The physical value of your products may be easy to calculate, but your consumers’ perceptions are what really determine the value your brand and products have in the marketplace. Because of this, your ability to build into your brand and communicate that value to customers through your marketing is essential to the long term success of your company.
THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING A GOOD BRAND
Brand equity is the perception customers have of your products and services based on what they think of your brand. Apple, Google and Microsoft are all considered to have high brand equity.
It’s difficult to assign a monetary value to a brand, but no matter how intangible brand equity may seem, a strong brand reaps considerable business benefits from Awareness, Credibility, Reputation, Customer satisfaction.
Those benefits serve as tools to marketers in the effort to attract that mindful consumer who wants to buy from a brand high in value.
THE MINDFUL CONSUMER
In his TEDtalk, “The post-crisis consumer”. John Gerzema asserts that buyers are no longer in retreat (as they were during the economic crisis) but have become what he refers to as mindful consumers.
In search for value, consumer considers factors like:
Research: Sixty seven percent of the buyer’s journey is completed digitally meaning the mindful consumer wants and has a lot of information on their side about which companies have what they want.
Social Proof: Having a great product isn’t enough. The mindful consumer looks to online reviews, peer recommendation and social media profiles for evidence of a well-like product.
Identity and preference: Customers are mindful of a relationship between their purchase decisions and their identity. They are looking to make a purchase decision which suits their personal brand.
These factors all play a part in a purchase decision and all are about more than just the product. At the core of their search, customers are looking to form a bond with a brand they perceive as high in value.
6 WAYS TO COMMUNICATE BRAND VALUE
If brands are created in the mind, it’s vital to understand how to market your company positively so as to affect the perception leads and customers have of your brand.
- Work from inside out- The world is full of boring stuff – brown cows – which is why so few people pay attention. Seth Godin writes “Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service. To be perceived valuable, your brand has to stand out from the herd – be a purple cow. A strong brand is about superlatives: the best customer service, most innovative, the happiest employees.
The customer experience is the foundation from which you build the rest of your marketing strategy to strengthen your brand.
- Target your brand message – You have to find a group who really desperately cares about what you have to say, according to Seth Godin in his TED talk ”How to get your ideas to spread”, Godin asserts that building value means finding the crowd that would find your brand and products valuable in the first place, rather than just casting a wide net. This means find the marketing channels your ideal audience is on and tailor your brand message to that marketing channel.
- Maintain high standards for design- Design is visual communication. How you use colour, shapes and font or organise elements on a website page, email campaign or even a product package will dictate whether or not your brand is perceived as valuable. How you package your brand affects how your brand is perceived and interpreted. Bad design has the adverse effect – just watch this insightful spoof.
- Give your brand meaning – In the same way beauty is in the eye of the beholder, all value is perceived value. To give meaning to your brand:
Make it a status symbol, In Rory Sutherland’s TED talk, he tells the story of a king who, to prevent famine, decreed the potato a royal crop and put guards around the fields to make the previously rejected vegetable desirable. The king changed the perception of the crop’s worth, not the crop itself. You may not be able to decree your products or brand a “royal crop” but you can strive to create the same kind of perception of your product.
Make it symbolic, in the same talk, Sutherland notes that during a war, the wealthy in Prussia were encouraged to give their jewellery to support the war effort. The pieces were replaced with replicas made out of cast iron. Though they carried decidedly less intrinsic value, the pieces came to have great symbolic value to the people of Prussia because of the sacrifice they represented and became desirable during that time period.
Connect to emotions, According to Nielsen’s VP, emotional preference is important while services may be similar, that emotional connection can create the perception that the “connected” brand exceeds customer expectations. It means presenting a product, no matter its function in an empathetic way. Google Chrome achieved this in their Dear Sophie ad. Email is a straightforward product. However, Google used the message to connect with customers on an emotional level.
- Provide thought leadership and valuable information in your content
Content is a prime way to communicate your brand’s value and continuously increase its strength. Content can demonstrate thought leadership to your audience, helping to build trust, as well as delight customers into becoming your loyal brand advocates. So, how do you keep your focused on adding value for the customer?
Buyer Personas, These semi-fictional profiles representing your ideal buyers should include details of your customers’ interest, concerns, pain points and other details to guide the creation of content.
Buyer stories, Again, to create brand equity, the buyers have to realise the value. So content must correspond to the content leads which customers are looking for.
Plain language, The language you use in the conference room is not appropriate for content if you expect to add value for the buyer. The writing in your content needs to cater for the audience to whom you are trying to connect with.