Which do you prefer and why: Coke or Pepsi?
We all know branding is a big deal. We all have brands we love. Think See’s Candies versus Godiva. Honda or Toyota. Burger King and McDonalds. Not only do we love certain brands, but we stick to them and argue about their innate superiority to our friends.
For business, there’s nothing better than a customer fiercely loyal to your brand. Just look at Apple! How do you create such a faithful friend?
Once they believe in your brand, brand loyalty comes from quality customer service.
Building Brand Awareness: Make new friends
To put a new twist on an old saying, having no publicity is bad publicity. Essentially, if no one knows about you, you can’t grow your business. How do people get to know you? Good publicity.
Get your brand out there. You can do this in any number of ways.
Advertise Your Brand
Advertise in magazines and online. Consider who your customer base is and where they are as you plan your advertising campaigns.
Also, get your brand logo out there. You can put your logo on almost anything: T-shirts, pens, candy wrappers, tattoos (temporary…or permanent if you’re really, really dedicated).
Be Present Online and in the Community
Know what your brand stands for.
Make sure that you and your brand become recognized by your potential customers. Create an online presence that people want to watch. Have a funny YouTube channel. Start great discussions on Facebook.
In the “real world,” show up to community events. Run the concession at the soccer tournament. Get a booth at the local home & garden show.
The more your name is known, the more likely prospective customers will think of you when they need the services your business provides. It takes at least 5 ‘touches’ before someone remembers you.
Brand awareness is only the first step in growing a business. You not only need customers to know about you, you also need them to stick with you. Let’s look at how to build your brand’s loyalty.
Building Brand Loyalty: Keep your old friends
People want to like you. New customers come into a business expecting that you’ll do a great job. If you meet, or even better, exceed, their expectations, you’ve got a return customer. Good service is the foundation block of building brand loyalty.
Here are three key features of good customers service.
Be Consistent and Reliable
Follow through on your promises and be on time. Customers want reliability and want to be confident that the service you provide will be equally good every time. If it turns out that you make a mistake, fix the problem as soon as possible. Most customers are remarkably understanding of errors if accompanied by a sincere apology and solution.
Let Your Customers Help Shape the Company
Turn your customers into partners. People love feeling like their voices matter. Ask questions on Facebook or Twitter – whether substantive or silly – and respond to your customer’s answers. Ask the customer how you’re doing and shape business decisions around their responses.
Be sure to let customers know if the business is going to be changing in any way. And if you make a mistake, own up to it. Use it as an opportunity to let customers help make your business better.
Treat Your Customers Like Friends
You can’t go wrong with good old-fashioned politeness. But friendliness goes beyond being nice. Get to know your customers and respond to them individually. If one person wants prompt service with no small talk, be kind, efficient, and quick. If another customer loves to chat, take time to ask about their families or their recent vacation.
New customers are always good. Getting new customers and keeping the old is even better. Creating brand awareness and brand loyalty are key steps in making your business into a lasting venture.
Are you looking to grow your business? We’re ready to help spread the word about your brand and help you keep all those new customers happy. Give us a call.