Your customer now controls your channels to market, they decide how they want to be communicated with and where they want to meet you, whether it be online, in-store, in print or outdoor etc. We, as business owners and brand custodians, have no choice but to ‘play in their sandpit’. We have to take a fully rounded approach to building brand equity, we have to be present across all channels that our customers ‘play in’. Your brand sits at the core of your business, and as such, at every customer touch-point. You have to be present in each channel your customer is, and in doing that, your brand must convey the desired positioning (your tagline) and communicate the key messages (what you want to say to your customers) in their language so they ‘hear it’.
So what is brand equity and why is it important?
Strong brands engage the customer in an ongoing relationship, and generate an emotional reaction to the brand building trust and loyalty. Brand awareness can be built relatively quickly through a tagline, an engaging ad, publicity and other forms of marketing. Ongoing loyalty however, takes time and managing the customer experience daily. It is the loyalty and trust that create the ultimate brand equity.
To support the equity in your brand, it’s important to create and nurture brand champions; people you can rely on to communicate the brand experience clearly and build loyalty amongst their peers. Employees are key brand champions and are one of the most important groups when generating brand loyalty. Internal branding is key, so take time to communicate your key brand messages to everyone, this ensures everyone is ‘singing from the same song sheet’.
From an external perspective the key brand differentiator when delivering on brand equity is customer service. Never over promise and under deliver, always exceed the customer’s expectations and keep your promises, then you are on your way to becoming a trusted brand.
The most important brand values in generating equity are honesty, trust, consistency and to some extent familiarity. How do you convey these valued feelings to a consumer in order to get them to search you out, especially in our 21st century society, where we are all constantly looking out the latest and greatest and being encouraged to try new things and operating across multiple channels, mediums and ‘sand pits’? The only way to fight this is to constantly deliver on your brand promise; it takes time, excellent customer service and a commitment to internal branding.
Unfortunately there is no quick fix!
Author: Lou Browne
Lou Browne has a long career history in multi-platform marketing B2C and B2B product and brand development having worked in industries as varied as wine and spirits, beauty and scuba diving. As well as a passion for social media, website design, events, marketing planning and strategy, she prides herself on her skills in relationship building.