When someone asks you to name an iconic brand, what comes to mind? Perhaps your mind gravitates to B2C brands like Apple, Nike, Starbucks, or Amazon. There’s no correct answer, but there is one thing each of these brands has in common: regardless of where and how you interact with them, the experience is consistent and memorable.
In today’s market, there are hundreds of brands vying for your attention and your dollars. This makes it harder than ever for companies to find innovative ways to stand out, but it is possible for them to succeed. It comes down to the relationships they foster with their customers that go far beyond the exchange of money and goods. These iconic brands resonate with us because everything they do reinforces their brand identity. The visual elements of their brand: name, logo, typography reinforces their brand image. The tone and voice they use in advertising reinforces that image. The ambiance of their stores reinforces that image. And their service reinforces that image.
But what if you aren’t a Google-level brand (or you happen to be a B2B company) and you want to rise to the top in your particular category? In the face-to-face marketing industry, we’re big believers in the power of interaction and how it relates to the customer experience. Here are a few key ways you can capitalize on your brand identity, even if you aren’t a household name:
It’s been said that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. Your brand is no different: who are you when your customers aren’t looking? Identifying your mission, vision, identity, and messaging is a crucial step to establishing a strong brand. Think about what sets you apart from your competitors and how your solution solves their problems. When you keep your values in mind and create with the customer in mind, you can build meaningful relationships with clients. A strong internal culture that means you are clear about who you are, which is a key first step to help customers solve their problems and foster their success.
Storytelling is an art that has existed for centuries, serving to entertain, educate, and form bonds between people. This is why your company’s story is a crucial element of what you bring to table. This isn’t about the story of how your company began or one that is solely about you. Good stories have a protagonist (your clients) and a guide (that’s you!) who helps the hero save the day. By telling the story of how you guide your clients to success you are telling your own story in the process. You guide them to achieve their dreams by supporting them every step of the way, using your experience and wisdom to create a desired outcome.
By letting your company be a supporting character in the story, you become the star of your own show. Most people fear that by stepping out the spotlight, they will be forgotten. This couldn’t be further from the truth: by showing how you can take clients to the next level and help them achieve their goals, you establish yourself as a reliable partner. Taking a backseat to their story is the key.
Think about the last experience that had a lasting impact on you. Why was it memorable? Chances are it was either a very positive or very negative experience. Those mediocre, run of the mill experiences don’t stick with us because they’re just that: boring. Making a big impression begins with intentionality and ends with a positive impression. You should set out to walk through the visitor’s experience from beginning to end, thinking about what will draw them in, what will make them stay, and the impression they should keep in mind when they leave.
Your brand should be like a drumbeat, with the same look and feel regardless of where your customers experience it. Let’s revisit those iconic brands we talked about earlier. Think about the experience of an Apple product, for example: what it’s like to go into an Apple store, how it feels to unbox their product, and the overall user experience; they feel consistent, don’t they? The experience is uniquely Apple, so much so that we hear clients use the term, “Apple-esque” to describe clean, modern design that focuses solely on the product and is never fussy or overly busy. It’s an aspiration for everything from lobbies to trade show booths.
This is why your brand’s identity is so important and must be carefully executed by your team with buy in from every single employee.