Reputation Building 101
The most important thing a growing business can do is establish a brand identity and gain as much notoriety in the market and community it exists within. Brand identity - reputation - and how consumers view a brand go a long way in determining whether or not it can survive and thrive. This is true for any brand, be it an industrial manufacturer serving a global consumer base, or a suburban coffeehouse vying to be the best place on the block to refuel. In either scenario, the overarching business goal should always be brand growth - that is, increased awareness, loyalty, and conversation about your brand among populations of consumers that matter the most to your success. Doing so requires strategic investments in areas that make for excellent brand experiences - after all - building a brand also means building a legitimately superior product or service. Here are some tips:
Invest in the Customer Experience
Next to establishing a consistent visual identity, creating an extraordinary experience for your customers, whether they’re exclusively online, or at your brick and mortar store is important. Creating a pleasant experience doesn’t mean killing them with smiles and platitudes, it means providing effective, courteous customer service, making items and information available within a system that is intuitive and easy to use. For businesses with a physical store, it also means creating a pleasant, comfortable environment that is visually stimulating and easy to move around in. Your space should be one that captures the imagination and provides a great break from everyday life.
Reach out to the Community
A few years ago we led a rebrand for a client that makes wedding cakes and artisanal cupcakes. We were impressed with how community-minded they were as a brand, and as business people. The rebrand was a prelude to a move into a new location which we also led the branding of. One of the client’s priorities was creating an aesthetically pleasing space that honored the neighborhood it was moving into, while also providing service that made their bakery a desirable part of the lives of the people who occupied nearby residential spaces. The same client also started a program in which they donate food to local schools and charities. They took their place in the community seriously and it went a long way in spreading the word about who they are and where they are located. Needless to say, they’re pretty successful these days.
Manage Your Brand
You can put time and energy into our first two recommendations, but you won’t get effective results if your brand is in disarray. People need an identity to refer to, and that identity is your brand. Working with a brand management agency is the best way for rising brands to keep their visual identity on track and develop a portfolio of professional branding and marketing collateral. Consistency and style that resonates with your audience will take you a long way.
How you grow your brand is important. How fast you grow your brand is a deliberate choice. You can accelerate growth, or slow it down - each result is directly influenced by your investments and other actions. In the end, developing a strong brand requires intentional care and investment.