Have you ever played one of these mobile device apps that quiz you on which brands you recognize? They show you a cleaned-up logo, with all the text scrubbed out, or they show you a part of the brand’s identity. Then you are supposed to type in what the brand name is based on this partial information. There are a number of these you can download and they’re quite engaging because it really is fun to guess what the brand is.
But then I started thinking, all of these brands have spent millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars so that you and I can distinguish them from the rest. And they’ve succeeded at doing exactly that. The predominant approach for the “big boys” is to spend enormous amounts of cash to burn their brand into the mind of the market. This approach is obviously not a good idea for small businesses; you will go broke keeping up with the big spenders. Besides, that’s really not how business works, is it? Just think; when was the last time you bought a Mercedes Benz simply because you recognize the brand?
A New Approach to Small Business Branding
Since it cannot keep in step with the resource-intensive approach of big corporations when it comes to brand building, small business needs to rethink how to achieve this. So if spending lots of money to bombard the audience with continuous promotions via traditional and online media is not the way to go, then what is?
Here’s one approach, and I think it makes perfect sense: Your reputation is your brand. Your reputation is “the sum total of your customers’ experience with you.” If the experience is consistently good, then it sticks, and customers will soon equate your brand with it. Isn’t this what true branding is all about? Customers are the main reason your small business exists so it makes perfect sense for you to consider their sentiments as you build the perfect brand, one that gives customers the ultimate experience.
The Branding Formula
Only when you have perfected the customer experience does it make sense to launch your marketing promotion. And so now you have yourself a simple but powerful formula for your business branding:
+ Awesome Product Experience
Lots of very happy people telling their friends and business contacts how awesome you are
When people talk about you, then you now have a Reputation. If your reputation is great, then you have the makings of a great brand. And so a great customer experience is the one thing you need to be able to provide your customers in order for you to build a great brand.
Keys to a Memorable Customer Experience
Now how do you go about creating the kind of customer experience that builds up and enhances your reputation and transforms your brand from average to awesome? Just keep these three things in mind:
Solve a problem or fulfill a need.
Entertain. Just because you’re solving a problem does not mean you can’t have fun doing it.
Delight your customer. This is probably the most difficult item to carry out, but it makes all the difference between a mediocre experience and a mighty one. You can surprise and delight people by breaking their thoughts with something unexpected. Just make sure that what you surprise them with is relevant to their needs.
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