Organisations often make wild, hyped-up claims that are designed to attract people’s interests, but they can’t always keep those promises, which can be very damaging to your brand,” says independent brand analyst Michel Hogan.
Many SMEs make the error of thinking branding is as simple as creating a pretty website and waiting for the customers to pour in. But a brand isn’t about an attractive site, or eye-catching logo.
Whether you are thinking about breathing fresh life into your company by rebranding your business or want to strengthen your existing image, it is important to remember that in doing so your business is making various promises that customers will expect you to fulfil.
Define your brand
Are you the expert in your industry? Are you more known for providing the high-cost, luxurious product, or the low-cost, handy option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be everything at once in order to please everyone.
By taking the time to think through the messages you plan on communicating to customers, you focus on the things you can actually deliver, says Hogan.
You might not get as much attention, but you’re far more likely to convert leads into customers by showing you are trustworthy, credible and capable of following through.
Decide how to communicate your message
Using content to communicate your marketing message is one thing, but before you start creating blog posts and social media updates you need to decide on the tone you will use. Will it be professional, authentic, snarky or colloquial? Will your tone differ across your sites or platforms?
“The tendency I see in an online social media environment is to go for the provocative… because that’s what gets retweets,” says Hogan.
“Even though the snappy or sarcastic posts have a higher likelihood of getting retweeted, only do that if you can do it well.”
Stop and question whether making that promise is worth putting online. “Too many people use language inflation and it’s incredibly exhausting.”
Remember, not everyone is ‘spectacular’ or ‘amazing’ 100% of the time.
Follow through on your promises
Too often you see businesses making flimsy statements like: “We’ll send you out an email in two weeks, but we’re not going to be around for the next week or so,” says Hogan.
To prove your authenticity, be guided by what you and your audience care about and are interested in, says Hogan. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you aim to be and what customers perceive you to be.
“If you’re trying to use those online channels to reach customers, there’s no point engaging with them if you’re not going to be organised, on top of it and have the processes to follow through to capture what’s being generated.”
It’s all about etiquette
What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? It’s the same etiquette that applies online when you post your latest offers and promotions.
“If you want to be deliberately provocative that’s fine, but just understand what you put online is your image,” says Hogan.
“Don’t say that you can do stuff that you can’t do. Be nice, be professional and be what you want to be known for. What goes in the real world goes in the online world.”