Your brand credibility is more perilous than you might think. It takes years to craft a solid reputation, and only a split second to destroy it all. With the enormous reach of social media, one gaffe could reach millions of people in minutes. That’s why it’s so important to constantly monitor your reputation and work hard to continuously build brand credibility. These steps are so easy that many tend to set them and forget them. If you’re working now to build your brand’s reputation or clamoring to recover from a PR disaster, start work right away. If you’re coasting along on a great reputation, don’t leave these tasks until it’s too late.
Examine Your BrandYou should always keep your brand in mind, every second of every day. Training for staff should include your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and message. If you’re still not sure what your brand’s purpose is, then you haven’t yet spent enough time building your brand. The message you send to your customers solidifies this brand. If your words, actions, and images don’t fit the brand you’re crafting, then you’ll lose credibility. All it takes is one slip on social media to but your brand in peril. Bigger faux pas, such as the ones plaguing United Airlines in the news lately, could knock you all the way back to the beginning.
Exercise Your VoiceWhen a vocalist doesn’t use her instrument, it gets rusty from disuse. The next time she sings, she may sound different—and that can be confusing to listeners. Always pay attention to your brand voice. Learn what you sound like to your buyers and work hard to maintain that voice. It’s important to constantly analyze your buyer personas, too. Maybe you’re using the wrong voice to reach them. A hip, trendy brand voice might get attention, but it won’t impress your buyers if it doesn’t match the services or products that you offer.
Build a Better BlogBuyers want to learn about your services or products before buying. By creating content that establishes you, the company owner, as a thought leader, you build enormous credibility for your brand. Share tips, tricks, and tutorials. Spread good news about your company with press posts. Dig into deeper thoughts and share your opinions about your industry. Every word will work to boost your brand credibility.
Check Your WebsiteIs your website up to date? An old, clunky, slow website speaks volumes to new visitors. Your brand screams, “We don’t know what we’re doing!” so loudly that nothing you say can drown it out. Make sure your pages load quickly and that the site functions as it should. And, of course, you must be mobile responsive now. Not only will a non-mobile site turn off your buyers, but it also will perform poorly in search engine results.
Pay Attention to ReviewsNow, how will you know that your brand resonates with your buyers? How do you know you’ve built credibility you can count on? By listening to your customers. Read reviews. Take them to heart. Sure, some can be ignored—specifically those left by users hoping to stir controversy. The real reviews, however, should be used to help you build your brand credibility. When reviews are bad, examine the claim, determine where you went wrong, and address the problem immediately. When reviews are good, use the feedback to bolster the credibility you’re building. And remember: these reviews aren’t always a formal affair, left on third-party sites or your own website. Monitor social media to keep an ear tuned to what buyers are saying about you. As you can see, these tasks must be performed over and over and over again. It’s important to always have your brand credibility in mind. If you’re working to build your brand or to recover from an incident that has put your brand in jeopardy, give us a call. Building solid brands is what we do.
Digital marketing allows so many ways to automate processes, from the collection of leads through your website to the scheduling of social media posts. Automated marketing has, understandably, opened up time in your schedule so you can focus on things you may not have previously had time for. Now, you have time for customer service, expanding your product lines, and building your brand, right? The problem many discover after automating as much of their tasks as possible is that they start to lose the humanity in their brand. Instead of appearing genuine and approachable, the brand instead begins to sound like it’s run by robots. You may have already begun to notice a disconnect between your brand and your buyers as they drift away in favor of more authentic businesses. So, how can you enjoy the automation of your marketing processes and all the benefits provided without turning into a machine? Here are some helpful hints.
Keep It PersonalOne of the first indicators of automated marketing is a generic greeting. Addressing buyers “Dear Customer” strips them of their identities and lets them know you don’t care enough to call them by name anymore. From the moment you learn the names of your customers and clients, you should always endeavor to personalize any and all of your communication. The more you learn about your customers through the automated process you have in place, the more you should provide information, products, and service that meets their exact needs. You can also keep things personal even when automating your social media posts. The key is to monitor your accounts and be sure to respond to customers seeking support. Even better, lift up those who have praised your brand or products so that other fans can see how grateful—and responsive—you are.
Pay AttentionNewsletters, coupon offers, product updates, holiday sales—these things can clog a buyer’s email inbox and inspire frustration. To make that frustration bubble over, try sending everything at once. Many brands make the mistake of scheduling every email to go out within a few days of each other, simply because it allows them to mark one more thing off the to-do list. Instead, pay attention to your customers’ wishes when segmenting your contact lists. Send only the email updates that apply, using what you know about your customers. If you’ve recently sent a newsletter, reschedule that discount deal or, better yet, include it in the newsletter to cut down on the number of emails you send. Nothing screams “automated” louder than multiple emails at once. And in a world where buyers are looking for authentic and transparent, your automation just won’t fly. The same goes for your social media presence. If your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts all post the same exact update at the same time, your audience will know you’re cutting corners with automation. Learn which of your buyers are more likely to use each particular platform, tailor your message on those platforms to the demographics most likely to see it, and then schedule your posts to update at different times throughout the day.
Examine Your VoiceEven after using the tips listed above, your emails, social media posts, and blogs could still take on a robot’s tone. Whether you realize it or not, you will change your brand’s voice, even if a little, when crafting your automated messaging. It’s human nature to sound like a machine when you’re cranking out updates all at one time. Simply check all your messages before they post to make sure they still have a fresh feel to them. As a bonus, this can also help you avoid accidental faux pas that have nearly destroyed brands in the past. There is no reason not to use all the automated marketing tools available to you. They are there to make your job easier. Just be sure to follow these tips so that your brand always keeps its human side.
For just a moment, think about those horrifying American Idol auditions the network once gleefully aired. You know the ones—where the singer could walk through the door with swagger, brag for a few minutes about how amazing he was, and then proceed to screech the house down in a ten-second audition, because that’s the longest the judges could listen without wanting to cover their ears. What does this have to do with branding, you ask? Well, when developing your brand, your voice has a big part to play. How you communicate your values, your mission, your unique value—all of this relies on what you sound like to your customers.
What Buyers HearYou can tell your buyers what your brand is until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t matter one bit. Like that poor guy who auditioned for American Idol, you could believe your brand is the best out there, while your judging audience hears something very different. It’s not what you say you are; it’s what your audience says you are. Is your audience ready to cut your performance short?
Analyzing Your Brand VoiceVocal artists often break down the characteristics of the voice in several categories. Believe it or not, some of these same categories could be applied to your brand voice. To help you follow along, here are a few of the characteristics a vocal judge might listen for: