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March 8, 2018 | Branding
Branding has become so much of a buzzword it’s teetering on the realm of cliché. Before it goes the way of marketing jargon like “best-in-breed” and “world-class,“ let me break down what branding really is. At its core, branding is the communication of your brand’s value. That’s as simple and as complicated as it is.
Your Brand Is More Than Your Logo
It’s not just your logo or your business cards or your slick trade show booth, though all of those things contribute to your brand. Your brand is what you say it is, what your employees think and say about it, and what your customer and the public discerns it to be. That last part is vital because often the public’s perception of your brand is different than what you intend in large and subtle ways.
Now that you have scrutinized your brand elements and appraised your offerings against your competitors, it’s time to look at what the consumer thinks of your brand.
Consumer reviews are the cheapest market research you’ll ever find. Review sites like Amazon, CitySearch, Consumer Reviews, Google, Yahoo Local, Yelp, and many more aggregate what people think of your brand. Use consumer review sites to gain insights into how people perceive your value.
Keep in mind; there’s always a few cranks in the crowd. For this kind of analysis, you want to look at the overall sentiment consumers have towards the brand without getting too hung up on the people who are overly exuberant or menacingly unhappy.
There are many social media listening tools available that will alert you when anyone posts something about your brand on social media. And you can set up a Google alert that will email you when your business name or product comes up on the web.
Monitoring social conversations and Internet mentions will help fill in the picture of your brand. Even if there are thousands of social mentions, you can track sentiment as either positive, negative, or neutral. These conversations can also be analyzed in more depth to find the subtle brand perceptions that are influencing buyers.
There is any number of market research tools available to discover what customers and prospective customers think of your brand. Customer surveys, focus groups, and interviews are all useful in different situations. Anyone can help you discover how aware of your brand the consumer is and what your brand’s image is in their eyes.
Analyze the Findings
The last step in a brand audit is putting all your findings together to create an action plan. It’s not enough to see where the gaps are between what you want to be communicating and what the consumer is perceiving. You have to take action to decrease those gaps.
For example, let’s say when you analyzed your consumer reviews and measured the sentiment in social media, you discovered that many people are frustrated with your website. As an electronics company, technology is the last thing you want causing friction in your customers’ experience. (That’s a brand disconnect.)
With this information, you then have the opportunity to fix the problems on your website that are hindering the shopping experience. (You should be analyzing your web traffic’s behavior on your website, but that’s a subject for another day.)
A brand audit will uncover many gaps like this example. The value to you is that you gain a clear picture of where your brand sits in the marketplace compared to competitors and where it is in the mind of consumers. Without a brand audit, you’re guessing and assuming and it’s probably costing you money you don’t even know you’re misspending.
Is it time for a brand audit?
Contact us and let’s discuss it.
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