This is the guest post by Andrea Shillington
Social media has forever changed marketing and business. I believe it’s for the better. I’m calling this era a brandvolution, because it’s time for customers to naturally select what brands will survive based on who a brand is and what they stand for.
As a result of these new and inexpensive social tools, businesses are jumping onto social media as means to communicate with their customers and create awareness. But, thanks to social media, the conversation between businesses and customers has become a two way street. Today, businesses are not the only ones building the brand’s message, customers are too. Customers are either talking about how much they love a brand or how the brand has disappointed them lately. Regardless, the truth is getting out for the world to see.
A customer’s experience, good or bad, is playing a major role in a brand’s ability to acquire new customers. A brand’s new shop front is their customer’s google search.
As I see it, branding was originally intended to help business tell the truth about why a brand is different and then help a business consistently build upon that reputation through the way they do things. But in the rush to get ahead, businesses have over–promised and under–delivered. As a result, customers don’t believe word’s like integrity, quality and excellence anymore.
In this brandvolution, leaders will need to get personal about why they exist other than to make money. It’s time for businesses to connect with customers on a deeper level. Commit to their promises, even when no one is watching. Brands that will get ahead in this new era will under-promise and over-deliver.
But how do you discover this clarity of voice? How do you genuinely deliver tweet after tweet? There’s no magic pill I’m afraid. It’s more a matter of the heart than the head. But the secret to your brand is you. Yes that’s right, you are your brand. The power of your brand lies in your ability to connect your business with your own personality and passions. Branding is simply a process to help you unlock this potential.
Not every leader has this level of clarity. That’s ok. But, whoever is the visionary leader behind the brand is the one who needs to do the self–discovery work. Branding is a leadership initiative. If you’re the leader, don’t be surprised if you encounter some blocks and negative vibes. That’s your saboteur talking. We’ve all got one of those. Just tell that mean monkey to SHUT UP!
To deliver on a brands truth, here are 7 tips to get your started.
1) Talk to your customers. Make sure what you think you know, is in fact what you know.
2) If you’re not the business owner, get them involved, the brand is the visionary leader behind the business.
3) Discover why the business exists other than to make money, and then why customers will care.
4) Get real about the behaviours than underlie the way things get done in the business.
5) Be brave. Don’t be boring. Stand up for what you believe in.
6) Don’t be afraid to avoid certain customers.
7) Think differently about your industry and the way you serve your customers.
Andrea hosts #brandtribe tweetchat every Wednesday at 9am PST / 12pm EST.