Branding has changed so much over the past decade and companies who aren’t making the adjustment are rapidly losing ground in the market.
We can’t ignore the fact that Sears filed for bankruptcy and is closing all its Canadian stores. How could this have happened? From the 70s to the 90s, they were retail’s golden child! We all remember eagerly awaiting the catalogues they distributed, especially the coveted Christmas Wish Book. Their catalogue order center was always buzzing, and their catalogues brought people into the stores. They had a model that worked. Keyword: HAD.
For years, Sears relied on their time-proven methods. Unfortunately for them, that time has passed. Other retailers popped up as ‘newer and hipper’ while Sears continued on with their old model. Customers became frustrated with their non-existent online store and their brick-and-mortar stores weren’t adjusting either. The Sears name was no longer out there and no one knew what their brand was anymore.
Customers DO become loyal to brands, but with fierce competition, people want to see the faces behind the brands. You need to do what you can to stand out. Offer immaculate customer service, and be transparent with your actions and behaviours.
Consumers are looking at brands to tell a story – the faces behind the company, how they started, what they’re doing, and how they are adapting to the future.
Consumers subconsciously use a brand’s packaging, merchandising and pricing to form opinions about the people behind the brand, and the product itself. In this age of technology, although people appreciate the ease, consumers are looking for the human touch.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it – happy employees are productive employees! Brands who invest in their employees and get them excited about the brand will work harder to be great ambassadors. In case you missed it, here are a few ideas on how to make your team great.
Again, with so much competition, YOU have to stand out from the rest. One way to do this is through honesty and transparency. Show your customer exactly what they’ll get from you, and follow through.
Today’s consumers concern themselves with environmental impacts. Brands who show they care have a step up. Take the example of H&M who offers an opportunity to bring back used clothing for recycling in exchange for a coupon to their store. They also promote the lines which made from recycled materials. And now several beauty brands are following MAC’s footsteps, offering free products in exchange for their empties for recycling.
Not only does this show brand responsibility and environmental awareness, the discounts and product offerings are huge incentives for consumers to continue buying that brand. Smart.
Brands aren’t just a logo, or a box on the shelf – consumers build an idea of WHO the brand is. Showing there’s a human behind the brand or service is important.
Pop-up shops have become popular – for a good reason. Offering samples and a hands-on experience in a fun setting gives customers an interactive experience to fall in love with your brand.
Even services can take part. You may have noticed lately when you place an online order instead of getting a generic confirmation number emailed to you, you receive a link, sometimes fun and interactive, letting you know ‘Brian received your order and is putting it together for you now.’ Bam – an easy, yet effective, way to add a human touch.
Yes, you need social media. You don’t need to be on all platforms, but you need to work the ones your customers are using. Talk about what’s interesting with your brand, and show how your brand is giving back.
TELUS is an excellent example of a successful Twitter model. Not only do they advertise and get us excited for products and services, they share their community involvement. And last, but CERTAINLY not least, if you contact them through this medium – a human responds (hopefully timely) and finds a way to solve your issues.
As you can see, it’s more important than ever to step up your brand game. I hope these tips have proven useful. Please feel free to contact me to help you build your brand.