A brand is defined as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” – American Marketing Association (AMA).
Going by this definition, building a brand is all about creating brand recall and building a positive perception of a company, the products and services in the minds of people via attributes mentioned in the definition of “brand”. When we think of famous brands like Coca-Cola or Mc Donald’s, what comes to mind is our feelings associated with the brand. So, it is very important to make sure that customers have positive feelings associated with a brand at any stage, be it during product research or purchase or post sales.
Now, let us try to understand how to achieve brand recall. There are 3 key aspects of brand building in the Internet age – positive online presence, good customer service and differentiated products.
Thanks to the evolution of the internet and online information on the product and its reviews, customers are no longer fooled by television commercials. So, companies need to work towards having good brand reviews of products and services on the web. The more a company invests in doing this, the more successful it will be in making higher profit margins. Employee branding and a good work culture also contribute to the company reputation. So, it is safe to say that “Internal employee satisfaction is a reflection of external customer satisfaction.” Ultimately, every feedback and every comment matters if a brand wants to achieve the top spot.
Other than the regular means of brand building until purchase stage, we must work on customer satisfaction post purchase. Gone are those days when the payment for a product or service was considered to be the end of a sale. Now, companies must focus more on providing great post purchase service to the customer. Social Media channels like Twitter are good means of being in touch with happy customers and sorting out issues with disgruntled customers on a daily basis.
Compared to before, customers in the current generation consider it a matter of privilege to be associated with a good brand. For example, owning brands like Apple and Nike induce a feeling of pride and satisfaction among the customers, thanks to their cutting edge/ world class product designs and promotional strategies. So to say, brands must work on creating a unique experience of products and services for its customers by investing heavily in R&D of its products and services.
Another factor that is important in building a brand and retaining customers is introducing loyalty programs/ discounts /prizes to keep the loyal customer glued to your brand for as long as possible.
Once all these above factors have been taken care of, another thing a company must focus on is, the kind of celebrities associated with the brand as they make or break the brand. For example, Tiger Woods was associated with Accenture, as he was considered a celebrity with a huge fan following, until an unfortunate event in his life, changed that perception. In such a situation, a brand would immediately want to break the contract with such a celebrity to save itself from brand damage.
Overall, a brand must focus on each and every aspect of a customer lifecycle in order to build a sustainable brand over a period of time.
If you have any views on building a brand, please share them on the comments below.