“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” - Simon Mainwaring
Most businesses are concerned with keeping customers and attracting new ones. How important are these two things and is it just important to companies looking to thrive in the marketplace?
The January-February 2017 Harvard Business Review published an article, Customer Loyalties Overrated, that explained how to win and keep customers. Authors A.G.Lafley and Roger L. Martin explained that organizations “need to remain relevant and superior” if they want to keep and attract customers. In this same article, the recent retired CEO of Procter & Gamble (P&G) A.G. Lawley and former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto Roger L. Martin shares several strategies to keep and attract customers.
Not only will their strategies help your business, but it will also help those looking to individually brand and market themselves. We all have a brand, but the question is do you know how you have branded yourself and is it time for a rebranding?
There are some people that don’t like to look at themselves as salesmen or saleswomen. However, we are always selling ourselves. Whether it is our families, friends, or team members at work, we are selling ourselves. Yes, these people know us, but what we say and how we live communicates powerful messages to everyone around us. So let me share a few of their strategies and discuss how you can brand and market your organization and yourself individually.
1. Create good habits. We have heard of bad habits, but you can create good habits that help to brand and market you and your organization. It is true that we are creatures of habit. Starting now creating habits that will support your personal goals and your company’s mission statement. You will notice others buying into who you are and what your business is about because of brand recognition by developing good habits.
2. Publicly make your brand clear. It our job to decrease people’s mental work when it comes to choosing our products. You may have a tangible product or you may be the product. If you want people to choose you or your organization, publicly make your brand clear publicly. It is hard to brand and market yourself or your organization without transparency. The more mental energy people have to expend to figure out your brand usually suggests a lack of clarity. A lack of clarity leads to confusion. Think about the last time you were confused about a product. Most of the time whenever I am confused about a product, it usually leads to either an apprehensive purchase or I usually won’t waste my time with the purchase.
3. Give people a reason. Regardless of how great your brand is, people still need a reason to buy into you and your organization. Your brand and product must have relevance. There has to be a great reason why people need what you have to offer. Most of the greatest inventions and companies have started from an industry or global need. Do people need what you have to offer? If not, go back to the drawing board and discover how your passion can help and serve others.
4. Be creative inside your brand. Although people love a clear and recognizable brand, but this should not stop you from being create within your brand. In the article aforementioned, it speaks about the painful lessons P&G learned with its innovation after launching Tide over 70 years ago. Tide has since experienced several creative changes to it, but P&G strived to keep the Tide brand simple, clear, and recognizable to its customers. In addition to P&G’s Tide brand, the article talks about the innovative way Netflix transformed itself from a DVD mail delivery service to a video streaming service. Netflix helped meet a relevant need for their customers.
5. Keep your communication simple. Humans are smart, but I do agree with this article when it comes to branding. This article states, “Remember: The mind is lazy. It doesn’t want ramp up attention to absorb a message with a high level of complexity.” Look at your current personal and professional branding theme and ask yourself - Is your branding theme too complex? If people don’t know what you are about, simplify your message. A child should be able to quickly understand it.
Now you have 5 proven branding strategies to make you successful. All of these strategies take a consistent commitment to sustainable development. The question now is what will you do with these strategies? Will attempt to make your brand simple, clear, and recognizable? Or will you brand you and/or your organization to be complex, confusing, and unrecognizable? Don’t fall into the trap of making branding complicated. Just remember, you will be more successful with a more simple and clear message.
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