This is a guest post courtesy of Ruth with some tried and true ways to increase your brand’s visibility.
We talk about ideas like this a lot on #BGB, largely because well… they work.
And I figure the more they are hammered into your head, the more the ideas will stick. hehe
So here we go, hammering away.
Brand image is a vital part of ANY business, whether you are talking about a large multi-national corporation, or a small start-up… how people see your company is a huge part of your success.
In short, good branding is what earns your business repeat customers, maintains customer loyalty, and dictates the public’s perception of your business.
This blog post will explore seven tried and tested ways you can promote your brand image to raise awareness of your business, and drive customer loyalty.
Product sampling is pretty much self-explanatory; a company hands out samples of its product to potential customers.
The aim of the exercise is to promote your company and its products, along with snagging some new customers who will pay for the full product.
There is some debate amongst marketing professionals whether it is better to offer a small version of the product or the full size item.
Tou want the consumer to convert to a paying customer, but you also want to give them an accurate idea of the product.
Really, there is no right or wrong, it depends on the product and the target consumer. This makes the planning of a sampling campaign just as important as the execution.
Product sampling helps brand image by introducing people to your product, which in turn can mean that they remember it when they next go shopping or have a problem that your product can fix.
Another benefit is the fact that sampling campaigns require brand ambassadors to meet with people, providing a public face for your brand.
This interaction humanizes your brand while increasing trust in the company and the products you produce or supply.
It is also worth considering branded ‘freebies’ to give away alongside your samples; key rings, pens, coasters, custom t-shirts and other everyday objects emblazoned with your logo and company contact details can help keep your name in consumers’ mouths long after your sampling campaign has ended.
Now this may not be suitable for all businesses, but hosting events can be a valuable tool for image awareness.
By creating an original event or getting involved with a scheduled public event, you can easily build on your company’s brand image.
A company that manufactures products could hold an open house day and invite the local community to visit, look around and go home with a better understand of what you do, as well as a few carefully selected branded items.
If that is not feasible, sponsoring and taking part in a local event or a charity fundraising scheme is a good way to get your brand name out to a wide audience, as any advertising for the event would include your company logo.
It also shows that your company is approachable, invested in the community, and willing to support a good cause.
Even if the nature of your business does not allow for involvement in public events, document any staff outings or training days your staff partakes in with photos, short videos, and sound bytes from those who took part.
These can be complied into an article or blog post that you can promote using social media, or included on newsletters you send to customers.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
When customers have a problem with a product your company manufactures, they will let you know without hesitation.
Unless your customers are unhappy though, it is harder to gauge their satisfaction with your products or services. This is where customer satisfaction surveys come in.
By conducting regular (but not intrusive) customer satisfaction surveys, you not only learn about how your brand is perceived by your customers, but if you rectify any issues that arise (and thank the customer that alerted you to it), it also shows your existing customers that you really care about their opinions.
It shows you take suggestions and sentiments seriously, which will inevitably build trust and strengthen your relationships with your customers.
Of course, it is recommended to offer your customers an incentive for completing the survey, perhaps a free prize for the most useful feedback. Make sure you make the prize desirable, as you want as many respondents as you can get.
Regularly sourcing opinions and feedback from customers, as well as offering a decent prize, shows that your company cares about customer satisfaction.
This means people are much more likely to be confident about buying from you. Not to mention, a truly noteworthy prize could also spell some great word-of-mouth publicity.
What better way to get current and potential customers talking about your brand than with an interesting and entertaining contest?
If you are looking to build an online audience, a contest is a great way to expand your reach.
By asking entrants to leave their entry on your Facebook Page and inviting other users to vote for the best submission with a ‘like’, you can encourage those that enter to share the contest with their friends.
This will increase visibility of your contest and hopefully attract some new contestants that you can convert into customers. The most successful contests tend to be a mixture of industry-relevant and fun.
It is also worth getting in touch with other businesses in your local area.
Maybe there is a local eatery you frequent that you could partner with to offer a prize of a meal for two, in exchange for some free promotion on your next newsletter and on your social media profiles.
That way, both businesses can benefit, as you both have a vested interest in the contest’s success.
Experiential Marketing Campaigns
Arguably a broad term that can encompass a range of marketing tactics, experiential campaigns tend to appeal to the emotion of the target audience.
The goal of experiential marketing is to spark a connection between the consumer and the brand on an emotional level, as well as appealing to rational thought processes and logic.
Experiential marketing campaigns can help build brand image in a number of ways.
Well thought out campaigns connect directly with the general public, mainly through being exciting, fun and memorable.
If an experiential campaign ticks all these boxes, it is likely that those that take part will share their thoughts about the event online, which can potentially increase the number of people mentioning your brand on social networks and searching for your brand on Google.
These are all great branding signals for the search engines; since 2009, Google has been favouring brands in the search results, so signals like this can have an impact on your domain’s trust and rankings, meaning your website will appear more regularly in relevant search results.
Humanizing the Brand
Brand ‘humanization’ is a concept that has really increased in importance with the rise of social media.
It is a simple concept; showing the consumer or client that the company is run by real people.
This can be done by recording and publishing ‘behind the scenes’ photos and videos of staff members engaging in special events, such as charity fundraisers, and by maintaining a social media presence that is not wholly concerned with promoting the company and its products.
Arguably, all the points stated so far can help to humanize a brand and shatter the illusion of the faceless corporation.
The best way to look at it is like this; people buy from people.
By showing your existing and potential customers the faces behind your brand, you increase the ‘know, like, trust’ factor, which keeps you in the back of their mind and inspires trust.
For example, if you maintain a branded Facebook Page and only ever post a mixture of industry-relevant news, tips, and videos that don’t engage a lot of users, try sharing a few ‘humanizing’ posts and see if users engage with those posts more.
If you struggle for ideas of what to post, try:
- ‘In the office’ videos, ideally when something fun is taking place. Does your company get involved in Comic Relief? Film your exploits and share the results.
- ‘Behind the scenes’ videos, perhaps documenting the set up of a special event or charity fundraiser. Keep a camera handy and record what you can. Try to capture some funny moments that can be uploaded to YouTube and posted on Facebook.
- Staff outings and fundraising events; sponsored abseils, fire-walks, and other left-field activities can make for great video-shorts!
Of course, the nature of what you can share is reliant on the industry of your business. Those searching online for an undertaker may not want to see their potential client bungee jumping!
Remember to think about the company image you are trying to get across before sharing anything.
Transform Staff into Brand Evangelists
If staff morale is high, they are more likely to feel positive about your brand.
Allowing staff to break out of the daily routine once in a while can really have positive results.
Even small things like bake-offs or table tennis contests can help to keep staff happy at work, and help break-down barriers that exist within a traditional workplace hierarchy.
This can make it much easier for staff to approach managers with any problems, or make business related suggestions.
Hold regular ‘meet-ups’ where staff are encouraged to share their thoughts on your business.
This shouldn’t just be treated as an evaluation of how your staff are performing in their roles, but also how they feel their role within the business could be improved.
This could include suggestions they have for making improvements to workflow, services, or general business practices.
As well as making staff feel TRULY valued and much more likely to ‘show-off’ about how great their job (and your company) is, which can help when you go to recruit more staff… don’t underestimate just how much quality feedback you can get from asking staff members their opinions.
Google provides an example of implementing this kind of strategy; Google News and Gmail came out of Google staff members’ ‘project time’.
This was time set-aside by Google for its staff to explore projects relating to Google that they think may be interesting.
Just think, without giving it’s staff time to come up with fresh ideas like this, would Google News or Gmail ever have been invented?
Maybe, maybe not.
You don’t have to give your staff huge amounts of time to go off on tangents exploring new products or services for your company, but just having short, regular meetings in which you invite staff to share their thoughts on changes to your business or new product lines can yield great results.
Just don’t forget to reward any successes.
By implementing even just a few of the ideas above, you can really give your brand a boost, keeping it fresh in the minds of your customers.
Over to You
Think about the brands you trust and how they have gained that trust. Are you doing anything they do with your business? Are you doing something entirely different? How’s it working for you? Please share in the comments below.