3 Tips to Building a Quality Brand Reputation

With the volume of competition and platforms available today, gaining a reputation for exceptional products and services has to go beyond hard work and marketing strategies. Companies need to think of smart ways to stand out from the crowd, attract a loyal following and keep their good reputation. If you’re looking to boost your brand, consider the following three tips:

1. Focus on One or Two Strong Brand Messages

Your brand messages should incorporate your company’s personality, values and goals and allow you to relate to your target audience. Don’t overextend yourself by trying to reach everyone, but rather focus your resources on a high-quality message.

Think of Louis Vuitton. This brand focuses on messages of luxury and premium craftsmanship, and all of their marketing and advertising campaign show off this reputation. Similarly, Amway has a brand message focused on building small businesses and helping their employees maintain a healthy work and family life. Even though the company has faced negative press, Amway has used it to talk about how their company works and how they’re working toward a greater cause.

Pick out a couple of key principles and incorporate them throughout your products, marketing and communication campaigns.

2. Incorporate the Latest Trends and Technology

Quality is mostly about ensuring that your products and services perform the best in the market; using modern technology is crucial in achieving this. Your company must remain up to date with technology that is fast tracking your operational, advertising and marketing processes. You also need to keep up with what’s setting your brand apart and keeping it fresh in your customers’ minds.

Apple serves as a good example of this. They pride themselves on being the biggest innovators in the industry by coming up with new and better ways to develop their smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers. As a representative of modern technology, they have become associated with high-quality products and are the leaders in their field.

Research new trends, such as virtual reality, social media and audience targeting techniques, to implement across your products, marketing and other processes. This enables your brand to stand out as progressive while also helping you fine tune your customer experience.

3. Be Aware of Competitors and Market Environment

Who you’re up against plays a huge part in how your brand is perceived by your audience. To maintain a good standing in your industry, you need to be aware of what your competitors are up to and the overall market environment in your industry. For example, you need to know what your audience needs and wants are and how much they are willing to spend.

Once you know what the market is like in your industry as well as who your target audience is, you can adjust your products and marketing campaigns to meet their needs. Ensure these needs are incorporated throughout all of your brand campaigns so you can maintain a trustworthy reputation.

Naomi Bagga is a young media professional living in Australia. She works at UK-based digital partner marketing firm, Performance Horizon. She is passionate about music, entertainment, freelance writing and the changing media landscape, and loves photography, fashion, travel and a good cup of coffee.

Infographic: The Power of Color in Branding

Many of us like to believe that we are unaffected by branding and advertising. However, with the vast quantity of messages we receive through various media formats throughout the day, it is almost impossible to completely avoid coming into contact with one brand or another. Ensuring that their message is effectively communicated to a certain demographic or target market is one of the primary goals of a brand, and in such a competitive environment every effort is made to utilize any factor that may result in an advantage being gained.

This infographic by Brushstrokes is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of color in branding, and how our decisions can be influenced by colour. For example, studies have indicated that purple is a colour that is generally more attractive to females. Therefore a masculine brand would rarely use this. We hope to inform brand owners, and potential brand owners, on how to match brand personality with color, as well as educating readers about why certain brands use certain colors.

What are logos are you drawn to? Do you have any tendencies to favor one color over another? Share your experience in the comments below!

infographic color in branding

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Infographic: Can Celebrity Endorsements Influence Sales?

Celebrity endorsement has always been seen as a viable option for companies to promote their products. Many companies believe having their products associated with a popular celebrity will help drive sales. Consumers seem unsure of their influence with 51% stating that celebrity endorsement makes little to no difference on their purchasing decisions.

While the ROI on many marketing techniques is measurable, ROI on celebrity endorsements can be more difficult to quantify. There are many potential benefits associated with celebrity endorsements but there are also many potential pitfalls that need to be monitored carefully.

These pitfalls are created when you rely solely on one celebrity to promote your product. The reputation of your company is potentially in the hands of one person whose image can change overnight as a result of some celebrity scandal. Is it really worth running this risk?

As a result of this, the success of celebrity endorsements vary greatly and it really is a case of some working and others not. The importance of choosing an appropriate celebrity is paramount to minimizing the risk of negative publicity for your company. It is worth keeping in mind that the risks associated with celebrity endorsement can never be nullified completely, and reacting to the negative impact of celebrity endorsement will need to be dealt with carefully.

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This infographic from Sign A Rama Toronto provides you with the statistics on how influential celebrity endorsement really is, as well as the stories behind the successful and unsuccessful celebrity endorsements throughout the years.

What are the best examples of celebrity testimonials you know? What are the worst?

How to Increase Your Brand’s Credibility

brand credibility

Building trust with your consumers is essential for success in business. Trust leads to repeat business and loyal customers, along with increased sales and brand awareness. That trust, however, takes time, hard work, and consistency to earn.

It is important that business owners educate themselves on how to establish and maintain trust from their customers and community. Here are a few strategic tips that will lead to a strong, positive brand reputation.

1. Deliver Consistent Levels of Service

Customers feel comforted when they know what to expect from a business. In order to provide that to your consumers, every part of your brand should be consistent. This means your employees’ practices, answers, and service need to be in line with your brand. If your promise to your customers is that your customer service department will respond to inquiries within 24 hours, your employees must deliver on those expectations.

Amazon does a great job with this. It has been ranked as one of the top online retailers for good reason. If you need quick service and hit the “Call Me Now” button, an Amazon employee will virtually call you immediately using the information you provided. Customers expect a quick, efficient callback when shopping on Amazon.com.

2. Be Honest

Honesty really is the best policy especially when it comes to business. It is extremely important that your consumers feel a high level of honesty when buying your products or enlisting your services. They need to know that the security of their personal information is of utmost importance, and your business is taking the proper steps to avoid a security breach. If your customers’ information does fall in the wrong hands, notify them immediately. If they find out about it in another way, your reputation will be tarnished, and it will be extremely difficult to earn it back.

One company that failed terribly at being honest after a security breach is the very popular cosmetic company, Lime Crime. They went through a security breach where their customers’ financial information was compromised. Instead of being open and honest about the situation and alerting their customers so they could cancel credit cards and alert their banks, Lime Crime continued with business as usual. Many consumers lost thousands of dollars, and the CEO waited months before coming clean.

3. Act Immediately

If there has been a security breach that puts your consumers’ personal and financial information at risk, honest and immediate action will let your customers know that you are on top of the issue and doing everything possible to ensure a quick resolution.

A company that exemplified fast action was Barnes & Noble. In September of 2012, the bookseller giant had their credit card pin pad hacked and it was suspected that 63 of their stores were affected. Barnes & Noble contacted the Department of Justice for assistance and guidance, contacted credit card companies to alert them of possible unauthorized charges, and soon after, under the guidance of the Department of Justice, alerted their customers of the breach. The bookstore also removed 7,000 pin pads to prevent the problem from continuing. By acting quickly and seeking professional assistance, the retailer was able to maintain the trust of their customers and save other customers from theft.

In the unfortunate event that you do experience a security breach at your business, know that you and your customers are in good hands by enlisting the services of LifeLock. Visit its business reviews to see if its services are right for you.

Susan Finch is a freelance writer with a passion for travel and helping small businesses find their online voice through content marketing, blogging and beyond. She can be found at BySusanFinch.com.

Branding Basics for Businesses: How to Find Your Voice & Stick To It

branding basics for businesses

The December 2014 Webs Small Business Digital Trends Survey revealed that 63 percent of small businesses use digital tools to market to customers. When marketing online, businesses must present a coherent look and feel to successfully connect with the target audience. Below are creative ways to showcase your company’s voice, an important, yet often overlooked, part of developing a strong brand.

Understanding Voice

Voice refers to more than just the tone you use to communicate with your audience; it’s the personality of your brand, as Buffer notes. All of the elements that show who you are — colors, logo, brand aesthetics and overall style — combine to become your voice. If your brand appeals to youths, you might have an informal or casual voice; or if you’re a B2B business, a formal voice would be more appropriate.

These elements have to match. A business that has adopted the formal voice and B2B target audience should stay away from select bright colors like hot pink or electric yellow for the logo, but a business that targets adolescent girls, would likely find those colors effective.

Once you come up with the basic elements of voice, you must apply them consistently and routinely across all of your social channels to build brand trust and connection. If you experiment with different voices, you could potentially lose interest from the people you’d already won over.

Using Your Voice to Engage and Inform

When you can demonstrate a clear voice, and use that voice to engage and inform your target audience, you nurture the type of trust that leads to sales. Moreover, your fans will be talking about you and will mention your product or service as the solution, organically growing your brand’s reach.

To engage and inform without shilling, focus on creating and content that is true to your voice and helpful to your target audience. Gather Content has examples of how to engage users using different voices. Using these tips, think through how sample customer responses, Facebook posts or article headlines would be perceived coming from you. Once you’ve developed some prototypes, create and share content in your voice across your channels.

Businesses Doing it Right

It’s always helpful to have example of business that are creating and sharing engaging content in clear voices.

One company doing this well is Internet security and identity theft protection company Lifelock. On its Facebook page, Lifelock posts notifications of data breaches and scam warnings to help its fans stay safe by being informed. Sure, the company occasionally reminds fans of the service it provides. However, these posts are far outweighed by the other content produced and shared.

Another classic example is Apple. A marketing classic, their Think Different campaign showed iconic geniuses and historic figures from Albert Einstein to Cesar Chavez with the words “Think Different.” There were no references to Apple computers (again, no selling). But the ads suggested that Apple created different products to meet the needs of gifted people.

Lindsey is a regular blog contributor, social networking maven and research professional who makes a living freelancing and running a small business. She holds advanced degrees in creative writing and information science and recently worked as the digital repository coordinator at Framingham State University.