Back in 2002, PayPal, a money transfer service established 4 years before, was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion. It’s clear that this innovative concept had a great future at the dawn of the digital revolution, and the price showed its tremendous potential. What we’re talking about here is brand value, and PayPal’s value could be easily translated into a ten-figure price. Besides this obvious and easily estimated calculation, there’s a much more complex, abstract, and elusive concept that determines the success of a brand.
Fast-forward 18 years later, and here it is PayPal with its current enterprise value of $75.54 billion. This whopping value growth is not only the result of developments and smart investments, but also of strong brand equity, which is actually the commercial value of a product or service, based on customer perception. What are the best strategies for strengthening brand equity?
The quality never goes out of style
Having quality products or services is the first and the most important strategy. Without this factor, everything else is in vain, as consumers have a countless number of options and they have no intention of settling for a mediocre solution. If you don’t deliver on your promises, you can’t expect repeat purchases and loyalty. Bad word-of-mouth marketing will come after you and you won’t be able to save your tarnished reputation. It’s better to stick to a couple of products or services whose features and functionalities you have polished to perfection than to try to forcibly introduce new, seemingly-innovative and yet half-baked products.
Instead of standing out among your competitors, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Something similar happened to Coca-Cola with its infamous New Coke recipe in 1985. In an attempt to outdo Pepsi, the giant from Atlanta created a drink that would taste like Pepsi. Needless to say, this was an epic fail, and Coke got its distinctive taste back a couple of weeks later.
Loyal to the core
Building customer loyalty is a surefire way of fortifying your brand equity. There are numerous ways to recruit an army of loyal customers, but it’s important to learn from the best. No doubt that Apple is the champion of customer loyalty with its long lines of diehard Apple fanboys camping outside the company’s shops every time a new iPhone hits the market. Here are a couple of highly effective tactics that will turn your target audience into a devoted following:
- Play the emotional connection card. Research studies show that establishing an emotional connection with your customers is more important than customer satisfaction. Moreover, if your customers are loyal and if they have a strong emotional connection with your brand, they’re 5 times more likely to forgive, a survey says. To achieve this, you should actively interact with your customers, listen to them, and develop the company’s personality through a relatable narrative.
- Play the status symbol card. People like to feel special, and creating a product that will make your customers feel that they’re members of an exclusive club is an effective method of earning their loyalty for life. This psychological trick operates on the subconscious level, by allowing people to get closer to and reflect an idealized version of themselves.
Apart from these abstract and almost philosophical approaches to building customer loyalty, there’s also a highly effectivetactic that you can start making the most of right away. By giving out free branded products and promotional items, you’ll score a lot of brownie points with your audience because everybody loves freebies. Right? The basis for this method is a psychological mechanism known as the reciprocity principle which, basically, means that your customers will be obliged to return the favor and buy from you if you give them something for free.
Consistency is everything
It’s not hard to see that brand equity is pretty intangible and that it’s essential to work on it from all the possible angles. Creating a consistent brand image and communicating a consistent brand message are vital in showing your customers that your brand is serious and dedicated to delivering exactly what they need. Your brand message should be the same across all channels of communication, and you need to make sure that you use the appropriate wording and terminology, in line with the ones your audience uses. It’s important to address them in their own language, so to speak, and to create a narrative that is familiar to them.
Every segment of your business should emit the same vibe, so for example, if your target audience consists of young adults, make sure that your brand is visually appealing to them, as well as that you use the lingo that they understand and can relate to. In order to achieve this level of expertise, you need to research, analyze, and know your customers. Social media gives you an excellent opportunity to find out as much as possible about your target audience and create a specific, surgically precise marketing message that will locate and hit their sweet spot.
By mastering these strategies, you’ll maximize your brand equity, grow your business, and boost your sales numbers in the long run.