May 3, 2019
Why Building a Brand Is Critical for Long-Term Growth
According to a study by Havas Group, purpose-driven brands outperformed the stock market by 206% over 10 years.
Prophet Chief Growth Officer Scott Davis predicts purpose will become more powerful in 2019. In a recent blog post, he said: “Brand purpose doesn’t have to be linked to broader social missions. But it must be something people believe in, understand and find relevant.”
Today we’ll discuss what a brand is and four key touchpoints to focus on to ensure the longevity of your business.
Your Brand is NOT Your Logo
One of the most common misconceptions companies make is understanding what a brand is. Brands are not just the logo, color palette, and style of photography used in your marketing materials. These things are part of it, but there’s more to it than visuals.
Your brand is your personality. It encompasses your visuals, writing style, messaging, and operations.
According to an article by Dan Pallotta published in the Harvard Business Review, your branding includes nine key components:
- Strategy: The story your products tell together as a whole
- Call-to-Actions: What you ask your customers to do
- Customer service: How you treat others and the message it sends
- Writing voice: Company messaging and language style
- Communication tools: The tools you use to deliver your brand message to your customer, including things like email, instant messaging apps, chatbots, etc.
- People: How employees represent your company to customers and partners
- Facilities: The condition of your brick-and-mortar stores, their location, and organization
- Logo and visuals: Everything from logos to store signage to photography
- Caring about the details: The amount of thought placed into big-picture items like mission and vision, but also the little things like how often you send marketing emails and how to properly hang store signage.
Your company’s personality begins the minute you start doing business, whether you define it or not. Successful brands create strategies to reinforce their core values to their target market. Successful brand strategies create loyal customers. These loyal customers become advocates that organically grow your brand for you by word of mouth.
Loyal customers become advocates that organically grow your brand for you by word of mouth.
Brand Building Tips for Retail
When retail businesses focus on branding with long-term growth in mind, they are setting themselves up for success. Since less than half of retail operations stay in business after four years, the decisions you make today will determine tomorrow’s success (or failure).
Retail stores focused on long-term growth will think carefully about every tactic used and how it works in harmony with other strategies to create a cohesive brand story.
Since your brand includes both your products and the story they tell, adding new products, product lines, and variations of existing products are a great way to build your brand and position your company for long-term growth.
…adding new products, product lines, and variations of existing products are a great way to build your brand…
A good example of thoughtfully using products to build a retail identity comes from a small business in Melbourne, Australia called TheSuperCool. The store began as a mobile pop-up shop, using social media to let people know where they were heading next. They now operate a brick-and-mortar store in South Melbourne.
TheSuperCool focuses on working with local artisans and curating handmade organic or fair trade products. Their commitment to sustainable products that support the local economy created an army of loyal fans that provided the revenue needed to open a permanent location.
Your Digital Presence Should Replicate the Buying Experience at Physical Locations
Generation Z is the next generation of shoppers. As digital natives, they expect a seamless experience. This means the postcard they get in the mail should match the look and feel of your website, email promotions and even your order confirmation emails.
Today’s customer buying journey doesn’t take place on one channel. Shoppers may hop online to learn more about your brand after receiving a printed postcard offering exclusive discounts. On the flip side, customers also purchase online and pick-up items the same day at a nearby physical location.
Brands that understand how to meet the needs of shoppers who buy both online and in-person will continue to thrive. This means finding new ways for customers to shop, creating personalized experiences with customer data, and setting up a cohesive brand across all channels.
Brands that understand how to meet the needs of shoppers who buy both online and in-person will continue to thrive.
No One Forgets About Social
Brands use social media in innovative ways to fuel long-term growth.
Glossier and Warby Parker began by selling on social media and using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to drive traffic to their websites and provide customer service. Both brands are now invested in an omnichannel strategy that includes brick-and-mortar stores.
For fashion brands, Instagram continues to dominate as the social platform of choice. In addition to creating their own Instagram accounts to showcase products and tell their brand story, micro- and macro-influencers play a huge part in driving sales.
While social media is a good example of how to go to where potential customers are, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture the attention of people because of changing algorithms mean fewer people are seeing your posts unless you invest heavily in advertising.
Brands use social media in innovative ways to fuel long-term growth.
Customer Service & Your Brand Personality
Keeping customers happy is not as easy as it used to be. Increased competition and the unprecedented amount of control shoppers have over the buying experience means buyers are less patient when their experience is less than pleasant.
Because today’s shoppers value experience over price, how you treat your customers is a critical part of your brand. Every interaction a customer has with you, whether in-person or with your website’s chatbot, has a direct impact on your company’s brand story.
Because today’s shoppers value experience over price, how you treat your customers is a critical part of your brand.
UK retailer Oasis is killing it with an omnichannel shopping experience that combines the best of online and physical shopping. All sales reps have iPads that allow them to give shoppers the most accurate product information available. Don’t like waiting in lines? Oasis thought of that, too. The iPads act as a cash register, and associates can ring you up on the spot.
Wrapping It Up
Experts may not agree on the most important advice for building a brand and growing your business, but they do agree that creating the best possible customer experience is critical to positioning your brand for long-term growth. If you need brand-building help with Shopify, contact us today. We’d love to help.