It’s a simple fact of life that not every business can be number one in its field. Those companies that go on to become the most successful often do so because they have managed to set themselves apart from the competition, either by offering something that simply does the job better or providing something that offers a superior customer service. Incorporating a few of the key ideas and principles that have contributed to the success of other companies into your own branding strategy will significantly boost your chances of standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Provide stellar customer service
The notion that the customer is always right may be as old as the hills, but it’s all too easy to forget. Providing a legendary level of customer service will not only set you apart from your competitors – many of whom may be offering identical services – but will generate far greater loyalty in your customers, ensuring they return again and again. As the pace of the world we live in continues to quicken, the expectations of consumers to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently continues to grow.
Studies show around 75 percent of consumers see the way a company treats its customers as a true test of the corporate competence. Those who fail to receive the level of treatment they have come to expect will not only vote with their feet, they will also flock to social media to share their experience. Treat every customer as if they were royalty and they’ll be taking to social media to brag about how well they were looked after and recommend you to their friends instead.
Have a strong online presence
Choosing the most appropriate keywords for your business website is essential. If you choose right, your business sales can increase dramatically. If you choose poorly, your website will quickly get swept away by the sea of competitors. Google is taking over the whole of the online world when it comes to finding the right phrases that relate to your high-volume keywords; therefore, find a powerful alternative to the Google keyword tool and end with results that provide greater effectiveness by not being the same as the words gathered by everyone else. Regardless of what industry you operate in, the vast majority of interactions between your company and your customers – as well as your future staff – are likely to occur online so making sure you always give out the right impression is essential.
Target key influencers
Key influencers are those who establish and set the trends that everyone else follows. They are the people general consumers look to both for advice and inspiration. Keep in mind that the best influencers are not always the ones with the biggest audiences. Size matters, of course, but of far greater importance is the relationship between the influencer and their audience in terms of engagement and responsiveness. An influencer might reach a million people, but if only a fraction of that audience actually pay attention, the effect on your business will be far less dramatic than that of dealing with an influencer who has an audience of 100,000 of whom 10 percent act on the recommendations they receive.
Today, 90 percent of posts are made by so-called micro influencers – those with an audience of less than one million. In addition to being more effective, micro influencers are also far more cost-effective as they are unable to command the considerable fees demanded by bigger influencers.
Unless you come from a marketing background, you may be surprised at the amount of time and effort creating a unique brand identity can consume. The process should begin with clarifying your mission and target audience, then choosing words and images that reflect both. You also need to workshop your ideas with potential customers, explaining what it is you’ll be offering and asking whether the initial thoughts you have on branding successfully convey the right message.
In the early days of your business, your brand logo will be little-known, but it’s easy to seem from the designs favored by some of the most recognizable brands in the world – Nike, Apple, McDonalds and Coca-Cola – that simplicity and strong colors are a recurring theme. Taking a little time to ensure the image that may one day become visual shorthand for everything your company represents will significantly boost your chances of following in the corporate footsteps of such industry giants.
Offer a guarantee
Consumers love the idea of being in a win-win situation. If you are confident enough about the quality and integrity of your products to be able to be able to offer a 100 percent money back guarantee, it can pay huge dividends. You’ll be passing on a powerful message to your customers in that they will know you care about their personal satisfaction as well as your sales figures. The only caveat for this strategy is that, if and when the time comes to honor the guarantee, you must do so without delay. The damage the public image your company would suffer should you fail to do so is not worth comprehending. If you don’t want to go as far as providing a guarantee or such an offer simply doesn’t fit in with your business model, at the very least always be completely honest in your dealings with consumers and suppliers every step of the way.
Do one thing and do it well
Diversification can be a successful strategy for any business looking to achieve rapid growth, but don’t be in too much of a rush to add to your core products or services in the early days of your business. Amazon built a firm foundation in the book trade before moving into other areas. Although many of the coffee chains that populate city streets now offer a broader range of products, hot beverages remain at the heart of their trade. Focus on building market share for whatever is your company does best until you have managed to make a name for yourself. Only then should you look further afield.