It’s important to create this perception of your brand in the minds of your customers as soon as you are able. It’s all about being constantly mindful of the possible interpretation of every word you use when talking with your customers and the public at every touch point.
What you say and the medium you use to say it elicits a response in the receiver. This response shapes their perception of your brand. Having a clear vision of your brand and your demographic helps you choose what you want to say and the most appropriate way to say it.
Customers love to be valued by an important brand
Is it really that important to come across as a brand with particular values? Surely having a cheap product if good enough?
New research into the shopping habits of the UK consumer from Gekko Field Marketing reveals the importance of brand status has risen by five per cent, showing that shoppers are increasingly more likely to make purchases based on brand alone.
Habits have changed over the past year, with customers less conscious of cost showing a drop of seven per cent. Customers may choose your products if they like your brand, even if they are more expensive than your competitors. This is obviously great news, but relies on their perception of your brand. Your customers perception of your brand is their reality of your brand; who you are, what you do and how you do it.
Further research on customer loyalty in the US found the relationship of customers to brands can be linked to non-fiscal rewards from loyalty programs. Sixty per cent of millennials (generation Y) are willing to switch brands they buy if it means receiving more benefits. This backs up that fact that cost is often less important to shoppers than the perception of value, gaining status and being rewarded for their loyalty.
What does your online activity say about your brand?
As we all know, there are so many different ways to communicate with potential customers. Using free, easily shared social media platforms is a quick, cost effective way to get exposure for small and large business alike. Mixed messaging and unmanaged customer expectations can lead to social upheaval and an easy way to damage the perception of your brand. So is oversharing and misusing the data you get.
The use of your customers private details has a huge impact on their perception of your brand. Teradata Corp’s research into personalisation and data privacy found 57 per cent customers are happy to share their personal information with brands they trust.
Bad handling of customers personal information can be anything from oversharing their information to sending them excessive updates or contacting them through their least favourite medium. This can lead to their perception of your brand being too pushy, impersonal, or rude. They could unsubscribe from your service, shop with your competitor, or choose not to use your product again.
How are you perceived through your packaging?
Making your products desirable to own can be more important to the consumer than their function. In his research into enhancing customer brand infinity, Professor Kumar found that products with social and emotional values, such as the perception of sophistication of design and pride of ownership, had a more significant impact on brand affection.
His findings support the idea that consumers’ passion for brands with distinctive, aesthetically pleasing designs – including Apple, the Volkswagen Beetle and Dyson vacuums – leads to loyalty.
10 top tips to creating a positive perception:
- Discover the best time of day to contact them and their favourite way to be contacted; a quick text about the most recent, relevant product, a lengthy email with links to online purchasing or a ‘good old traditional phone call’?
- Have a great loyalty program that offers non-fiscal benefits for your customers loyalty to your brand.
- Have brand ambassadors who understand your brand and the persona you want to present to the public to convert potential buyers into customers. Your team has got to love your brand too.
- Invest in educating your customers in the quality and benefits of purchasing your product (32 per cent of customers admit to sticking with brands they trust over time because they trust their brand and product).
- Make your product as beautiful as possible.
- Share your Mission statement, promoting the benefit to the local community and your core values as a brand.
- Be transparent with your offers, sales and promotions. Using plain language and easily understandable discount offers helps customers trust your brand.
- Be reliable and clear about the protection of your customers information. You can’t say ‘Data Protection’ enough.
- Have a consistent identity online as well as instores. If you have a strong family ethos on your website, then your mums can’t get their prams in your store and all your sales assistance are a size six, it comes across as insincere and untrustworthy.
- Value for money – trust is generated when you feel you’re getting a good deal.
In summary, in our modern world of constant, immediate, uncensored communication it’s easy to say the wrong thing about your brand. But careful consideration of your brand identity, your mission statement and your target audience can help create a great perception of your brand that is relevant to your customers.