Branding is the most important factor in regard to your customer relations. Having a corporate identity is a prerequisite to marketing and dealing with prospective customers. Today, it’s important that your brand is visible and accessible to consumers. Learn how to Approach Branding with the Contemporary Consumer.
How to Approach Branding with the Contemporary Consumer
The evolution of brands
Before you think to yourself, “but my business has already established its brand,” understand that the role of brands has evolved over time. Consumers used to associate brands solely with the products they sold, but this hasn’t been the case for years. The next representation of the brand was a type of idea that consumers believed in.
You’ve likely heard that modern brands represent experiences. Consumers today are more interested in the experience you’re giving them as opposed to an idea or product. In all likelihood, this is the current state of your brand.
Contemporary brands represent relationships
It’s unclear whether we’re witnessing another new phase of branding or if the brand experience is taking on a new interpretation. Lately, however, businesses have been prioritising relationships with customers above all else.
A recent Harvard Business Review article talks about the representation of the brand as a relationship. The article points out a few big companies that have had tremendous success by redefining the role of customer in relation to their business:
“The concept of brand-as-relationship also helps explain the rise of well-established market leaders. American Express redefined the relational roles of its industry from card issuer/card holder to club/member. Disney redefined the relational roles of amusement parks from operator/rider to cast member/guest. And Starbucks redefined not only the role of the server from waiter to barista, but the role of the coffee shop from restaurant to community hub.”
The difference between “card holder” and “member” is significant. The former reminds the customer of his contract with a credit card company, while the latter recognises his personal value. Consumers today are happy to become members of a type of club rather than represent profit to a business.
How to get your message out
One of the reasons branding has evolved is because communication with customers has drastically changed in the past few years. On social media, businesses can create and manage relationships much easier than ever before. Thus, the focus has shifted away from a vague experience and towards concrete conversations, discussions, and exchanges.
With the onset of social media, businesses have aimed for more personal conversations and less advertisements. According to a recent Forbes article, advertisements aren’t as effective as they were since they don’t get as much attention from consumers:
“In today’s market, big-budget campaigns aren’t what they used to be. Customers do not pay as much attention to advertisements, but rather can relate more to brands telling a story that demonstrates how the product or service brings value to their lives. For this reason, advertisements leverage influencers who occupy a particular niche to create more of an impact on consumers than big-name celebrities.”
Social media advertisements can help, but they’re not the driving force of your campaign. Instead, you should create your own original content and share it with your followers. The goal is to then get some reactions from followers and start a discussion. A bonus is if they share your content with their followers or trace the link to your website and read more about your company.
Developments in brand usually correlate to changes in technology. Now that businesses can personally communicate with thousands of customers on social media, branding is becoming synonymous with relationships. Consumers today will perceive your brand based on the content you post and the discussions you have on social media and other digital platforms.
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