No matter from which angle you look at it, good marketing is a critical part of financial success for any business. But, fail to recognize and use its potential, and you might put yourself in a delicate situation.
A situation more baffling to most business owners, though, is one where they’re using every marketing practice praised out there, but their business is still sputtering. How is it possible that even when putting yourself in front of the right audience, at the right place, and at the right time, your business still can’t make a profit?
The answer lies in three simple words: a weak brand.
It’s All About How They Perceive You
As previously mentioned, Marketing has been a powerful tool for businesses over the years. Thanks to the Internet and then Lady Big Data, it has never been easier for companies to study and define an audience, to decide on the right price, to advertise products or services at the perfect moment, and to showcase them in the optimally adequate way.
One big misconception about Marketing, though, is that it gives companies the right to dictate what they stand for.
We all know the Internet catapulted marketing practices into becoming essential elements of a company’s success. But, as much as it helps brands understand their audiences to make more profit, it also enabled customers to talk to each other about products and services. And it helps to exchange information about what the best options are and to praise or criticize a brand based on its business decisions.
The coup de grâce? While your customers are in that room, debating whether your brand is worthy or not, you’re locked out. That’s right. When it comes to branding, you have no say. While your advertising tactics sure give your customers an idea of what you stand for, they’ll make up their minds in the end.
On the other hand, branding — the essence of your business — is all about how they perceive you. It is not what you keep yapping on and on about in your TV commercials and IG stories. Even though you’re not in full control of the conversation, strategic branding allows you to steer it the right way.
How Can You Steer Your Brand Conversation in the Right Direction?
Fortunately for your business and its financial viability, not all is lost. Besides the usual stand-out advice, there are still a couple of steps you can take to ensure your brand stands tall and strong in the minds of your existing and potential customers. These steps aren’t that complicated. Yet you’d be surprised at how many businesses fail to consistently respect and follow them.
It’s 2022, folks. Show people that you care about ongoing socio-economical issues. Open up and have a conversation about your position and your actions. What are you planning to do as a company to address those issues? How should your employees feel coming into work amid, for example, a pandemic?
Showing good business ethics and talking about them can truly be a game-changer for how people perceive your brand. Answer the following questions to evaluate your brand ethics:
- Are you a reliable source of information for your employees and your customers?
- Are you overselling or making false advertisements about your products?
- Are you making sure your products and services bring complete satisfaction?
- Are you taking into account your corporate citizenship? Have you thought about local charities? Your environmental footprint?
There are only a few industries where players have the luxury of not caring too hard about their image. Most times, because the product in question is a necessity and people are going to buy it anyway. If you’re reading this, I doubt your company falls in that category. So, honestly answer those questions and start taking actions where you’re lacking.
Deliver on your promises
Your advertising puts you in front of your audience’s eyes and ears, and now it’s time to deliver. You might say, my product is the number one product in this area, and our XYZ services are guaranteed to leave your guests in awe. Every business and freelancer makes promises. Whatever it is you told your audience you were good at, you better back it up.
In a 2018 blog article, digital marketing agency Thoughtlabs noted that unmet expectations are the death of brands. Although they only studied social media followings, a correlation between brand enthusiasm on digital platforms and the real world seems logical.
Delivering on your promises is the first principle that will keep your brand trustworthy in the eyes of your audience. But before you make any promises, a good starting or readjusting point — depending on your situation — is to survey and listen to what your audience is expecting of you.
Again, you won’t be able to participate in the conversation. Your role here is to listen, take notes, and then apply what you’ve learned.
Think of platforms like Quora, Reddit, or even Google Reviews. The conversation happening in those arenas can sometimes provide you with great nuggets of information about where your product, service, or even industry is lacking.
To paraphrase brand guru Marty Neumeier, there are two parts of a successful branding process: strategy and execution.
Both are equally important. Unfortunately, some companies, and sometimes even the agencies selling them branding services, tend to put all their focus and efforts in only putting a strategy in place. The best strategy in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to put it to the test, though.
Having a great plan is good, but knowing how to execute it is even better. Go the distance. Show your customers, and maybe more importantly your team, that you’re dedicated to being memorable for the right reasons. Show them that you will deliver on your promises and that all your marketing efforts are not just for show but are here so that you can finally prove to everyone how great your brand is.
Work on Your Brand Now to Avoid Long Term Disaster
Sputtering sales, a lack of profitability, or an unmotivated team, a weak brand in your customers’ eyes is bound to create business issues you might find very hard to solve if you don’t address them right away.
Yes, Marketing is and will always be essential to your success. But most importantly, it’s the fireworks and the smoke and mirrors.
Branding is your essence. What you’re made of and what you stand for. Branding is the foundation, and the work completed backstage so that your products and services can shine when called upon the advertising stage.
Define your positioning. Find out what your audience is expecting of you. Listen so that you can come up with a sound strategy.
Then, build on it to deliver on your promises. Create memorable experiences. Execute your strategy so you can finally get your sputtering business engine going full speed.