As consumers, we support certain brands and avoid others. But how do we choose which ones to patronize and which ones to pass over? A large part of what determines the success or failure of a particular business is the perception of its brand by the public. In fact, in a 2012 insurance survey, 43 percent of Millennial respondents said they would pay more money for a product if it came from a strong or financially stable brand.
Chances are, though, most of those Millennial consumers aren’t reading detailed financial reports on various businesses before making a purchasing decision. They’re most likely determining a company’s financial stability based on its brand reputation and its marketing tactics. This is why it’s so important to create the impression of having a strong and stable brand in the eyes of your current and future customers. Read on for more details on how to do that—and what to avoid.
Sales vs. Marketing
First of all, it’s important to understand the differences between sales and marketing. Marketing is putting the right message in front of the right audience at the right time; sales is an attempt to match customers’ needs with the product you’re trying to sell. In other words, marketing meets customers’ needs, while sales meets the company’s needs. Your approach should be more focused on marketing and filling a gap in your customers’ lives; doing so will put you on the track to creating a positive image of your brand.
Brand vs. Reputation
You must also distinguish between the ideas of brand and reputation; they are not synonymous. Your brand is built by you on your reputation—something you have no real control over. Your reputation is the result of others’ interpretations of your words and actions. Entire PR agencies are dedicated to the pursuit of reputation management, but it’s ultimately up to others to form their opinions of you and your business. Remember: The Ford Edsel wasn’t really a bad car—just the victim of a bad reputation.
Your job, of course, is to only present yourself in a way that will positively reflect on your company. Exhibit professionalism at all times; be an ambassador for your brand by handing out professionally printed business cards and appearing at networking events relevant to your industry; and do all you can to solve the problem you initially set out to solve for your customers.
Rinse and Repeat
Once you’ve gotten your message out there, do it again. And again. Repetition is key to driving home the point and, ultimately, to success as a business. In today’s world, consumers are inundated with so much information that they’re often overwhelmed. You must help them remember by repeating your message over and over again, whether that means placing ads in multiple publications, live tweeting from every industry event you attend or just repeating your elevator pitch to every new person you meet.
It’s important to build a solid brand on a good reputation, and a well thought-out marketing approach is one way to do that. Don’t be shy about putting your message out there and hammering it into consumers’ memories; you’ll see great returns from your efforts in the long run.