The company / consumer relationship is an interesting one. Like many of your personal relationships, there are a variety of exchanges made that can benefit [and sometimes hurt] each party involved. Although, within your personal relationships these exchanges tend to be more of an emotional nature, rather than monetary within your business relationships, there is one common denominator that everyone easily forgets when it comes to the latter – both relationships involve human beings on the opposite end.
When most of us put our consumer hats on, our immediate perception is that we are dealing with Company A rather than the actual real-life people we have to interact with to get what we want. All you have to do is log into Facebook and compare personal pages to any given corporate page. The things people will say to a “company” versus what they would say to a “friend” is exponentially more aggressive. But that’s human nature and this isn’t a bleeding heart article about how people should stop bullying poor companies that are only trying to do their best. The point is, that the concept of personifying a business, your business, is the first step towards a successful brand strategy.
Limiting your understanding of brand to simply a logo and compilation of graphics is an out-dated approach. It ensures the public looks passed the real things that give you your competitive edge.
The process of branding is about discovering the human side to a company or organization. Limiting your understanding of brand to simply a logo and compilation of graphics is an out-dated approach. It ensures the public looks passed the real things that give you your competitive edge. Everyone wants to relate to something. Although cosmetic elements such as logos, colour and type are helpful tools towards building your image, they don’t rank very high on the relatability scale. Stories, ideas and people, on the other hand, now these are things red-blooded, emotionally-driven consumers can get on board with… That’s what branding is. It’s about sniffing out how you, your staff, your company, your products/services are relatable to whatever slice of the population pie you choose to reach for.
Analogy time: You as a human being live your life by a set of inherent ideals. Whether you notice or not, these ideals guide how you behave and interact day to day. You don’t just wear a t-shirt with your name and best qualities written on it and expect it to make you a bunch of new friends. No, you have to express yourself, share your stories, ideas and beliefs whenever you can, to whoever to can. It’s the people that have these things in common with you who stick around. That’s just how we work. So if your company is made up of one or more human beings and your target market is made up one or more human beings, shouldn’t the same concept apply?
The big challenge is getting everyone on the same page. Everyone is different so a powerful brand strategy starts with a simple idea that both your staff and your target audience will hop on the bandwagon for. One idea leads to another idea and snowballs until you find yourself with a bunch of creative thoughts that form a united approach to how you communicate with your customers. With proper development, your brand can guide your business initiatives and therefore influence your public perception. Are you a compassionate company but your director of sales is super mean? Fire your director of sales. Are you a fun company but your store front is bland? Paint it purple or something. Are you a reliable company but your product can’t be relied upon? Make better shit.
No one is good at everything, just like no company is good at everything. Use branding to guide your select choice of specialties and focus on them. Your brand will evolve and pivot over time but as long as you keep acting on a strong set of relatable ideals and maintain a level of transparency, people [your customers], will stick around. They might even say a few nice things about your company on the internet as well… Imagine that.