Creating brand loyalty means telling your story again, and again...
For many people a brand is only a logo, or maybe an identity. But in reality the brand extends much further - through your business cards, your direct mailings and partner events, all the way to the manner in which your receptionist answers the phone.
Organisations that understand how the brand is communicated through all these touch points make sure their customers enjoy a consistent brand experience which reflects the real character of the business and what it has to offer. In doing this they create the kind of brand loyalty that a competitor will not break with the occasional direct marketing campaign, press release or ad.
And this is where we get into the meaning behind this article: Like it or not, we're visually- and sensually-led these days and the way we experience brands makes us either loyal customers or not. But what's interesting is the extent to which the love affairs we have with our brand experiences are now gushing into the business world and into technology marketing.
So what can you do to ensure your brand is providing the kind of messages and experiences that you feel will create brand loyalty?
First, set the foundations of your brand by defining what central values or themes it should align itself with and communicate to the market. For example, businesses are beginning to align themselves with environmental and carbon footprint reduction outcomes at a pace that would put an Olympic athlete to shame. But there are other values and themes that are equally as relevant - doing more with less, creating a productive working environment, enhancing business performance - to name but a few. Decide which brand themes are relevant to you and build them into the foundations of your brand.
Then look at how you're going to communicate these brand themes to the market. Your marketing mix should be led by business objectives as much as they are by your brand, so whether you're looking at developing a DM campaign to your channel partners or a high-end, thought-leadership breakfast targeted at the CEO top-500, make sure your brand themes find their way into your marketing campaigns.
Lastly, be open with your employees about what your brand means and how they can integrate its meaning into their everyday actions, especially in their relationships with customers and prospects. Remember, a brand experience is as much about personal interaction as it is about the style and tone of a business card or website.
And if you think this is all just too hard, ponder this ...Nudie, the fresh fruit juice people, built their brand through a tight mix of packaging and communications materials that all captured the personality and values of the Nudie brand. They then continued to tell the same story through every communication piece they developed - once they'd decided what Nudie was, they pushed the brand story, with consistency, through every brand touch point they used. Within a year Nudie was one of Australia's top 10 most influential brands (2004) ranking alongside Qantas and Lonely Planet.
Granted, the Australian reseller network is a little different to the fruit juice market, and we've simplified the Nudie story to fit into a few words, but the ideology around creating brand awareness is standard. All you need is some strategic and creative planning and the commitment to keep telling your brand story, again and again.
Simon Steele is the strategic director of IT marketing and branding specialists, Bang Australia.