It’s not a less known fact that your brand is your reputation. It is sort of what people talk about behind your back and you are very well known to people because of it only. Always remember whether running a product based business or a service one, you must achieve brand alignment to succeed. Well, how to achieve brand alignment? No worries, we’ll cover it soon.
Your brand isn’t what you say to the world about your brand, but rather what your end customer says about your brand.
People are indecisive and often don’t know what they desire. Good branding tells customers what they want (in the best case, it creates the need), and every single brand touchpoint with your audience either makes them more likely to buy, or less likely. But here is the hack you must know. The most important factor which makes people buy is trust.
For eg, when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and an ad pops up for a phone claiming to be better than the iPhone. You might think it looks cool, but are unsure if it is legit. You don’t have trust in it. But because it interests you, you go out looking for trust.
You might wanna find information about the seller or the company that would help you justify your final purchase, but when you go onto their website or social media pages, it’s sloppy. And this sloppiness immediately brings you back to reality by showing you that the product is not worth the risk of your hard earned money.
Here’s the thing that you should be aware of. If you would have gone onto their website or social media pages and there, saw elegant designs, customer testimonials, sleek imagery, features in the press, or anything along those lines, you would have been much more likely to make your final purchase of that phone. Why? Their strong branding created trust in your subconscious mind.
Table of Contents
1. Building Brand Alignment
The last thing you’ll want while building your brand for your customer is making them confused. But this happens far too often with the online e-commerce industry.
When a customer gets confused, they give up & take their money to someone who knows what they are doing.
One of the easiest ways to confuse, and lose your customers, is by doing too much too early. If you specialize in making clothes and are known for only that, don’t jump into making watches, it might finish off your clothing brand. By doing this, you almost immediately lose your brand identity, and further, brand alignment.
By being known for clothes, you probably have advertisements that highlight you specialize in the clothing industry. If someone sees that advertisement and looks at your products and sees watches mixed in with the clothing, they will feel lied & played to.
Another example is challenging the marketing that newly produced product is in tandem with the original one. When people see ads for a watch, they will go look. But if your brand is not aligned with the advertisement you put through, it will be very easy for the end customer to say, “I don’t want to buy a watch from a clothing company”.
If the people know you for that one thing and then adding something that is not directly related to your brand makes your brand alignment suffers. You might get sales, you might generate revenue but what you’ll lose is loyalty and trust of your target audience. When you have been building a brand image around one product, odds are it’s pretty good and would end up gaining a monopoly in the market. It is very hard to replicate that quality on a first time product outside your niche, and if the newly produced product does not live up to the normal standard of the market, say goodbye to your loyal customers forever.
I’m in any possible way not saying don’t expand, but simply stating, don’t expand too fast. Instead of insanely jumping from clothing to watches with no warning or experience, start with jeans, pants, and then gradually introduce new clothing items until you get to watches. By doing this, you create alignment. It is way easier to justify buying jeans from a clothing company instead of a watch. Just imagine buying a Rolex from a Gucci showroom and guess what, you’ll realize exactly what I’m trying to explain to you here.
For a moment, take an example of Apple. Did Apple company jump right from the computer to the watches? No, they did not. They gradually introduced smaller products, from computers to iPhones, and iPads alike. Each one building on their alignment of quality, until there was nothing else left besides the watch. And boom! all are major hits of the market.
2. Building Trust
Okay, building trust with customers is not your mantra or your company motto, and I get that. While that may not be what you build your brand around right now, building trust must be a pillar in your branding foundation which should strengthen alongside time. Remember, without trust, there is no way of keeping your brand aligned with your target audience.
Trust creates Brand Alignment.
It doesn’t matter what you want your brand image should be, if you want to attract and keep your customers, your branding needs to be consistent in whatever it does. Your brand’s Instagram needs to have similar content on your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and so-on. Social media is a major touchpoint for consumers, and if you are inconsistent here, your customers will expect inconsistency almost everywhere else too.
In a growing digital world, there can be a lot of touchpoints where consumers can discover your brand for the first time. To be successful, and you must create a strong brand image, be in control of these digital touchpoints. This means that every experience a consumer has with your brand needs to evoke the same set of emotions or showcase the same ideals uniformly.
Apple, again is a perfect example of this. Try to go on the internet and see any content or advertisement put out by Apple. Every single one creates the exact same idea for their product. From their website to their billboards, Apple’s content has the same feeling, same emotions. Thus, their brand message is aligned.
By brand being aligned almost to perfection, their customers tend to trust them. Their product may have flaws or a huge list of competitors, but every single consumer trusts an Apple product to live up to their own expectations. Loyalty and trust like that is not easy to achieve. It takes both, time and effort. Moreover, it takes brand alignment.
3. Maintaining Trust
Maintaining trust maintains your brand alignment. If you have spent the necessary time to build a strong brand image and further, build trust for your customers, maintaining that trust is not at all a tall task.
The best way to maintain trust is to be consistent, the same way is to build trust.
Consistency is the primary key to gaining consumers trust and keeping it. If your products consistently deliver on quality to your customers, you will never lose the trust of your customers. If your service consistently over-delivers value as an end product, your customer will trust you. With so many competitors in your market, if you break that trust, you could very easily lose that customer.
Take pride in your work and care about your customer. People can tell when brands are faking it, it is something which comes to them naturally. To maintain trust, deliver, if possible, over-deliver. Make it a habit to go above and beyond consumer expectations. It’s easy to say, but harder to do. By making quality consistent with all your brand touchpoints, it will be easier for you to create and keep trust.
If you believe in yourself and your product, customers will see that, sooner or later. Consistently prove to your customers that you care about them, that you care about making quality products for them, and that you ensure that they purchase value for money, not crap.
How to achieve brand alignment? Well, Brand Alignment is key towards successfully growing your brand, and the foundation of this growth can be built through trust only.
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