless of whether you're a B2B or B2C brand, a small or large business, an emerging competitor or a long-standing organization, you must maintain your audience.
You have a “perfect” customer. They’re easy to work with. They see the value in your service or product. They want to establish a long-term relationship with your organization. Whomever they are you recognize that if all your customers were this type of person… you’d be very happy.
Regularly reviewing and understanding your primary target audience is essential to inspire those people to walk into your business and purchase from you. Using our neurosurgeon example above, the brand message, the personality of the business didn’t match with the expectations of the primary target audience. Your audience has a picture in their mind on what your business “should” be. Do you match that picture? If not, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table, not because you’re not good at what you do, but because no one believes that you are.
There are leaders in every industry. Understanding what your competition is doing that works… and doesn’t work is key to your position as a leader.
Just knowing what you’re doing right isn’t enough. Understanding what your competition is doing right allows you to match it and make it better. Staying aware of the pitfalls your competition is facing allows you to make sure that your brand message addresses these “holes” and makes you a better resource. Understand your competition and you can develop a successful strategy for making a positive impression on your audience.
Being aware of your competition isn’t always about seeing what they’re doing so you can improve. Sometimes it’s to see what they’re doing that copies you. If you’re doing something that’s working, it won’t be long before someone else sees it and tries it too. Don’t get discouraged. Just stay aware, and adapt. If the industry is looking at what you’re doing as a definition for success… you’re doing something right.
A SWOT is a traditional method for assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your business faces as it continues to grow.
Understanding what you’re good at, what you need to work on, what opportunities are available for you to go after and get better, and what’s holding you back is what a SWOT analysis is all about.
A traditional review is separated into those four sections, but those sections are divided into two main categories. What you have control over and what you don’t have control over. If you understand what you can focus on and what is outside of your ability to address, you put your attention where it belongs.
There’s another “T” that deserves attention. That’s “Trends”. Trends are what your audience is interested in right now. Key interests that may change later, but are “attention triggers” you can use to grab an audience “where they live”.