If you are a store operator or a brand manager, you need structure and processes to manage your brand. However, today people buy who they trust. That’s who they trust, not what they trust.
As a consumer, we want the brand to be relevant and connected with our lifestyle. If Susie Maker says your brand is great and she has a large social media following, that is the best earned media a brand can get today.
CONSUMERS AS CO-CREATORS OF YOUR BRAND
The more time you spend getting efficient on social media and posting, plugging, the more time you will have to find the people who talk about your brand. As this happens, your brand clout will grow. As your brand clout grows so will your brand influence and what is expected afterwards – is brand loyalty.
As you become engaged with your brand followers, you also learn how people use your brand and how they would like to use it for future product innovations. This holds true for a store, when you engage with your clients, it is the same as customer research, giving you rich information on what your customers like and would like to see in your store.
REACH THE CONSUMER IN DIFFERENT WAYS
By reaching out in different ways to your consumer, you will create more opportunity to speak and engage in relevant conversations about your brand, your company’s philosophy and everything else that touches your brand. It is not a one way conversation any longer, a linear conversation like a television advertisement. But the ability to offer 1) more than one way to communicate with your consumer and 2) communicate in a two-way conversation and 3) communicate in an engaging manner which means investing in social media platforms that will build tomorrow’s brand.
Communication about your brand or store is want you should want. On going communication about your brand or store means you are still relevant with your customer.
In-store promotions and merchandising
And, as a retailer or a brand manager, it all starts at the store! Your customer has a lot of choices and when they enter your store and select your brand there were key steps that led your customer to your store. Cable television combined with social media is creating a fragmented audience, as such your in-store promotions and merchandising are becoming more important to connect with your consumer.
Test, try and test again different merchandising styles and options. There is no right way any longer, the right merchandising style is one that fits your store layout, product selection and customer.
The internet and social media has changed your brand and store’s landscape. And, if you are a store, it is important to connect the branded shopping experience with your website and other sales channels. Some stores have great websites but fall flat at the store, make it a 360 experience for your customer.
Social Media Platforms
Smaller retailers usually have a difficult time to commit to social media. However social media has a direct influence with your consumer’s point of view on your brand and on your competitor’s brand. If your competitor is using social media, so should you be. If they are not on social media, get on it fast and grab their customers!
Social media also the ability to convey your store or brand value – direct to consumer and then hear how this brand value is reflected to your consumer.
Social media is changing the way we relate to our customers. Educate yourself in social media and harness its strength for your store or brand.
Social media will require a network to support this new communication channel. This could mean adding staff to manage your social media platform including having increased technology. It also takes technology to create word-of-mouth, referrals and telling your story to your consumer. Look to invest in technology that will either grow with your business or at least in technology that gives you stats and reports on referrals, mentions and search trends on your store or brand.
Online search is an important part of your customer’s “path to purchase”. You are dealing with a tech-savvy consumer, they understand they have better search opportunity with complex search engines, ergo better serving their immediate needs. Plus, there is the consumer that is consumed with finding value. As such, if you position your store or brand as the value brand, make sure that you are the value brand online as well! Monitor your brand name, do searches on your brand name and manage the positive as well as the negative reviews.
REACH THE CONSUMER IN A RELEVANT WAY
The more time you spend listening and engaging with your customer, you will discover how your customer connects and engages with your brand. Relevance means transparency, create advertising that speaks to today’s consumer and be available to communicate, consider it like the toll-free number but “on steroids”.
Your customer probably knows more about your brand than you do. Because they are tech-savvy, they have ample chances to read about your client’s review and why they like or dislike your company. Not to worry, we are a forgiving bunch. Better to show mistakes and be ready to fix them than to present an image full of holes. Your customer does not want a one-way conversation, they want conversations with you.
Show your culture
Companies that show their culture online are winning the relevance factor that is so important with social media. This includes candid interviews from managers, articles and blog posts from junior staff from your company, fuzzy photos taken at company events and other important areas about your store or brand that helps to connect with your customer.
When your customer meets you in-person, you need to be the same person that you show in your video, Facebook and other social media platforms. Be you.
COLLABORATION IS THE FUTURE
Future pundits expect brand management to be a collaborative process. One that includes your brand, consumer and the manufacturer working together bringing the product or service to market based on how, when and where your consumer wants it.
We are looking forward to this. If you have anything you would like to change about our brand, please let us know!