There’s a big difference between a business and a brand. While a business can certainly be successful and earn money, a brand is on an entirely different level. A brand is something that people recognize no matter what is being sold; and they have certain, hopefully positive, associations with that brand. Many small business owners don’t know what a brand is, exactly — but in fact, what they’re trying to do is build a brand. So, what goes into building a brand? Perhaps the most important thing is attracting customers and earning their loyalty. A successful business can have an influx of customers over time, it’s true; but a successful brand is going to have loyal customers who return over and over. A brand can offer a variety of different products or services, and loyal customers will consider the new ones just because they’re loyal to the brand. In the case of “non-necessity” items like clothing, many brands can sell products based on name recognition alone. But again, it takes a lot of effort to reach that point. Below, we’ll explore some of the strategies through which a business can attract — and keep — customers, ultimately becoming a brand.
There are many different elements that go into a business and potential brand’s appearance. While appearance is more important in some fields than others, it’s always an important part of the branding process. In fact, color alone can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Appearance is what initially attracts a person to a company, and it certainly will help them remember it. When we discuss appearance, we could be talking about a storefront. In that case, it’s important that brick and mortar stores look clean and inviting, with a window display when applicable. They should also have the little details nailed down — for example, warm colors may make customers feel more welcome, whereas cool colors have a more corporate feeling. If your business doesn’t have a storefront and focuses more on services than products, you should still value appearance. Make sure that employees wear professional — and recognizable — uniforms. This is all about building up a positive memory for the customer, making them more likely to remember your brand and become a repeat customer. If necessary, talk to customers about what they like to see from a business — take into mind what they value in appearance, not just your own personal tastes.
2. Customer Experience
Customer experience is the most important part of building up a brand. What we’re talking about here is their satisfaction with their experiences and the services or products provided by a business. One bad experience can be a “make it or break it” moment for a small business; according to research, a typical customer has to have up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Customers will be more likely, in other words, to remember the negative than the positive. Of course, negative experiences do happen — and in that case, you need to focus on that “unresolved” aspect we mentioned above. If a customer reports a bad experience, it should be a top priority for the company to resolve than experience in a way that benefits the customer. Ultimately, what benefits the customer and increases their loyalty will only benefit the business in the long term. Experience and research alike show that customer loyalty can be worth 10 times as much as a single purchase.
It’s one thing to have a physical presence in the business world — it’s another thing entirely for your business to be truly accessible. Today, this means more than taking out a billboard or advertising your services and products through commercials. It means being available online. As many people do their research online in this day and age, having a website makes it easier for customers to get to know your business — and learn to trust you.
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