Why your brand doesn't resonate with customer expectations and how to fix it
You went through numerous intense workshop sessions between layers of management, internal brand ambassadors and external agencies. Debating the exact wording of your mission, values, promises and taglines. You spent precious time defining the why, how and what of your company, finding that one authentic purpose. Not to mention the creative efforts you’ve put in crafting brand stories, personalities, artwork, content and a new logo.
Packaging design turned out beautiful, an award-winning website was launched, messaging is on-point and campaigns went live.
Then you waited…
Your audience does not love your brand
Despite all your efforts, customers are not eagerly lining up to get your product or service. So, what to do about it?
Start with the one thing customers always want: a clear brand value proposition and a product or service which is able to deliver on that proposition. Knowing the value you bring to the table is extremely important and has been the cornerstone of successful marketing and branding for decades.
Secondly, successful brands are always customer-focused. They make it their mission to figure out real problems their customers experience and try to understand how they can help them solve these.
What about you, do you listen to your audience? Because if you do, you probably understand how to engage with your customers on an emotional level. Your product or service will mean something to them and your relationship will be longer lasting, deeper and more profitable. You will know how to target a specific audience segment and engage and connect with them. Plus you will have a great pool of feedback to continuously innovate and improve. So, do you?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou, writer
Find out what they want
Try to find out what your customers think of you, what they expect from you and see how you fit within that matrix. If there is a gap, fix it sooner rather than later. But how to find that ‘perception’ data?
1. Set-up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is pretty straight-forward - it helps you track, analyze and respond to new mentions of your brand. You can insert the specific keywords you want to monitor and anytime those keywords appear online, Google will send you an email alert. This is an easy and cost-efficient way to keep an eye on the sentiments around your brand, industry trends or competitors.
2. Run customer surveys
Ask your existing or potential customers relevant questions through customer surveys. Direct input is one of the best ways to get insight into what customers actually think about your brand. When you conduct effective customer surveys, it will provide you with loads of quantifiable data which you can then incorporate in your brand strategy.
3. Conduct customer review audits
Reviews are all over the place and can tell you a lot about the experiences customers have with your brand. Collect, organize, and analyze them, then learn and improve. Encourage happy customers to share and publish their reviews, experiences and opinions. Research shows that 84% of people consider online reviews just as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
4. Monitor social media
Social media is the ultimate customer engagement channel and is here to stay. Over 60% of customers expect brands to offer customer service through social media channels and 90% have communicated with a brand through social media. Social is data heaven, as long as you know how to utilize it. Hootsuite and Brandwatch are two great examples of tools that can help you with monitoring and analyzing, but there are many more.
5. Assess customer support interactions
Direct customer feedback is a gold mine of useful findings. Your customer success, support and service teams can monitor shifts in brand perception and escalate information in almost real-time. This will help you immensely in understanding your customer.
Give them what they need
“Today, organizations are disproportionately rewarded when they deliver a great experience, and they’re punished when they don’t. Not only does the market demand better experiences, but experiences have also become the new growth engine.” - Kelly Waldher, Executive Vice President
Now that you know what your customers want and expect, it’s time to incorporate it into your brand strategy. Not as a new chapter in your shiny brand bible, but rather at each and every customer touch point. Use your gathered data to improve all aspects of the customer experience and interactions, not just brand identities, missions or taglines. Your brand should be everywhere your customer is, and that is usually not the drawer you keep your brand bible in.