Today’s business owners have to keep pace with their customers’ needs to stay relevant in a changing marketplace.
According to Walter Pike, founder of PiKE | New Marketing: “Whereas in the past the brand and its marketing controlled the message the consumer got, that message is now to a large extent obtained from people using the Internet. Your brand is what your customers say it is.”
Pike adds that understanding your brand is key to growing it successfully. “An easy way to think of a brand is as the overall reputation of your product or service. It’s how your customer sees you or your product. This means that the core way to build that brand is through the experience you give your customer.”
Here are five ways to keep your brand relevant in today’s dynamic marketplace:
1. Make sure you deliver a quality experience.
Your goal should be to design and deliver the best experience by consistently delivering what your customers care about, crave or expect. Understanding your market, and incorporating what makes an experience special for them as individuals, elevates the value of your brand.
* Make sure your service levels are as high as possible.
It’s no longer enough to offer the cheapest prices or have the fanciest store front or logo. You and your staff need to be customer-orientated, helpful, enthusiastic and make customers feel as if it’s a pleasure to serve them, not a drag. After all, they’re the ones doing you a favour by giving you their custom – not the other way round!
3. Understand that you don’t own your brand – your customers do.
Gone are the days when you could make lofty statements or have one-sided conversations about your product or service. While you can certainly position your brand in a certain way, public perception of it can confirm, counter or even generate new attributes via conversations on mobile and online platforms. Your role in this dynamic isn’t management, but curatorship.
4. Make sure you’re open, transparent and honest in your dealings with customers.
Credibility is the cornerstone of brands with longevity and this is gained through being authentic in your transactions and delivering on your promises. Communicating challenges and taking responsibility for glitches earns trust and shows that your operations have integrity.
5. Provide a way for your customers to share the experience you give them with their friends.
Align your systems to allow people to share information, comment on their experience and recommend your business via social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. You could even feature on a website like groupon, if it fits your business model.
Puseletso Mompei is a communications consultant and trainer for corporates and entrepreneurs. Email her at: email@example.com or visit: www.kwazicommunications.co.za for further information.