Your products and services speak louder than any form of advert you may come up with. What’s more, no amount of marketing will ever gloss over a bad brand or product. It doesn’t matter if you think your brand is the next Amazon or Calvin Klein, what matters is what your target audience thinks of your brand. The traditional market research often depends on the subjective comments and observations of customers. “Understanding brand perception is essential to succeeding in a competitive marketplace,” according to Brian Woyt, founder of the branding agency Wolf & Missile, “Ultimately, your brand is what the marketplace says it is, not what you think it is.”
To keep going, your brand must have a bond with your audience. That bond is based on trust, and your brand earns trust when it remains true to what the audience expects of it. Do not sell the product, sell trust.
In selling trust, get a complete knowledge of the features of your product or service; Outline the benefits. Do not tell your customer that the wristwatch can swim in water while it becomes useless when water touches it. When you understand trust, then value your product or service.
Valuing your product should help you move from the features of your product (which you already know) to the value of your product (which is what customers care about). Once you’ve identified the value your product or service offers, you can use this to define your brand.
Also, you need to understand that your brand does not have a monopoly of the market. You have competitors and more will come. You need to know how your audience sees you and how they see your competitor. Like it or not, most of your potential customers are weighing you against your competitors. Your audience functions as a direct input; you need to build a brand that caters to them, but your competition will function as a molder or shaper. The key here is to realize how your competitors have developed their respective brands, and find a way to draw inspiration from them and differentiate yourself.
In the case of an established business, you should be talking to real customers and potential customers to better understand how they see your brand. Use SMS and email mediums to listen to them. Social media has also proven to be a reliable tool in finding out how your audience feels. How else would Betway have known that we wanted their ads off our screen?
Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback. Accepting negative feedback can help you identify what you need to change to improve your customers’ perception of your brand. If your feedback is largely negative, perhaps, you may consider rebranding. Think about how your messaging can better connect with your customers. Work through the brand discovery exercise (if you haven’t already) to make sure you’re focusing on the value you bring to customers, not just the features of your products or services.
If your brand feedback is largely positive, but your customers think of your brand differently than you do, it’s still worth making some changes. If your brand’s actions and interactions are not aligned, think about how you can better tailor your marketing resources to your audience’s expectations.
Jesus asked his disciples – ‘who do you say I am?’ because he wanted to know their perception of him. That my friend is one of the keys to a successful business.