The ‘bread and butter’ of our business is our brand image which is an accumulation of tangible and non-tangible characteristics of a brand that are picked up by our target audience. Our brand image determines how the target audience thinks and feels. Such emotions influence their actions which is why brands place such high importance on their image. The goal for brands is to build a solid relationship with the target audience, leading to loyalty and strong brand equity.
Brand equity is the value created by consumer perception of a brand name, rather than the products the brand sells. If consumers’ perceptions of a particular brand are bad, then the brand equity is low, and vice versa.
Why is brand equity important?
Before we focus on the important steps of branding and building brand equity, let us briefly mention the importance of it.
A good brand equity is crucial for any company or business as it increases its market share by building a pool of loyal customers who prefer one brand over the other and will therefore bring in continual revenue.
Positive brand equity can charge more for its product than the actual market price. It is also an intangible asset of a company and can therefore be licensed, leased or sold to others. If a company has built a positive brand equity, it is also easier to introduce new products or product lines.
Adhere to the below process before declaring brand equity success!
Step 1: Build Brand Equity by Establishing a Brand Identity
In order to develop a strong brand equity status, we must first figure out who we are as a company and that requires research! Key areas to consider for research are the (target) market, our customers, and our competitors.
However, let us not forget about brand values as they affect not only the brand identity (logo design, typography, imagery, colors, creative design etc.) but also its voice (the tone we use to address the customer conveying the brand’s personality) and relationships with the audience (customer experience and customer service).
Media monitoring tools such as Meltwater can measure buzz around our competitors and popular conversations regarding our industry. This data then helps us to understand our positioning compared to other competitors in the market.
Such information is useful and essential for branding, developing our unique selling proposition and distinguishing us from other brands. Our point of differentiation then allows us to provide value for our customer as we can offer something that other brands can’t. After we’ve decided upon all of these elements we can then start to build brand identity as well as brand awareness through marketing campaigns.
Step 2: Communicate Products to Gain Awareness and Elicit a Reaction
Our next goal for building brand equity is to make sure the target audience thinks and feels a certain way about our brand and products. This is achieved with an effective marketing strategy. The relevance of content, promotion, brand image are all important aspects of our strategy.
Below is a list of 3 marketing strategies, which have proven to boost business growth. But no matter which one you choose, an effective sales funnel and optimization of your conversions are a must have.
- Connecting with relevant influencers: Leveraging influencers is useful for a company as they are often considered experts in their field, therefore partnering with them will help to boost our own credibility and following. Influencer databases are brilliant tools for reaching influencers that are targeted and relevant. Keep in mind that the trick is to find the right influencer within your niche as this will enable you to target the right audience.
- Use of social media: In this day and age, social media simply cannot be ignored. Analyse the target market and post anything relevant that would help your audience learn more about the product or about the industry that you're in. Never underestimate the power of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. as they represent a direct way to reach out to the customer.
- Understanding SEO: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be frightening but also very powerful. Once you understand and master it, you have hit the jackpot. There are some tips and tricks how to use it as effective as possible and consequently increase customer loyalty. One of them is to not spam keywords. Your content should be intended for people while at the same time respecting search engines. But the key is that everything you are conveying differentiates you from other competitors, is insightful, engaging and adds a lot of value.
Step 3: Form a strong relationship
The final step to ensuring a strong brand equity is to connect with our audience on a personal level. This is done by engaging on social media, holding events, and making sure they are part of our community. This is important as this influences brand loyalty and promotes repeat purchases.
Excellent customer service is also a vital aspect for securing a relationship between the target audience and the brand, as people enjoy talking to people. Good customer service can be achieved online by responding to complaints on social media in a friendly and professional manner which is likely to improve their perception of us and in turn also improve brand equity.
For more information on how you can use media monitoring tools for research, check out our blog.