In the digital age, brand awareness is driven by word-of-mouth. If no one is talking about your brand, your marketing budget is going to waste. People who advocate brands are those who love your brand so much that they’re talking about it on social media and in offline interactions of their own accord. This is because they believe and endorse it as a direct result of their interactions with it.
It makes sense then, that the brands that are loved, are the brands that thrive. But what does it take to become a brand that resonates with your market in such a relevant way that they want to sing your praises?
In no particular order, the following six qualities – when combined and embraced by a brand wholeheartedly – result in increased brand awareness, loyalty and advocacy:
1. In the words of Steve Jobs, “Create an insanely great product”.
While the words of the father of the Apple behemoth make common sense, many brands start out with a good or even “insanely great” product. However, they begin to flounder when their offering is replaced by a competitor’s, or as their target market changes their buying behaviour.
In order for a product to be worthy of this label, it needs to evolve, constantly. Apple has cemented itself as the go-to brand for computers, phones and music devices – because they’re constantly upping their game. If they still sold their first computer – look this up – there’s no way that they’d be synonymous with forward-thinking, intuitive products.
Staying on top of new technological innovations, market shifts and buyer behaviour is crucial.
2. Deliver memorable customer service.
Zappos, a US shoe brand, is a perfect example of the power that great customer services holds in increasing brand awareness. In fact, their slogan is “Powered by Service”. The brand’s devotion to providing an amazing experience to every single customer has been called ‘fanatical’ and ‘insane’.
What the naysayers can’t deny, however, is that Zappos’ legendary customer service is their number one differentiator, and continually increases their brand awareness exponentially. For example, when a customer ordered a pair of shoes that were out of stock, a customer service rep. went to a rival shoe store and sent them to the woman in question. The brand also overnighted a pair of free shoes to a best man who had arrived at a wedding sans shoes. Numerous other examples exist, prompting brands across the globe to mimic Zappos’ customer service model.
3. Do the right thing, even if it costs you money.
If you make a mistake, rectify it immediately. By demonstrating that your customers’ satisfaction is your number one priority, they’ll be much more likely to advocate your brand. YuppieChef, South Africa’s go-to online shop love by professional and amateur foodies alike, has achieved extraordinary brand awareness, and advocacy, as a result of their dedication – at all costs – to make sure that their customers are delighted. A friend of mine ordered a gift for his wife, which broke a week later. YuppieChef didn’t only replace it – no questions asked – but replaced it with a model that was R2000 more expensive. The result? Two life-long brand advocates.
4. Cultivate a company culture that makes staff excited about your company.
It’s undeniable that a great company culture not only benefits staff, but customers too. Google is infamous for this, with perks including free gourmet food, a Google bus that transports ‘Googlers’ to work, and a ‘bring your pet to work’ policy. While these incredible benefits might not be scalable for all companies, they do emphasise the importance of a company culture in elevating a company’s brand awareness. Hubspot – an inbound marketing software provider, is another company who’re known for their ground-breaking company culture. One of the key points in their company culture manifesto, is: ‘We invest in individual mastery. We want to be as proud of the people we build as of the company we build.’
Brand advocacy has to start from the inside. If your employees genuinely enjoy working at your company, their enthusiasm for your brand influences not only their performance, but their interactions with clients too.
5. Develop a social conscience.
When it was revealed that Nike was underpaying wages, their stock price went down – as a direct result of abandonment by advocates. The brand awareness generated was the opposite of what any brand wants to achieve. Woolworths launched a ‘living food wall’, which goes live annually in the week surrounding World Food Day. For each free, virtual seedling planted, Woolworths plants an actual plant at South African schools who have permaculture food gardens. Another brand using their social responsibility programs to garner increased brand awareness is Nedbank. Their solar-powered billboards are dotted around the country, providing local schools and impoverished communities with power.
When it comes to designing a brand that garners the right kind of brand awareness, the bottom line is the experience your customers have with your brand. The way you do this is dependent on your brand’s marketing goals, as well as client demographics. A little while ago, I wrote about how experiential marketing is trumping traditional. The RSVP Agency exists to enable brands to provide their guests with superior events that create positive brand awareness that lasts long after the fact. Brands can’t afford to give their customers anything other than world-class experiences, make sure you’re not dropping the ball by finding out about how we can help you to manage your next event.