Among the factors instrumental in success or failure of a business, one is branding. If done right, branding can help a business jump many hurdles. If done wrong, it can tarnish the reputation of a business.
The 2015 KFC “fried rat” fiasco is a primer on the importance of public perception. The news of KFC serving fried rat to customers was phony. But the rumor whirlwind was so strong that even loyal KFC customers went into criticism mode and began abusing the Kentucky-based chicken wing franchise.
It took a whole month for KFC to regain the lost image.
The incident shows public perception can be irrational. It can be turned against anyone or any brand, and at anytime. Further, social media can fuel it.
Here are some strategies to polish up a brand’s image:
A unique proposition
Customers are tired because of tirades. They have seen almost every maneuvering technique used by brands. In 2016, what customers expect most from brands are transparency and uniqueness. The two are actually tied together – unique brand strategies don’t require manipulation and increase a brand’s transparency quotient.
Companies that uphold a unique premise and connect it to their branding have an easy time dishing out a unique selling proposition. In the food and beverage industry, Cadbury, Bournville and Toblerone are all top chocolate brands. To compete with them, the Mast Brothers (Rick and Michael Mast) have come up with the idea of DIY chocolate making. It’s their USP.
Despite not being among the celebrated shoe brands, TOMS Shoes has a niche customer-base because whenever someone buys a pair of shoes from them, they hand over a new pair to a child-in-need. Even though some people claim such acts of charity isn’t doing any good, their generosity cannot be undermined.
Furnishing a selling proposition that’s totally unique helps your branding rise above the fold and turn all eyes. More importantly, it establishes your identity as a brand.
Consistency is key
There are too many bottlenecks for branding – both anticipated and unanticipated. Consistency is the key to overcome these bottlenecks. To build positive branding, an enterprise needs to maintain consistency. As discussed in the previous paragraph, uniqueness pads out identity.
So a business must have a distinctive approach and a unique selling proposition. The awareness of consistency should permeate through its hierarchy. From c-suite executives to customer service reps – everyone should place consistency above all other things.
Imagine you run a golf-equipment manufacturing firm and your USP is you only use biodegradable products in your manufacturing units. If any non-renewable product is ever found in your warehouse or production unit, then an uproar would soon follow hurting your branding. Surveys have already shown that 90% holiday shoppers expect consistency from brands. So be consistent in whatever you do. Or else, public perception towards your branding will turn negative.
This one might sound out of the box, but bear with me. This is the age of visuals – the more visuals you have, the easier it is to endorse your brand. Rejecting product photography is turning your face from visuals, despite knowing their importance in marketing.
Let’s find out how product photography benefits brands:
Increased revenue: The presentation of a product is as important as its quality. Leverage product photography to present your product in a captivating manner to prospective customers. If they are impressed, then its sale will increase, fetching you and better revenue.
Tap multi-channel marketing: Product photography enables you to promote your brand across all platforms – social networking, video sharing and even email and newsletters. Tapping more than one platform is better for brand recognition. With product photography, it is guaranteed.
Develop content catalogue: If you run an online shop, product photography aids you in cataloguing content. The stunning product photographs in your inventory can quickly capture visitor’s attention. Besides, you can reproduce and reuse those photographs in the form of print or electronic format.
Because product photography consists of the above benefits, include it in your marketing plan.
Make new connections
Branding is all about creating a network. Failing to make connections with industry leaders, with influentials and more importantly, with audience leads to decreased visibility. Put simply, it enfeebles your branding.
It’s 2016 and a number of brands are interested in co-marketing than competition. Case studies also prove that co-marketing comes with greater benefits for brands than competition. Among its many benefits, one is connecting with people/brands with a huge follower-base on social media. Such individual and brands can cross-promote.
Content marketing is widely acknowledged as the most resourceful tool for branding. A content marketer called Jeff Stephens, founder of Top Shelf Blogging explained the advantage of cross-promotion by saying “sharing others’ content establishes a deeper direct relationship with that person and endears you to those you have yet to meet.”
Making new connection inevitably leads to co-marketing and co-branding, even though there’s a little difference between the two. In the end, it polishes up a brand’s image.
The four strategies, discussed here are simple to follow. Brands don’t need to cough up too much money or have technical expertise needed to use cutting-edge tools. Just a little marketing acumen and diligence – and that’s all.
Hence, follow these strategies and stay ahead of others.