You have spent years building your business and brand from next to nothing. You’ve invested tons of time and effort into it, and can now have it ripped away from you in just a few minutes.
That’s all it takes to destroy a brand.
A brand is what people think about your business. It’s how they feel about you, and it’s how they feel when they hear your name. If people are turned off or annoyed by your brand, it can be (obviously) detrimental to sales. Not only will this prevent you from making money, but it also proves to be a waste of the money you have already spent trying to build a trustworthy brand.
YOU are your brand. It doesn’t matter if you run a large business, small business, or are just starting to make the transition from blogging to e-commerce. YOU are your brand.
Not only is it important to build the best brand you possibly can, but it’s also incredibly important to protect it. Keep reading for 7 tips for protecting your brand:
#1: Frequently Review Your Brand.
It’s important to do quarterly – and even more frequent – reviews. As your business expands, and trends fluctuate, new business practices will be implemented, and customers will be interested in different things. If you are constantly changing and evolving as a business, you will be able to meet those changes in customer demands – ensuring you are able to retain high numbers of customer satisfaction.
You want to make sure, even as you are adapting to suit new customer needs, you are staying true to your brand. Are you still producing content that matches the way you want people to think/feel about you and your business? If not, you need to figure out what you need to change. If you are, keep track of what are proving to be the most effective business practices and operations.
It’s vital that you continuously put in effort to accurately represent your brand. This is especially true when meeting with clients, going to networking events, or going to any location at which your ideal customer could be found. For example, if you are a technology company, you want to be conscious of how you represent your brand when you are going to conventions and even competitor stores.
#2: Audit Your Brand.
I know the word “audit” isn’t the most friendly word in the world, but it’s a pretty important one. When it comes to auditing your brand, the term “audit” isn’t as formidable as you may think.
Basically, doing a brand audit involves taking a look at everything that encompasses your brand. This includes things like your website, the written content of your site, the photos you are using, your logo, the meta content you have, the printed materials, any direct mail advertising you have done, your social media profiles, and anything else your business uses.
During a brand audit, you want to do an inventory of everything and ensure your brand comes through in each piece of material (digital or otherwise) you have. Your brand should be strong, clear, and sending the message you want it to send.
Your logo, website design, and everything else should be consistent with your brand and its message. If your graphics are less than stellar, it will be hard to compete with other businesses within your niche. Hire a design company to keep your brand on track.
Is there a social media profile that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of your brand material? Revamp it! Is one of your freelance writers using a voice or tone that isn’t exactly in-sync with your brand? Make sure (he)she is on the right track!
#3: Send Out Customer Surveys.
What better way to get regular feedback from your customers/clients/readers than to ask them directly? Put this on your calendar, and be sure to do it at least twice a year.
By asking the people who interact with your brand, have used your services, or have bought your products, you will get feedback on whether or not your brand is staying clear and strong. They will be able to tell you what they like and don’t like about your brand, and you can compare that to how you wish for your brand to come across.
It’s not enough to ask them if they are happy with your business, though. Instead, you need to ask actionable questions by which you can measure success. For example, is there anything your business could stand to improve upon? What was something that really stood out to the customer, and why?
If something is completely off with what you want your brand to represent or offer, then you know it’s time to go in and fix something. This may seem monotonous and time-consuming, but it will save money in the long-run and has the potential to increase sales.
#4: Engage With Customers and Followers on Social Media.
The best brands are those that are authentic, and that are obviously run by real people. If your brand feels impersonal or too sales-focused, it will turn people away.
By staying active on social media, engaging with followers, and posting at the optimal times, you will increase your following and – as a result – your sales. Not only will you be able to retain the customers you already have, but you will also be able to expand your audience reach and client base.
#5: Keep Up With Trends.
In today’s digital age, trends fluctuate constantly and rapidly. If you are not paying attention to things like new technology products, the latest digital marketing trends, and other related things, your brand and business will be out of the loop. Your business will be irrelevant, and will get left behind.
That sounds pretty depressing, but it’s easy enough to prevent. Embrace change, and allow your business to expand and evolve as a means of adapting to the latest trends. For example, a clothing company needs to be updated on the latest fashion trends. Outfits from three seasons ago are not going to sell as well as the most popular items. It’s just part of business, and something your brand needs to be up-to-date on.
#6: Market Within Your Niche.
In order for your brand to stay relevant, make sure you are marketing your business within your industry or niche. Prospective customers will already be looking for a business like yours, with products and service like those you offer, so you will already be relevant and important to them.
Use targeted advertisements, personalized emails, social media promotion, etc. to stay current within your niche. Furthermore, it can prove beneficial to expand to a complementary niche to the one you are already in. If you have not done so already, invest in marketing automation software as way of saving time and money.
Not only will doing this keep your brand updated with the latest trends in your niche, but it will keep your products and services relevant and of interest to your customers and leads.
#7: Hone Your Customer Service Skills.
There is no need to believe that literally every single customer is always right, all the time. However, in general, it’s important to remain positive when engaging with others. Call upon your customer service skills, and employ them whenever you are interacting with a prospective, current, or past customer – or anyone, really.
This is especially true on social media.
All it takes is one person to screenshot a negative update on your part, and your brand is forever tarnished. Customers screenshot and spread negative updates from companies and individuals all the time – make sure you are not one of them.
#8: Remember Who You Are.
This one may sound a bit cliché, but it’s important to think of how your actions will impact other people’s perception of you. Before posting something on your blog or social media, before offering a product, and before connecting with someone at a networking event, you need to ask yourself how what you are about to do will affect other people. How will it make them feel about your brand and company?
Remember when your mother told you to not speak unless you have something nice to say? It’s a bit like that. One of the best ways to protect your brand is to prevent negativity from spreading in the first place. For example: If you are catering to a young teen/pre-teen audience, it’s best to avoid offering products or services that convey a risqué message.
Think about the message of each and every thing that is associated with your brand and business.