All the respondents in Hummingbird’s 2021 study embraced the importance of the four aspects of branding: loyalty, strategy, awareness, and identity. No matter which attitudinal segment the participants fit best in, they all agreed that these four aspects of branding are “very important.”
At Hummingbird, we talk a lot about these aspects. We agree with the professionals we surveyed — loyalty, strategy, awareness, and identity are all equally important. Very important. Implementing just one without the others would leave a company’s branding weak at best.
In this post, we’ll review the four aspects of branding and reexamine what makes each aspect so very important.
Unlike customer loyalty, which is money-based (prices and discounts), brand loyalty is perception-based (image and experience). Brand-loyal customers believe that a certain brand represents both higher quality and better service than any competitor—and the price does not matter.Investopedia
Brand-loyal customers are what every company should be aiming for. Several key strategies contribute to building brand loyalty: finding your company’s value, developing its unique voice, and communicating to your customers just how valuable they are.
Your Value: Creating brand loyalty starts with finding your value, the reason you exist. What is it that your company brings to the marketplace that no other company does… or at least not in the same way that you do? You’ll find your brand purpose where the needs and wants of the consumers who buy from you meet the one-of-a-kind products and services you provide.
Your Unique Voice: When you’ve established your value, it’s easier to develop a consistent message that stays the same across all communication channels. That message is your unique voice, and when it’s communicated consistently over time, it begins to build credibility in the minds of customers and potential customers. They start to see your brand as reliable and trustworthy, and when that happens, they’re more likely to be loyal to your brand.
Your Customers: Knowing your company’s purpose and developing its unique voice contribute enormously to brand loyalty. But we can’t forget the importance of letting your customers know how much you value them. At Hummingbird, we like to say, “People want to know they matter, so find ways to make your customers feel special.” Acknowledging how valuable your customers are to you will transform them from people who simply have a sense of “customer loyalty” to “brand-loyal customers” who believe your brand is the best quality and service out there.
Investopedia says, “Companies with high scores on brand loyalty grow revenues 2.5 times faster than industry peers.” Brand loyalty matters.
Brand strategy also matters. One thing that’s always surprised us at Hummingbird is that most companies do not do brand strategy at all. That’s surprising because as a branding agency, we believe it’s an essential element of overall business strategy.
As a matter of fact, brand strategies should support most of a company’s overall goals, whether they be revenue building, culture building, process building, or just about anything else!
Brand strategy is part of a business plan that outlines how the company will build rapport and favorability within the market. The goal of a brand strategy is to become memorable in the eyes of the consumer so that they decide to patronize your business over the competition…A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.HubSpot
Here are some tips we give our clients for building a better branding strategy:
- Keep your company’s mission and vision up to date. Revisit them regularly to be sure they always reflect who you are and how you’re responding to the current needs in the marketplace.
- Stay focused on your core values and competitive advantages. Be sure your marketing collateral communicates those values.
- Talk to your customers. Find out why they really buy from you. Sometimes the reasons we think customers are buying from us are different from the reasons they’re actually buying from us. Find out their why by interviewing them.
- From the beginning, build your brand inside out. All of your employees — from the top down — are your brand. Communicate your mission, vision, values, competitive advantages, and more to them, so they can be a part of marketing for you.
- Keep your messaging consistent. You may be tired of telling your brand story, but when you’re getting weary of it, others are just getting used to it. Keep it consistent so others recognize and remember it.
Brand awareness is familiarity with your brand, and it’s another key to successful branding strategy. How familiar are your current customers and potential customers with your brand?
Building awareness is the work of familiarizing them… the tactics your company uses to get the word out about who you are, who you serve, and how you serve them. And because you can’t grow awareness without reaching a broader audience than you already have, building brand awareness requires investment!
Reaching a broader audience is done through targeted advertising and other measurable tactics. One of the biggest mistakes we see is companies wanting to see growth metrics but not investing in targeted digital media! But that’s where you’ll invest and find the ROI.
Build brand awareness through relationship building strategies, organic social media and other digital marketing opportunities. But don’t forget to invest in targeted media to increase awareness!
“Your brand identity is your values, your messages, what you promise your customers and the emotions your customers feel when they interact with your business. In short, your brand identity is the personality of the business; and, just like with people, personality matters when you’re trying to make an impression.”
Brand identity is often seen as “branding,” but it’s only one element. Remember, your logo is not your brand… your company culture and the promises you keep to your customers are your brand.
Do your customers trust that you’ll do what you say you’ll do? Does every interaction with customers deliver on the brand promise?
The visual elements of your brand should reflect your company’s culture and your brand promise, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle! Use your identity to express core values, style, character, and more.
Brand loyalty, strategy, awareness and identity are four key aspects of branding. Is your company embracing them all?