In the world of marketing, the word “brand image” is used so commonly that it starts to feel meaningless.
Everyone talks about it, It’s easy for someone to tell you that good a good brand image will help your business look more professional and appealing. But no one wants to explain to you the important aspects of a brand image that would usually go under the radar, and how it is the single most important factor when customers decide whether or not to spend their money with you.
People don’t realise that the way a company interacts with its customers is part of the brand image. Social media has given businesses and customers a platform where they can give feedback, ask questions and likewise reply to customers and answer their queries.
Social media has changed the landscape, if a customer is unhappy with their experience, service or product, others like themselves will be able to see this.
For example, a customer came to your garage for some spare parts and once they left they noticed a part was missing. What will they do next? Go online and leave a review! So now they’ve written a paragraph about their experience and made themselves out to be a victim of some poncy scheme. However, we all know 99% of the time it was a genuine mistake, so it’s good to reply to customers acknowledging this. Offer them your apologies and kindly ask them to come back and you’ll be able to rectify the situation.
Customers love businesses that are active on social media and respond to complaints and feedback in a positive manner. This is part of your brand image, you should always focus on resolving matters like this. Don’t leave complaints unattended. Remember the golden age rule, “The customer is always right”.
Be sure to utilise social media to keep customer satisfaction high and be honest and transparent when dealing with any situations that arise.
Customers identify with a story
Brand identities revolve around what sort of customer your business is targetting. If your ideal customer is a 20-year-old University student, you’ll have difficulty targetting other customers, however, this could sometimes be a good thing as the customers will be able to relate to your brand. Make sure your brand image attracts the right customers, otherwise it can negatively affect your business.
The story a brand is telling results in, for example, a certain type of person who shops at Hugo Boss; buys coffee from Starbucks or goes to their local market instead of purchasing goods online. Be sure your brand is identifying with the correct type of people.
If you think your brand is not communicating with your intended customers, you may be in need of a rebrand. A rebrand is common for a business that is struggling to resonate with its customers. A rebrand will give your business a fresh look and fresh approach to capture audiences you didn’t before.
American shoe brand “Payless” opened a store and rebranded for a day into a luxury shoe brand called “Palessi”. They hosted a store opening event and presented themselves as a modern and expensive luxury shoe store.
This was all done as a social experiment to see if they would be able to sell $20 shoes to customers for an excess of $300 and upwards. The shoes were the exact same shoes they sell in their Payless stores. The only thing which changed was the brand image and store.
What did this result in… A new target audience of luxury shoe owners came in and bought loads of shoes. Customers even went as far as justifying how good the shoes are and how they matched their $500 price tags. The same people who wouldn’t purchase the same shoes for $20 from a Payless store. The customers were informed of the elaborate prank as they made their way out of the store with their purchases. As you could imagine they were left in shock and some of them were red-faced. Payless refunded their purchases and let them keep the shoes as a goodwill gesture.
This prank from Payless shows us how a brand’s image attracts a certain type of person to shop with them. Regardless of the product, customers identify with the service, given how the brand is presented.