4 Unique Opportunities to Build Brand Awareness and Strengthen Perceptions
Updated: Feb 2, 2019
When considering your brand's positioning, how does it live inside the mind's of your customers? It's one thing to establish brand positioning, but the same effort needed to establish the perception of positioning is needed to sustain it. And when it comes to touchpoints, both quality and quantity matter. The following post outlines three unique opportunities (that may have been overlooked) to build brand awareness and strengthen perceptions.
When your customers call and you don't answer, what type of message do you give off? For instance, is your voicemail set the default setting where the operator gives the typical "The caller you've reached is unavailable. At the tone, please leave a message"? Or, have you taken the time to record a warm, welcoming voicemail (best spoken by the owner him or herself) who is genuinely sorry that the person's call couldn't be received, followed by courses of actions they can take or more info? The latter gives off the impression of a more genuine, personable brand, whereas the former suggests carelessness and lack of effort.
A custom voicemail message also helps to build trust by leveraging the Mere-exposure Effect. Based on psychology, people tend to prefer things that they're familiar with. Although the inquiring caller may not have met the business owner, he or she will inherently feel familiar just by hearing their voice. Something as small as a custom voicemail message yields good returns in the long game of branding.
A picture speaks a thousand words, as does anything visual. The way you dress speaks volumes about your profession, seriousness, and professionalism as a whole. When people make snap judgments (significantly unconscious), how does your attire help or hinder you? Do you show up to a meeting dressed casually, as if you're getting drinks with a friend? Or, do you project a more "buttoned-up" look, whether literally or figuratively. At the end of the day, regardless of how you dress, perception is critical. The way you dress can make a break a first impression and communicate your level of seriousness as a businessperson. The rule of thumb that it's better to dress up than down remains true in the branding sense, and therefore should be leveraged to maintain a positive image in your customer's or client's mind.
There are no laws dictating proper and improper job titles. With that being said, the sky's the limit. An interesting example is Disney, who refers to the employees who clean their parks not as "janitors" or "custodians", but instead, "cast members". In this example, it's evident that Disney thinks of the big picture: the story they're telling. No detail of their brand and respective theme parks is too insignificant. Instead, everything works as a holistic system that consistently fulfills its brand promise: "Creating happiness through magical experiences".
Another familiar example is Apple, who refers to their product experts as "geniuses". By doing so, Apple is able to establish its employees' credibility in the mind of its customers before even speaking. Over time, the success of Apple's customer service becomes synonymous with the appropriate "genius" title given to the company's in-store product experts.
As Simon Sinek expressed in his 2009 TED Talk, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Presenting your elevator pitch (whether it's at a networking event or in an actual elevator) gives you the opportunity to express the "why" behind your business, rather than the more surface level "hows" and "whats". People constantly search for the deeper meaning of things, and tend to dismiss the obvious. For example, a person who runs an accounting firm may sell that they specialize in taxes. While this is obvious, a more effective selling point would be to sell why it's important to have your taxes professionally taken care of. A few selling points may be that it saves time or reduces stress. In other words, it's important to "sell the hole, not the drill".
It's important for businesses to seize every opportunity to build their brand. Overlooked touchpoints, such as those listed above, offer additional opportunities to differentiate from competition. Branding is a long game, and when both quantity and quality of touchpoints holistically work as a system, the investment is invaluable. Effective branding allows a company to nurture long-term relationships with customers, become irreplaceable, and charge a premium. It just takes time. ▲