Branding is the art of influencing customers’ perceptions. For better or worse, customers use these impressions when interacting with your brand.
Marty Neumier, author of The Brand Gap, describes branding as “…a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand.”
These gut feelings determine how your business builds the customer experience. When a customer expects an extraordinary shopping experience, they are more likely to have one.
This notion stems from confirmation bias—the idea of accepting information we agree with and rejecting information we don’t. Building a strong brand influences customers to have a positive experience. And that means more sales for your bottom line.
Let’s explore three channels for effective brand building: email, social media, and websites.
Brand Building with Email
Research shows that by 2019 more than 252 million Americans will be using email.
As more people enter the consumer market, businesses will need to strengthen their effectiveness within this channel.
“Email marketing creates a good first impression,” said Matthew Kinsman, founder of the branding agency Base Creative. “It shows professionalism, commitment to the business, and credibility.”
Receiving an email is an intimate interaction. Consumers aren’t required to give companies access to their email addresses.
Therefore, it’s vital that brands focus on introducing themselves to consumers. Show buyers that you understand their needs and are willing to cater to their interests.
“You’ll get more people opening your emails when you shift your focus to providing content that’s interesting to your subscribers—which is a great first step towards email marketing success,” says Ryan Pinkham, former content manager at Constant Contact.
Moreover, email is a practical outreach method for informing consumers about your products. Studies reveal that 86% of consumers appreciate promotional emails on a monthly basis. But don’t go overboard—only 15% of consumers want to receive multiple emails per week.
Work with your team to set up an email campaign schedule. Analyze internal data to discover which days and times work best for your consumers. Then, experiment with the schedule to find optimal times/
Visuals play an integral role in branding. And sending plain text emails isn’t appealing to consumers anymore.
Upgrade your campaigns by sending emails with vibrant images. Make sure you include your logo for brand consistency.
Below is an email snippet from Starbucks. Notice the simplicity and crisp imagery.
Email is part of the customer experience. Use the medium to welcome consumers to your brand.
Brand Building with Social Media
There are 2.3 billion active social media users. So, your social media account is a small star in a big galaxy. In order for your star shine, you must outsmart competitors and draw attention to your brand.
However, that’s not always easy. There are several challenges standing between your brand and a positive customer experience.
One challenge is interaction. Customers use social media to evaluate companies. They want to know if other consumers are happy with your products and customer service.
Because social media is a 24/7 customer hub, people are constantly talking about brands. And it’s up to your team to engage and develop an online persona worth valuing.
“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to wow your online presence,” says Sean Gardner, VP of Social Media at World Communication Forum.
Right now, brands receive more than 2 million negative social mentions each day.
Tools like Hootsuite and Mention make it easy to listen to consumers. Learn what they’re discussing and respond to comments in a timely manner.
The next challenge is voice. Generating brand messages through social networks is difficult. Your words and pictures can be misinterpreted.
The key is to develop a consistent social media voice that defines your brand.
For example, DiGiorno Pizza became a Twitter success story by live tweeting NBC’s The Sound of Music and relating it to pizza. For their team, voice centered around relevancy.
On the other hand, Charmin prefers the funny approach. The brand wants to delight customers with humor.
If you want to scale your efforts, try hosting a social media content. Entrepreneur contributor Aaron Agius offers helpful advice:
“A growing number of brands use strategies such as contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads. To take advantage of this effect, provide your audience with valuable incentives that encourage user participation and make sure that your campaigns offer value to all participants.”
Social media offers multiple ways to generate brand awareness. Select a technique and get started today.
Brand Building On Your Website
Your website is the epicenter of your digital branding efforts. Most marketing channels will lead to your site.
Ensure that the experience is above expectations. After all, this channel is controlled by you.
From design to copy, the customer should encounter a frictionless experience. No clunky images or hard-to-understand words.
“Customers appreciate the simplicity, ease, and user-friendly experience that a responsive site delivers. They are able to find what they are looking for quickly and will be more likely to favor your information and solutions to their business challenges,” writes Jorge Campos, software consultant at WBpro.
Your team also should embrace device-agnostic designs to maximize viewing. Research from Nielsen proves that users expect quality across devices.
“Communication is going device independent and end-users expect to be able to interact from any given device,” says Jesper Termansen, CMO of Templafy.
More than 200 million Americans own smartphones. This trend gave rise to the mobile-friendly website. These sites should have readable text without zooming, easy-to-access menu, and preferably, a one-column layout.
Use Google’s mobile-friendly site test to see how your website appears and ranks on mobile devices. Adjustment options are also available to ensure that your website is functioning properly.
Brand building starts with your company’s website. Adapt to your audience and go mobile.
Branding the Customer Experience
Branding is the link between customer perception and your company. Powerful branding efforts can create a worthwhile consumer experience.
Promote positive confirmation bias amongst all major channels. Use email to talk directly to customers. Develop a social media strategy to add personality. And make your website mobile-friendly.
Build your brand. Transform the customer experience.