Establish a quality reputation as a good corporate citizen
In the brick-and-mortar world, building a brand is fairly simple. The store is pristine. The warehouse runs like a Swiss watch. Your company sponsors community activities and even a sports team. In the real world, it’s easy to establish a quality reputation as a good corporate citizen within your service region.
Not so on the web. On the web, your brand is determined by some of the same factors as brick-and-mortar, but, because information about your store, company is out there for all to see, the process is more delicate. Additional considerations should be made to build a quality reputation. Online, you are what people believe.
Brand management is not something you should jump into without a plan.
Brand building is a challenge.
The primary challenge of brand building is successfully driving growth through positioning to key customer and market needs. Sounds easy enough… right? Well, not really.
Misconceptions of Brand Management
- A majority of executives still believe that the company (rather than the customer or other stakeholders) is the primary “owner” of the brand.
- Over the next three years, a quality offer will continue to be the most important driver of brand equity, but, in reality, word-of-mouth is expected to replace advertising in relative importance.
- Effectively targeting customers in this environment is problematic. Most tend to use similar positioning and messages for multiple customer segments—whether they are relevant or not.
- Many believe their organizations are not well-equipped with the skills that are needed to build brands in the near future.
Standing out in the crowd
In today’s complex new economy, how the brand is positioned is a critical concern. Positioning has always been about differentiation. But in this unfolding complex environment, differentiation is short-lived. “What have you done for me lately?” certainly applies. Of greater importance over the long term is the issue of relevance to a vast number of groups—from current and future target customers to partners to traditional and web-based media. And what’s relevant to one will not be relevant to all.
Using different reputation-building tactics will not help you to achieve long-term relevance into a brand. In order to build long-term relevance factors, thoughtfully-tailored “micro-positioning” built around specific benefits and messages is required.
What is micro-positioning? Well, to put it simply, when it comes to positioning a brand, one size does not fit all. It’s not just an issue of the effectiveness of the traditional gauge of differentiation. Rather, it is establishing the relevance of important benefits to audiences whose interests, influences, and motivations can be very different.
Many marketing and economics models are built around the notion of micro-positioning. In practice, many businesses use some combination of different strategies. For example, many companies advertise their price promotions on local TV channels or radio stations.
Price promotions draw customers, but…
Although price promotions draw customers, it is perceived as an inferior marketing strategy. Marketing researchers have found that price promotions actually erode brand equity in the long term. In contrast, however, an entire business that is based purely on price promotions and has become incredibly popular recently is Groupon. And although there is nothing earth-shattering about the business model, Groupon is actually harming small businesses. A major objection about Groupon model is that it brings in customers that are just looking for the deals and they will not repeat the purchases at full price. This is a very valid argument.
Strategies to drive the momentum toward recognition of a brand:
- Create a compelling marketing strategy to drive business toward your brand
- Control the message of your brand
- Manage your brand’s reputation carefully
- Launch carefully planned and pervasive innovation
- Manage marketing investments
- Make customer focus a prime focus
- Consider green hosting for your website hosting needs
Reputation management – You ARE what people believe.
There simply is no better salesperson for your business than a satisfied customer. Stay involved. Monitor projects and keep them on schedule. Do not be late or miss project milestones. This is like instant death. Lose money. That’s right. Even if you lose money on a client or customer, that one individual can bad mouth you globally today. Check out Angieslist.com if you don’t believe it. You may lose some cash up front but, again, a happy client is your best salesperson – and they’re FREE. Sweet.
Employ the highest levels of security software and let your site visitors know that you respect their privacy and the security of their personal information. Trust-building is the foundation of a long business relationship.
Finally, under-promise; over deliver. Works every time.
The new economy that continues to unfold holds considerable promise for deeper, more meaningful, and more profitable relationships with customers and other stake-holders. How effectively businesses go about realizing the potential determines who builds a reputable and valuable brand, and who closes their doors. Build your brand, and yours will be the company that builds a reputable and valuable brand.