Branding Hacks for a Strong Brand

December 1, 2020

Although this revelation is not really new, it serves as a reminder for us to reconsider making adjustments that can significantly influence our business success. Let’s look at why branding has a key role here and how it can strengthen your business in times of crisis.

The buying behavior of consumers is often based on emotions or feelings rather than rational decisions. Branding opens up many opportunities to stand out from a sea of competitors and to capture the attention of your ideal customers. Branding is often equated with the visual presentation of a brand, yet it involves much more than that. First and foremost, you’re striving to appeal to the gut instinct of your customers. Your branding efforts sum up all of the actions you undertake to win the attention and loyalty of your target group, which in turn helps you continually position the image of your brand.  

“In times of crisis, brands – especially those most valuable and strongest in their categories and markets – become a safe-haven for capital." David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance.

Stay steadfast, yet flexible!

Your target group should have a stable and consistent experience with your brand throughout all touchpoints. Consistency generates trust and trust is what keeps your customers always coming back. A serious button-down employer branding would clash awkwardly with a wild, provocative social media presence. The tone and message should fit your visual “outfit” across all channels. Flexibility is also important, so change your outfit as often as needed. When something is no longer working for your branding, then make modifications. If your brand itself is developing and changing, then your branding should be actively doing the same. 

Be clear about your mission, vision and values!

State why you are here (mission) what you are doing or planning to do (vision), and what values you represent. Ideally, there will be alot of overlapping between you or your brand and your target group. The likelihood of success for your business increases with more merging between your identity and that of your target group. It also enables you to generate more added value for your customers. One of the most well-known visions stems from Apple founder Steve Jobs: “Man is the creator of change in this world. As such, he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them.” Jobs demonstrated that he perfectly understood what his customers want: empowerment through easy-to-use technology to assist them in all their endeavours. 

Know your target group!

You can only speak to your target group once you know who they really are. What good is the best sales strategy if it isn’t reaching the right customers?  Developing personas can help you put yourself in the shoes of your target group to understand them better. It can help you identify their needs and their pain points, and to understand current situations like the Covid pandemic from their perspective – what can your business do for them in these difficult times? Rather than reiterating the quality of your product, you should focus on being well-informed about what your customers currently need and want.  

Tell an emotional story!

Good branding always incorporates good storytelling: there’s perhaps no better way to trigger a customer’s emotions as with a well-told story. Storytelling is hands down the most effective method for evoking emotions. Try the following tip for your next story. 

Address these four personality traits in your storytelling messages: practical, action-oriented, social and emotional. We all possess these characteristics, albeit in varying degrees. Think about how your product or service can be satisfying for each trait. For example, an action-oriented customer might expect you to provide a quick fix for their problem, while an emotionally-guided customer might require more reassurance and persuasion from you to overcome their indecision.  

Ensure know, like & trust!

Customers have to know about your product or service before they can buy it. This is where advertising on the right channels comes in. Yet even a running campaign can’t guarantee that your audience will be converted into buyers. A keyword here is sympathy, because quite simply, who is going to buy something from someone they don’t like? A brand should be willing to provide friendliness, an open ear and a smile, all with sincerity. Be authentic, be yourself, put yourself out there with all your successes and even your failures. After all, a perfect life isn’t necessarily an exciting or interesting one. Engage others by sharing your experiences and your knowledge. Let your target group know that you are the person they can rely on to help them solve their problems. Demonstrating your know-how will enable you to generate a natural sense of authority. 

Create experiences!

There’s opportunity for creating experiences all throughout the customer’s journey. Ideally, there will be positive experiences in every stage: pre-sale (e.g. advertising, website), during the sale (e.g. customer service, choice of products on-site) and after-sale (product packing, quality). 

Break out of routines!

Think about how your product or service benefits the lives of your customers. Does it simplify things for them? Does it help them be more effective? Does it help them enjoy life more? Create added value by reinventing existing brand habits or inventing new rituals. Consider, right now admist the pandemic and the lockdowns to combat it, how you can rescue your customers and become their hero. 

Viewed from the consumer side, conditions are currently very favorable for branding activities and for attaining ample reach. During this crisis, many people have been spending more time online than they ever have before. Suddenly, there are brand-new user groups popping up and accessing digital offers. Businesses should seize this opportune moment to reach out to this online audience.