Marketing channels are becoming increasingly complex. The customer is now in control and there is no quick fix. In this environment, how can your organisation create brand equity?
As brand custodians, we have to comply with our customer's wishes. It's now the customer that decides how they want to be communicated with and where they want to receive information. Are your customer's Facebook users, or do they prefer magazines? Do they watch videos on YouTube or do they watch Pay TV? You have to find out, and once you know, you have to find out what language they use in that environment.
We must take a 360-degree approach to building brand equity; we have to present our messages in all mediums and across all channels. A brand sits at the core of the business, and as such, at every customer touchpoint. The brand must convey the desired positioning and communicate your key messages consistently across all mediums.
Remember also that brand awareness is very different to brand loyalty of course. Brand awareness we can build more quickly through a tagline, an engaging ad, publicity and so on. Loyalty, on the other hand, takes time and the customer experience must be managed continually.
To create strong brand equity we must engage the customer in a total brand experience. The emotional reaction the brand generates in the customer is ultimately what creates the equity. How can we emotionally connect with our customers and create a strong brand equity?
Nurture brand champions
It is important to create and nurture brand champions; people you can rely on to communicate the brand experience clearly and build loyalty amongst their peers. Employees are key brand champions and are one of the most important groups when generating brand loyalty. Internal branding is paramount. When time is taken to communicate the brand throughout the organisation, this ensures everyone is ‘singing from the same song sheet'.
Build trust through customer service
From an external perspective, the key brand differentiator when delivering on brand equity is customer service. Never over promise and under deliver, always exceed the customer's expectations and always keep your promises. Then you are on your way to becoming a trusted brand.
Communicate brand values
The most important brand values in generating equity are honesty, trust, consistency and to some extent familiarity. How do you convey these valued feelings to a consumer in order to get them to search you out?
Keep your 'brand promise'
Especially in our 21st century society, where we are all constantly looking out for the latest and greatest and being encouraged to try new things! The only way to fight this is to constantly deliver on your brand promise; it takes time, excellent customer service and a commitment to internal branding.