Many consumers today are expecting more out of companies than just providing good value in products and services. A study shows that a business’ “brand” – how it is identified and perceived by the public – is defined significantly by showing social responsibility and having a higher sense of purpose than making a profit.
Building a company that connects with people on a personal and emotional level requires “conscious branding,” which begins with a business being aware of its identity (who we are, what we stand for, and what future we would like to co-design), the ecosystem it lives in and how it can add value to the world and its people, says Julius Geis (www.juliusgeis.com), a branding expert who has created strategies for over 40 companies and is the creator of Identity Built Branding™ (IBB).
“The way we relate to brands is radically different now, and the upheaval of 2020 magnified this,” Geis says. “People want brands to be a navigator for change. They expect responsible branding and for companies to be proactive and transparent.
“Brands that only see dollar signs need to shed their rigid conceptions of business. The brands of today must be living organisms that are relationship-centric inside and outside the company. When a brand is anchored in an organic identity and moving from a place of purpose, consumers are drawn to its authenticity. It’s time to move away from brand-fakes that manipulate people. Let’s embrace branding designed to strengthen our collective connections.”
Geis offers three tips for businesses to build their brand inside and outside the company in ways that connect people and a higher purpose:
Engage in organizational self-searching. Geis says companies can determine their purpose by asking questions such as: What is the core reason we are in business? What are our non-negotiable, guiding beliefs? Where do we come from, and what are our backgrounds of experience? What do we wish for the world to become? “The understanding of a company’s collective self,” Geis says, “or its founding spirit, is the focal point for strategic development and decision-making.”
Investigate disruptive relationships. A deep analysis of relationships within the company and with the outside world, Geis says, is a fundamental part of removing the obstacles on the road to company self-identity, unity, and greater purpose. “It starts with your culture and extends to everyone your company has contact with,” Geis says. “Probe relationships, from internal employee-manager connections to the relationships between the brand and its suppliers, consumers, and communities. The problems lie where these relationships are disrupted. That points to the underlying cause and leads to ways to strengthen these relationships in a sustainable manner. But without solidifying the work culture first, connecting in a stronger, sustainable fashion with consumers can’t happen.”
Embrace truth and change. “Change happens when a company finds its true sense of self and strengthens its culture accordingly, rather than continuing randomly or aimlessly and manufacturing a false identity that will inevitably crumble under the pressure of reality,” Geis says. “When you’re operating from a place of truth, your relationships are grounded in trust and a like-mindedness that allows them to move and react to the flow of business and culture. Rigid relationships built on false premises or forced connections will always struggle to evolve.”
“Many brands have lost public trust,” Geis says. “They’ve lost their power and their way. But finding or rediscovering their purpose can connect them inside the business, which must happen in order to connect with today’s consumers that demand a world awareness. As we move towards a better understanding of our interconnected culture and economy, branding in its traditional structure and motives will disappear.”
Tim Maleeny, head of planning at Ogilvy North America, speaks at the BRITE ’11 conference about how Ogilvy has designed a template (The Big Ideal) to help build brand platforms from a combination of a company’s purpose and the relevant cultural tensions it’s suited to address. The BRITE ’11 conference on brands, innovation, and technology was hosted by the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School. Learn more at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/globalbr…
Today, more consumers than ever are demanding that companies become transparent and take hands-on approach to making the world a better place. They’re looking for what experts call “conscious brands,” companies that embody a higher purpose by having an intentional purpose or embracing social responsibility. Think: Tom’s Shoes or Jessica Alba’s Honest Company.
According to a report by MWWPR, not only do 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.
But you don’t have to be a big name in order to transform your business into a conscious brand. Follow these three steps to make sure that your actions resonate with your ideal customers, helping you multiply your revenue and make a lasting impact.
As people become savvier, trust in marketing is growing more vital each day. It’s not enough to just offer a great product or excellent customer service. Customers want to do business with companies they like, trust and align with. Those brands that sit on the sidelines regarding important issues are coming under greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, those with the guts to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.
Follow B&J’s lead and include your views and values in your marketing. Share your beliefs, and ask your audience to take part alongside you in supporting the causes you believe in. By intentionally integrating social responsibility as part of your daily business routine, you can ensure you are doing your part in practicing social and environmental responsibility and be seen as a thought leader in your niche.
It’s one thing to talk about the causes you support, but it’s another thing entirely to actually do something about them. People are jaded by outdated marketing techniques, false advertising and businesses and influencers who don’t walk the walk. While building and running a conscious business requires more intentional decision making and an uncompromising commitment to the mission for good, the reward is the creation of a movement that leads to unparalleled success and impact.
There are countless ways you can become part of the change for good: collect donations, offer scholarships, take part in activism. Use the resources you have — your voice, your business and your community — to take action. When you weave these actions into your company culture, and it’s embodied by employees and customers alike, you create a movement. By embracing ethical business practices while creating transparency and accountability, and providing immense value, your brand will rise up over the competition.
3. Cultivate partnerships based on values
Co-branding with another company is an effective way to double the awareness around an issue, increase the impact of an effort and, ultimately, expand the visibility of both organizations. Who you partner with has a direct impact on your reputation, your bran and your potential customer’s perception of your business.
As reported in a recent Hubspot post by Sophia Bernazzani, “In 2015, Target partnered with UNICEF on a campaign called Kid Power, which committed Target to one of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The retailer sold kid-friendly fitness trackers encouraging them to complete various fitness activities, which ultimately helped deliver food packets to underprivileged children around the world.”
To ensure that you’re making smart partnering decisions, choose partnerships that align with your values. If you have not yet determined your brand values, make it a top priority. The best way to do this is to follow my 3S Method. First: Source. Do a Google search of “brand value words.” Choose as many words as possible that you resonate with and feel are important.
I like to put them on index cards (or you could use digital Kanban boards) to make step two easier. Second: Sort. Group the index cards with similar words. For instance, honesty, integrity and truth would go in the same pile. Finally: Select. Choose your final words from the groups by what you feel best represents your deepest values.
Now, use these brand values as your North Star. Refer to them any time you are making decisions, such as who to partner with, who to hire, which clients to work with and more. Doing so is sure to help you stand out amongst the noise online and attract raving fans with similar values.
Branding strategies can make or break an organization. There’s a lot that goes into developing a successful brand, and the best companies around the world put substantial time and effort into brand development and image. Creating a successful brand requires time and research commitment and is an ongoing strategy that can yield amazing results.
However, small businesses at the start of their inception can potentially create crucial branding mistakes during their initial stages of development that costs them a lot of customers, money, and time. Even major brands make big branding mistakes, like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and Amazon’s Fire Phone.
Brand research services for positioning strategies, brand mapping, and perceptual mapping can help you, whether you’re a small business or a long-time market player, to avoid pitfalls and the costly mistakes of failed brand positioning.
Common Branding Mistakes by New Businesses and Entrepreneurs
Do you remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1995? You might not because it’s one of Nintendo’s biggest failures in the history of the company. It didn’t offer what it promised, a true VR experience, resulting in incredibly low sales and quick removal from the market. What about Amazon’s Fire Phone in 2014? It only lasted one year because of its limited availability and features that didn’t resonate with audiences. Even major companies like Nintendo and Amazon have to be careful about product or service branding that can tarnish their reputation and result in massive profit loss.
Even small branding mistakes can cost a company. Not only will your efforts and time spent towards planning to be lost, but you will have cost your business a lot of money and even potentially tarnish your reputation permanently, which can be completely devastating for the longevity of a brand.
Below are seven mistakes that you can avoid when it comes to brand positioning so that you learn more about them and avoid them altogether:
Lack of Competitor Research You have to learn about your competitors if you want to be successful. How do they position their brand? What types of products and services do they offer? How are they perceived in their respective industry? How are they succeeding? Do you have a potential opportunity in the market where they do not? You don’t want to identically replicate your competitor’s strategies. But you do have to learn everything there is to know about the successes and failures of your competitors so that you know how to uniquely position yourself in the market.
Brand Messaging Doesn’t Suit Target Audience If you can’t develop a brand message that fits with your target audience, nobody is going to buy from you. You have to learn everything about your target audience like demographics, what they like to buy, where they shop, what times of the day or times of the year do they make purchases related to your offerings, what colors motivate and drive them to make purchases, what parts of the world are they located, how does culture affect purchasing, and many more.
Failed Market Study Effective market research needs to be obtained about how people are reacting to your brand, products, or services. Survey analysis can be obtained to further your market research and understanding, or a complex study of social media research and analysis can help you to understand how people review or perceive you in the market. If you don’t analyze feedback from your customer base, you will be making a costly mistake in your brand research initiatives.
Association or Dissociation with Events and Motives Just because you want to create a product or service or build your brand around a particular design or niche space in the market, doesn’t mean it will be successful. You can’t just build and sell tablets just because iPad’s are popular, create a bottled water company because you feel people will always need to drink water, or design makeup and cosmetics because there is a popular trend in that space this year. You have to delve deeply into your brand research strategy to truly understand the reasoning behind purchasing decisions and product and service popularity.
Inconsistent Corporate Identity Everything about your brand identity has to make sense, from the colors that you choose to represent your company, to the logo and fonts that you use throughout your campaigns, to the style of writing, tone and messaging that you implement to speak to and reach audiences. Everything has to remain consistent so that people understand your brand values and what you are offering them. If you fail, you could spend a lot of time rebranding and causing confusion to your audience and miss a lot of opportunities.
Poor Product Packaging
Product packaging is the first thing people see when looking at your brand, whether they are online or physically in store locations. Everything from materials, graphics, size, shape, and color all are important elements of packaging designs. You could spend a lot of money rebranding your packaging if your product performs poorly. On the other hand, you might spend money rebranding your packaging when it isn’t even necessary and have to revert back to the way it was. Effective brand research is going to help you understand the best elements and packaging designs that will help your company thrive.
Making the Wrong Impression If you are selling premium services, you don’t want to use commodity branding. You will deter audiences from your brand. There is a reason why so many fast food restaurant chains use the colors red and yellow, like Burger King, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Carl’s Jr., and software companies use blue and black like Intel, IBM, Apple, or Google. People associate certain attributes to particular products and designs. People won’t understand what you are offering them if you make the wrong impression. Pay particular attention to detail and use the right research and analysis to make a lasting impression that makes sense with audiences.
How Brand Research Can Help
Brand marketing research is integral to the success of organizations in the modern world. In fact, no business out there that is successful in today’s market leaves home without brand research.
Brand research improves your competitiveness, visibility, and messaging and can help your business take a strategic position in the market using proven data from effective research and analysis services. Here are some of the major benefits of effective brand research:
Integrated Metrics: You can see the impacts of your project decisions and forecasts with measurable and tangible results.
Allocate Market Spend: Understand how to make investments that will lead to successful outcomes.
Identify Competition: You can not only find out who your competition is, but you can find out how and why they are successful in the market, or even discover how to position your brand in areas where your competition is lacking.
Develop Accurate Strategies: Create informed decisions built on a foundation of research and analytics with a better understanding of market developments, pricing, and positioning.
Capture Target Audience: Better understand consumer behavior and create effective marketing and advertising strategies.
Brand Perception: Truly understand how audiences feel and react to your brand, products and services.
Effective Brand Research for Organizations Across Industries
Research Optimus (ROP) has top research and analyst specialists who are tenured in market research, business research, customer analysis, and brand research services that provide the required insights to take the appropriate steps towards building effective and long lasting business brand awareness, brand marketing, and positioning strategies. Apart from services like market research, product research, and risk analysis, contact our team today to jump start or further advance your journey into brand research and obtain the targeted insights you need to avoid branding mistakes.
An introduction to brand strategy, and the tangible and intangible elements that make up a brand. And a brief discussion of the questions of to ask in order to focus and improve your brand strategy. Learn More: https://www.decisionanalyst.com/servi…
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