Put the ‘Us’ in Trust: 6 Surefire Ways to Earn Your Clients’ Trust

Put the ‘Us’ in Trust: 6 Surefire Ways to Earn Your Clients’ Trust

Alignable recently released the results for The Most Trusted Brands By Small Businesses. From communication to email marketing to online commerce, brands were ranked in terms of trustworthiness using ratings and reviews gathered from small business owners. Specifically, customers were asked if they would recommend a major brand to another business owner. The results may surprise you.

What won’t surprise you is this: brands with a low level of trustworthiness also suffer in other areas, like sales and customer loyalty. As a small business owner, customer loyalty can make or break your company, making trust an integral element of your success. In fact, Entrepreneur asserts that “Trust, not exposure, is the currency of today.”

Let’s take a look at some ways business owners can build trust with your clientele.

  1. Never underestimate the power of a first impression. Did you know that 60-80 percent of e-commerce site visitors are first-time visitors? This fact makes it more important than ever to present a site with an attractive and high-quality design.
  2. Value honesty in your business dealings. Many customers are so accustomed to dishonest business practices that their “honesty radar” is always on when dealing with a new company. The quickest way to turn off current or potential clients is to take part in shady business. Be as transparent as possible in all aspects of business.
  3. Produce compelling content. Advertising used to focus on authority figures endorsing products. However, consumers- specifically millennials- have become skeptical of advertising, rendering professional endorsements essentially worthless for companies whose target demographic consists largely of millennials. Today, it takes a steady stream of worthwhile, interesting content to slowly build authority. While some companies can still experience success with endorsements, the key here is to know your audience and what type of content they value. Then, tailor your content to meet the needs of your audience.
  4. Apologize publicly for mistakes. No company is infallible, and in a world where business and politician culpability is a rare sight, a little humility can be refreshing. The important thing to remember is that after a mistake, there is a brief window of time in which you can own your mistakes and regain the faith of your customers.
  5. Keep an eye on your online reputation. The adage, “All press is good press” doesn’t apply to all situations. If your main goal is attention, then bad press isn’t always bad news. However, for a business aiming to build trust, you want to monitor your online reputation and jump on negative press. Here are a few tools that can help.
  6. Be consistent. Clear, consistent messages about your product are important to manage. The more reliable your behavior, the more trust you build with your clients.

Businesses can’t generate positive client relations overnight- or out of thin air. In this article, we talk about crafting a memorable brand experience. Building trust is part of crafting your brand experience, and can help generate a positive perception of your company. Building trust takes time and effort. Make relationships an important part of your business by starting as early as possible. Take care to prioritize your clients’ trust, and show that you value their business. Provide a clear and straightforward way for customers to provide feedback, and show that you hear their voice and value their opinions.

It may sound like a lot of work, but taking the time to nurture your business-client relationships now will pay off generously in the future!

Your Brand Experience in Crescendo: Creating the Giddy Effect

Your Brand Experience in Crescendo: Creating the Giddy Effect

“Brand experience” is one of the common buzzwords floating around in business crowds, and for good reason. A lot has been said about the topic, but here we’ll focus on a particular aspect of the experience: customer delight; or as we at Right Think affectionately call it, the giddy effect.

Customer Delight: a.k.a. the Giddy Effect

The giddy effect is the crescendo of your clientele’s experience. It is what turns customers into fans and advocates of your company, products, and services; it also causes them to happily return for future purchases.

Whether people love shopping for your product, utilizing your services, or interacting with your company, there has to be a hook- what marketers refer to as a unique selling proposition. It’s the one thing that stands out and keeps people coming back for what only you can offer.

Can you confidently answer these important questions: What elevates your company? What sets your product apart from others like it? Why should customers remain loyal to your brand?

The main goal of marketing is to take your company and your product and make them part of something bigger: a brand. A brand is easier for consumers to connect with. The objective is to emotionally connect with your customers, then nurture that relationship into a long-term commitment. Crafting a one-of-a-kind brand experience is part of successfully cultivating customer loyalty.

Your Company’s Brand Experience is Unique

A brand experience is a client’s comprehensive response to a brand, made up of many smaller details. The term was coined in 2009 by Brakus et al, and includes concepts such as psychological responses to color and text design, cognitive reaction to marketing techniques, and a behavioral response to a person or song used in commercials all combine to create a lasting impression.

Because your company’s brand is meant to define and set it apart from all the competition, your customers’ experience will be unique. They are drawn to your brand’s personality because it represents something (preferably somethings) that resonates with them, and their experiences with your company must reinforce that.

That’s why brand experiences need to be central to your marketing campaigns, customer service, and employee training. Combining these with consistent, quality customer experiences is surefire ways to build brand loyalty.

How can you take control of your brand experience?

There are two main aspects to consider when crafting a brand experience: the mental and the emotional.

The mental half of a brand experience has to do with the more tangible and measurable side of your brand. There are things a company has more control over, such as the reliability of their product, the availability and effectiveness of customer service, and the accessibility to the product by your targeted demographic. The key to winning here is to provide consistency in the experience itself- with marketing materials and campaigns, good quality products and service, and authenticity in the brand. Keep promises, stay true to your mission statement, and value your consumers.

The emotional half of brand experience is harder to control because it relies heavily on how people perceive you. However, feelings are influenced by the interactions your consumers have with people while they purchase and utilize your services or products. One conversation with a customer service representative can have tremendous impact- for good or ill- on the overall opinion a customer has about your company.

Learning from successful brands

We can learn a lot about brand experiences when we consider companies who have successfully crafted and maintained their own brand experience. Just the name Starbucks brings to mind Starbucks is a prime example of a trendy and eclectic brand experience, eliciting the image of a comfortable lounge full of people drinking coffee or working on their laptops.

Disneyland, on the other hand, is about the magic of making dreams come true – even in a world filled with obstacles and flaws. They utilize music, decor, and their employees to create an experience you won’t get anywhere else.

While Starbucks and Disney are in different industries and use separate approaches, each has achieved their own unique brand experience, resulting in customers returning to have the same, delightful (dare we say giddy?) experience every time.

Just starting to build your brand experience? Here are some questions to consider:

  • How do you want customers to feel when using your services or products?
  • What 5 words would you use to describe your desired brand experience?
  • Who do you most hope to impact with your brand?
  • What thoughts do you want your brand to inspire?
  • What emotions do you want your brand to evoke?
  • How long will a brand experience last for a typical customer?

Need help defining your brand? Download our branding workbook to get started on crafting your ideal brand experience!

The Dos, Don’ts, and Duhs of Rebranding

The Dos, Don’ts, and Duhs of Rebranding

Do you know that in 2008, all four of the first family wore J. Crew during the inauguration festivities? This occurred at the tail end of a five year company rebranding, during which revenues rose 107% and J. Crew became known as the store you turn to for the basics (think tank tops and capris) with a hint of luxury. The cornerstone of the campaign’s success was actually paring down to focus more on what they did best: the basics. Once they did that, J.Crew went on to show that their product was for everyone- from stay-at-home-moms to the First Family.

In 1982, Harley-Davidson had no money, and was in fact $90 million in debt. Despite having a good brand and loyal customers, the company was unable to generate a profit because, at that point in time, their product quality had gone downhill, taking a backseat to other aspects of the company. The overhaul that saved them from bankruptcy had nothing to do with color scheme or logo choice, and everything to do with providing a better product. Once the top priority became producing a better quality of product, the company was eventually able to climb out of the hole and into the history books.

In the ‘90s, UPS was desperately seeking a foothold in their close competition with FedEx. Their win came in the form of a new tagline, “What can brown do for you?” accompanied by characters from ‘Mailroom Guy’ to ‘CEO’. The new approach aimed to show that no matter who you are in a company, UPS can meet your specific set of needs. After experiencing success with the effort, UPS has recently changed their slogan once more, highlighting their role on a global scale by saying “We [Heart] Logistics.” UPS knows- and shows- us that adapting to meet the needs of your customers is the way to their collective hearts.

Rebranding means something slightly different to everyone, as demonstrated by these three examples. And while consistency is one of the most important factors in successful marketing, change is sometimes the only option. So how do you know it’s time?

The companies previously discussed didn’t just start out knowing what their biggest issues were and what they needed to change. According to Entrepreneur magazine, these are 5 signs it’s time to rebrand:

  1. Your old image is obsolete
  2. You’re targeting a new demographic
  3. A new competitor is threatening you
  4. Your mission or values have changed
  5. Your original brand was botched

If one or more of these rings true for your business, it may be time to consider changing things up. But remember, knowing the problem isn’t the same thing as finding a solution. Companies can experience the same problems and in the end have vastly different solutions. This is where branding agencies such as Right Think can come in handy – they have experts familiar with the ins and outs (not to mention the dos and don’ts) that come with the process. They can help you take an in-depth look at the moving parts of your company and identify what isn’t working, what needs improvement, and what needs thrown out entirely.

No matter the solution you come up with, you can rest assured that companies before yours have had the same issues and needed the same solution before you. Why is that important to you? So you can be sure not to make the same mistakes. Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process:

Do your research before changing your name, including a visit to urbandictionary.com. This lesson comes to us from the SciFi Channel, who made a change in their name because they would be able to trademark the different spelling. Unfortunately, the spelling they landed on- Syfy- also happens to be a slang term for syphilis. The result? Alienation of many longtime fans, ridicule, and inclusion on lists of Don’ts for many years to come.

Sometimes, new is NOT better. Whether consumers are super attached to the original logo (think Tropicana in 2009), an attempt at modernity goes too far (like the 2012 Olympics), or you’re simply trying too hard to be cool (Radioshack), replacing a logo is touchy and should be done with caution. So, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

Any change should have the potential to be lasting change. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Pepsi or Coke fan, this is the truth: while Coke’s iconic logo has barely changed over decades, Pepsi has redone their branding many times. At great financial cost to the company, Pepsi has perhaps achieved some of their goals. However, they are also now the butt of many jokes due to their ever-changing logo and look. Worth it? Unlikely.

If you’re going to do it do it right. AOL and Xfinity are two companies whose recent changes are publicly acknowledged as skin deep. Both companies have rolled out something new- Comcast introduced Xfinity, and AOL produced a new logo- but neither followed up with additional changes. Consumers have been left scratching their heads, waiting to see how the companies’ new faces improve their business. A new name and a new logo are simply not a solution to deeper problems. If you’re not ready and willing to create lasting change within your company, then save your money and skip it!

Rebranding has helped many companies take a turn when their future was unclear at best. In today’s age, a company’s brand is their bond. Consumers have all the facts and figures at their fingertips, and now is the time when their loyalty is hard earned and long kept. Make sure your brand has what to takes!

Is rebranding the right choice for your company? Click here to find out!

What are your most important tips for rebranding? Tell us in the comments below!
What is your Brand’s Personality?

What is your Brand’s Personality?

As human beings, our personality is what sets us apart. The same is true for a brand. Applying human characteristics to your brand helps maintain a consistency throughout your marketing. Personality traits not only guide how a brand talks to consumers, but also create an emotional way for consumers to identify with a brand. Let’s take a look at a few different brand personalities:

Nike— Nike has always been affiliated with athletes. They align themselves with professional athletes and applaud passion and greatness in sports. Their tagline, Just Do It, is motivational. Nike talks to its consumers in a way meant to inspire action, discourage quitting, build confidence and aim for greatness.

Old Spice— This male-centric brand embraces silliness, making fun of stereotypical “manliness” qualities, and exaggerating the effects deodorant can have. The emotion they use over and over again is humor- their commercials and marketing campaigns are always funny!

Dove— Dove is primarily a female-focused brand, despite being a universal product. Their most famous branding came in the form of their “Real Beauty” campaigns. For 10 years now, these campaigns have challenged the socially accepted standards of beauty with campaigns filled with a diverse array of women, including varying degrees of skin color, body type, age, etc. They ask consumers to rethink the definition of a beautiful woman.

All three of these brands have achieved great success through their marketing, largely in part to such clear brand identities. Each offers a clear personality, targets a specific demographic, and maintains a consistent voice throughout different marketing campaigns.

How can you identify your brand’s personality? Start asking yourself the right questions.

  • Who are you?
  • Who are you talking to?
  • What are you selling?
  • What are the characteristics and tone of your brand?
  • How will you communicate with your customer base?
  • What do you want to say?
  • How do you want them to feel?

One final tip: quite often, a brand’s personality mirrors the personality of its target demographic. Keep that in mind when defining the personality of your brand.

Click here to download

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get started developing your

brand personality today.

Using Color to Get Your Business Noticed

Using Color to Get Your Business Noticed

Isn’t color amazing? I am soaking in all the color that is going on in my yard right now as the new spring green grass pokes it’s way through the soil and the tulips bloom in vivid purple and orange. Our color-starved eyes have finally made it through another winter. Yay! One of the funnest parts of the branding process is when we get to show our clients color palettes for their brand. Color is really what brings a brand to life. Most of the time people gravitate towards their favorite colors. Which makes sense that they would do that, however, did you know that you can actually use color as a brand strategy? And a powerful one at that. Check this out. In a study called Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers found that “people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings.”

Can you believe that? Color can supercharge your brand and your marketing strategies because color evokes emotion in people. You can use color to stir up an appetite or change someone’s mood, help them trust you or get them excited. Of course, we can’t always predict how a person will react to a given color because their emotion around it depends on their personal experiences, however, survey results tell us that the majority of people group color into the following emotional responses.

BLACK Serious, distinctive, formal, elegant, bold, powerful, sophisticated, expensive, protection, dramatic, classy, mysterious, intense, excited, fierce, evil, night, death

WHITE Purity, truthfulness, faith, pristine, contemporary, refined, airy, hope, simplicity, cleanliness, goodness, safety, fresh, easy

BROWN Approachable, earthy, outdoorsy, longevity, conservative, dogmatic, wholesome, delicious, rich, rustic, warm, natural, authentic

ORANGE Fun, cheerful, exuberant, spontaneous, optimistic, speed, searching, excited, courageous, friendly, success, confidence, sunshine, joy

YELLOW Bright, energetic, sunny, creativity, intellect, joy, happy, youthful, friendly, positive, surprise, energetic, cautious

GREEN Life, growth, money, freshness, fertility, healing, healthy, fertile, environmental, reliable, appetite, harmony, neutral, calm, involved, sensitive, tender

BLUE Authority, nautical, dignified, security, confidence, classic, stability, trust, happy, relaxed, cool, approachable, lively, joyful, peaceful, tranquil, royal, masculine, sincere, wisdom, intelligence, faith, heavenly

PURPLE Sophisticated, mysterious, spiritual, dramatic, wealth, royal, youth, creative, mischievous, mystical, deep thinking, nobility, luxury, ambition

RED Love, energy, power, strength, passion, heat, warning, war, danger, determination, desire, assertive, sexy, vitality, fear, speed

So, let’s say, for example, that you have a skincare product that reduces the appearance of aging and you want your customers to feel youthful, happy, healthy and energetic. You might decorate your home in earthy tones, but those colors may not be the best strategy for this brand. This brand needs to consider palettes with bright yellows and maybe some greens, because those are the colors that will produce the youthful, happy, energetic, and healthy feelings in the customer.

Here is a chart from Help Scout showing how big brands are using color:

 

When considering color palettes, it’s important to think about what’s appropriate for the product, what colors the competition is using and the feelings that you want to evoke in the customer. Download our complete color chart here and check it against your brand. Are you using the most strategic colors?

 

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