It is not business as usual anymore. With the online community, social media platforms and the sharing economy combined, your brand development includes the people that love, hate and hey, like you even if they will never buy from you! What hasn’t changed is that people still 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 Homemaker says your brand is excellent and she has a large social media following, that is the best-earned media your brand can get today.

Consumers As Co-Creators Of Your Brand

Manufacturers are seeing the benefit of engaging with their customers, distributors and community online. Investing in content creation, blogging and posting on social media will help to expand your brand name as well as help with SEO.

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 online 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 any businesses when they engage with their customers and online community. You can also view this as product research, giving you rich information on what your customers like and would like to see in your future product development.

Communicate Via Different Channels

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 wants you should want.  Ongoing communication about your brand or store means you are still relevant to your customer.

Facebook promotions

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.

Online Community Experience

The internet and social media have changed the landscape of your brand and business. Gone are the days of the “Big Blue” style of brand management. And, if you have an online e-commerce website, it is important to connect the online shopping experience with your website and other sales channels. Some businesses have great websites but fall flat at customer service, trade show events and email marketing. You need to make the brand expereince felt at a 360-degree level with your customer and community.

Social Media Platforms

Smaller retailers usually have a difficult time to commit to social media.  However social media has a direct influence on 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 the brand value of your business, explicitly. With videos, photos, images – all direct to your customer and in return, you’ll receive feedback how this brand value is reflected your consumer.

Social media is changing the way we relate to our customers. Take the time to learn about social media and harness its strength for your business.

However, social media does require a lot of work to create this new communication and sales channel. This could mean adding staff to manage your social media platform including having increased technology.  It also takes technology, promotions, public relations and bloggers outreach programs to help build your online brand. If this sounds too time-consuming, you can always contact us to help you get started.

Online Search

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.

Be Open To New Brand Management Practices

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”.

Engaging

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 to today’s online community. This includes candid interviews with managers for your blog, thought leadership articles submitted to online magazines and candid photos from junior staff who love working at your company. Forget the fuzzy photos! Quality and personalized photos are important and really helps to connect with your customer.

Be transparent

When your customer meets you in-person, you need to be the same person that you show in your video, blog posts, Facebook and other social media platforms. It’s not just about being you, your brand value needs to be present among your managers and trickled down to every staff member.

Content Collaborators 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!

The Marketing Boutique works with companies to create exciting brands that will make your business stand apart from the competition! We achieve this by writing engaging and relevant content for your targeted audience, developing the right marketing strategies to improve company growth and designing communication programs you can use, these are the things that matter to today’s businesses.

About the Author Cecilia

I am a marketing communications specialist, strategist, problem solver and founder of The Marketing Boutique. I am also a Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS), certified by NASM, Diabetes Paraprofessional Level 1 (AADE) and Essentrics Trainer, Level 1!