Brand Optimizing Lessons – In the age of overcrowding among brands, it is a decidedly tough ask to optimize brands. The stiffest resistance comes from the consumers themselves. They are saturated with brands brewing around them. Consumers are quite tired of the traditional branding practices and those ways of making sales. They are looking for a change. If you can give it to them, you are making yourself heard without breaking a sweat. Change does not mean trying out some bizarre stunts to grab audience attention! In the world of 24/7 breaking news, a single false step will hurt the brand for eternity.
Brand Optimizing Lesson 1: Open Up Doors
This is the single-most important breakthrough point for brands. Opening up doors is what smart brands do. It is like the famous fourth wall theatre dynamics where the audience comprises the fourth wall, along with the three walls on the stage. Your brand is you, the employees, the products and services and the fourth entity: the consumer. Make the consumers feel involved. Allow them to dictate terms in policy and decision-making. For example, ask their views on the product name of a new launch. Let them vote through social media or on the website. It is not just a smart brand building exercise, but also wonderful for fresh perspective that your in-house brand pundits may not be able to provide.
Brand Optimizing Lesson 2: Open Up Platforms
When you can reach out to different consumers, no matter which online platform they are on, why restrict yourself to a few that are known and followed widely. Everyone knows about branding on Facebook and Twitter. Why not hit the other social networks in the fray? A simple task like creating websites that are browser-friendly and device-friendly across the board will do wonders for branding. The consumers must be able to get in touch with you in a jiffy, no matter which device they are using or which platform they are on. That should be your goal in the long run. Get listed on Wiki and develop apps for hand-held gadgets. Take part in threads on forums and discussion rooms online. These are well-known but rarely practiced!
Brand Optimizing Lesson 3: Open Up Customer Care
In my experience, the first question about a wannabe brand that a consumer asks is how is the customer service? This concern has topped the most frequently asked question about not just new but established brands as well. Everyone understands that contact with a brand does not end with a sale. It goes well into the years with after-sale service or other requirements. Brands that may sell quality products or service but give consumers a nightmare after the sale is clinched often hit rough patches after a period of time. Customers quickly share their pain online and in a short span of time, no one wants to touch that brand! Steer clear of that pitfall and throw up the customer care team for a genuinely caring approach. Resolve issues on phone, email and social networks.
Brand Optimizing Lesson 4: Open Up Content
A website or blog can be run with a battery of content writers, not a brand. Sales pitches and clever marketing gimmicks are known to consumers and they are less patient about it today. What they want to hear and read is that fellow consumers think about your products, services and brands. Just like I mentioned about customer care, user reviews and recommendations rank at the top of the heap when it comes to questions about brands. Did you not notice how your own purchases are dictated by a quick glance, if not a thorough read, of the user review sections on ecommerce sites? Why don’t you include these reviews in your own website instead of relegating them to third party sites only? Publish the flowing platitudes and work on the stabbing criticisms. This brings about transparency in the brand, something that is very much lacking among brands today. This will also bring a breath of fresh air for consumers who are used to being stifled when they make discordant sounds.
The Final Word
I can speak authoritatively on the brand optimizing lessons from my personal experience of steering 7boats.com from a fledging green-horn to the established digital marketing brand it is today. In these few years, the clients and customers have taught me the lessons that I shared here. Branding, at heart and stripped off technical ad jargons, is about making a heart-to-heart connect between the seller and the buyer. The more you keep it simple and uncomplicated, with the glass wall as thin as possible, the better it will be to reach out to consumers.