Best practices for creating brand relevancy
Be relevant by being personal
Mass communication is dead. Today’s technology has ushered in a new age where customization and personalization are the defining elements in a customer’s experience with a brand. Smart companies will look to use the knowledge they have about their customers — their interests, preferences and passions — to customize the brand experience and make it relevant and sticky.
Knowing what your customer’s needs are and how you are meeting them is key to delivering a tailored experience that will build brand engagement and strengthen long-term relationships with customers. Customization is already taking place in things like emails, e-commerce and direct marketing, but more and more brands are delivering a tailored experience throughout the entire arc of customer engagement, including in-store coupons and discounts, personalized recommendations and customized web page views.
Be careful though. Don’t over personalize to the extent that customers feel you’ve invaded their privacy, and always ask for permission. We all prefer to control what’s being served
up to us.
Simple is sometimes better.
Every brand has an existing level of brand equity with their customers. Massive, unnecessary overhauls that ignore that equity can be dangerous and could potentially damage the brand to the point of no return. Sometimes, renewal can come with just a few simple changes that reposition the brand, still focusing on the core values while adjusting to the dynamic needs of customers.
When it’s time to change, just do it.
Customers change and markets evolve. Brands must be able to evolve as well. Staying relevant to your customer base means not being afraid to embrace change when it’s appropriate and makes sense. Have the courage to let go of products, services and even customers that no longer make sense. Innovation is critical for growth, but it should be done thoughtfully, in ways that support the core value the brand is delivering, meet the needs of the customer and are consistent with the brand experience.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
Brand relevancy is intimately connected to the expectations of your customers and how the brand is meeting those expectations — what is the unmet need you’re addressing? Identify that, carve out your space, and own it. Get very clear about the personality of your customer base and focus on serving each audience’s needs. This is more difficult than it sounds, as many companies try to be all things to all people, which often results in a company delivering a product or service that is too broad to appeal deeply to any one segment, preventing a brand from truly taking root. Build from the core and grow from there.
Control what you can.
Many factors will influence the perception of how relevant a brand is, some of which are controllable and some of which aren’t. Though brands can try to influence what customers hear from their peers, in the market and in the media, the speed with which information is transferred today and the interconnections of people make it impossible to have complete control. Instead, brands should identify and focus on the areas they are able to control such as the brand experience, customer engagement, in-store and online interactions, customer service or the quality of the product or service.
Article by Rob Barnett
Partner & Brand Strategist at Straydog