With Valentine’s Day as our muse, we’re dedicating February’s blogs to ways you can grow your business with strong relationships. How can you make customers and prospects fall in love with you?  Here, we look at the power of a strong brand.

If you’ve ever picked up a self-help book while aimlessly perusing Barnes and Noble, Starbucks latte in your hand, you’ll understand the number one self-help rule: How can you expect others to love or care about you if you do not love or care about yourself? Ouch.

 Sure it’s cliché, but there is some truth to that saying.

But this isn’t about you; this is about your BRAND and whether you’ve taken a good look at it lately. Many companies make the mistake of focusing only on their products or services. They fail to look inward to their brand. When is the last time you reflected on whether your brand aligns with your current vision and goals?

Major Brands Tackle a Refresh

 Branding is a crucial marketing strategy, and if your brand is lacking, then so are you. Is your logo up to date and reflective of current needs? Does your website function properly for today’s users (….Do you have a website?!).  

Think about some brands that have recently refreshed: Rite Aid, Dunkin’, and Google are a few that come to mind. Rite Aid completely revamped their logo, fonts, and colors. Dunkin’ Donuts changed its name to what people usually called it anyways—Dunkin’. And Google gave their logo and app icons a modern twist to stay competitive in 2020. 

Have you noticed that many McDonald’s restaurants are getting a facelift? If you step inside a McDonald’s, you will see more MTO style kiosks instead of order takers at registers. Your food is served to you at a table, much like a full-service restaurant. The reason for this? They want to rebrand themselves as not just a typical “fast food” chain, but rather to position themselves to compete with full-service restaurants. By enhancing the customer experience, McDonald’s hopes to have a competitive edge against Wendy’s and Burger King.

 These changes help to keep a brand alive and relevant to today’s world— remember, branding isn’t always just about the logo and colors you use.

 While it is easy to let internal efforts fall to the wayside and service our customers first, don’t make the mistake of neglecting your brand, this could cost you customers and your reputation.

 Your Brand is Your First Impression

Your brand is the first thing people notice about you. It is the first thing your audience thinks about when you come to mind. 

 From the logo you use to how you speak to your audience; people need to be attracted to your brand to gain interest and trust. I often hear a lot of companies say that they provide great products or services that speak for themselves and, therefore, they do not need to worry about their brand. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of other companies out there who do what you do and, many of them have put the time and effort into their brand initiatives. 

You may offer better products and services than the next guy, but they might have a nicer looking logo and a website that sells what they do better than you. Plus, they probably have a nicely designed business card and mobile-first website, with all the latest features to go with it. It’s extremely hard to be perceived as a legitimate, trustworthy entity without some branding. And successful businesses know the value of personal, trustworthy relationships.

We all know the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. Not only must what you offer stand apart, but YOU need to stand apart from the crowd to get the foothold in the market you want AND still provide the quality products and services you are known for.

Your Brand Should be Relevant

People want to know that what you are doing is current and relevant to them. Things change so quickly anymore that it can be hard to keep up. If what you’re doing or selling is no longer relevant, then neither is your company. 

 (Look at McDonald’s again: Fast food may be fast food, but they are trying to position themselves as classy, sophisticated, and consciously aware of the changing values in society). 

Likewise, brands need to stop and evaluate how you look and sell yourself to appeal to current audiences. If you don’t take the time to refresh your brand, you could end up losing potential business to your competitors.  

Another mistake companies —especially smaller companies— make is thinking, “I’ve got years of rapport with long-standing, steady customers and, I don’t need anymore.” Budgets, decision-makers, and users change with the economy. While brand loyalty is an amazing thing to have amongst your clients, it doesn’t give you the excuse to slack off.

 Eventually, those customers move on either from old age, new pursuits, changing values, or waning interest. Have you ensured that you are not isolating the upcoming generation of customers from your brand?  What others previously valued may no longer be true, so it’s important to ensure your brand doesn’t come off as outdated, sloppy, or no longer capable of meeting the needs of today’s audiences. 

Your Website Matters

Websites are a highly effective marketing tool for any company. If you do not have a website currently, then you’re severely behind the competition. 

Maybe you do have a website, but you haven’t updated it in a very long time. It could have broken functions or not be optimized for mobile. Maybe the information on it is outdated and no longer reflective of the products/services you offer, or maybe it doesn’t speak to the right audience anymore. Maybe the entire experience is difficult for users to navigate and they become frustrated. Maybe the design just looks like it is from 1998.

Whatever the case may be, having an up-to-date, mobile responsive, modern-looking website is an absolute must. 

Most people are going to either find you on Google or look you up on Google first. Any obstacles users may face accessing, using, or even looking at your website could cause them to look elsewhere. 

Sure, good looking, functional websites are an investment, but they are well worth it in the long run.  (If you’re on a tight budget, but want a great looking, easy to update website, consider our StudioPFG platform.) A well-maintained, frequently updated website is a sign of trust that you’re established, know what you’re doing, and you’re ready for business to come your way. Plus, it helps you gain visibility with Google. Ready to have your clients fall in love with your website? Contact us, we’d love to help.

 

 

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