Enhancing your brand perception requires considerable investment. Unfortunately, the effects of such projects don't often result in short-term sales growth or easily quantifiable ROI. While focusing on other business areas may lead to greater profits, a favorable brand perception is the key that unlocks growth and expansion.
Your Brand is Not Your Own
The onrush of new technology has freed ideas from ownership. No longer are innovations preserved in families and guilds, but are disseminated in publications, print and online. Internet memes exemplify this development the most. Content is created, repeated by others, and revised by more,and eventually is acknowledged as a shared idea by all.
Like other ideas, a brand's identity can't be dictated. Too many people have had experiences with a brand and shared their opinions online, especially in social media. Individuals find that they’ve had similar encounters or ordeals with a brand, which eventually become part of a population’s consensus on the brand. A consensus that can make or break a company.
Benefits of a Good Brand
When people have a positive impression of your brand, you will be granted considerable leeway to push new ideas. People will be more likely to support your new initiatives and give you a second chance when mistakes occur.
For example, when Steve Jobs came back to head Apple in 1997, the computer company built a reputation based on excellent design, user simplicity, and great service. So when it released the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, it could bank on its legions of fans tocome to its stores and see the merits of the products for themselves. And many were convinced.
In another instance, JetBlue was known for the importance it placed in customer service. When the Valentine's crisis erupted in 2007, stranding thousands of passengers, JetBlue was able to calm and placate its customers by announcing effective ways to resolve complaints, a statement that was taken at face value because of its reputation.
On the other hand, other companies that aren't as well regarded have tried to release new products which have failed miserably. Remember Zune? Neither do we. Not many companies that have gone through a crisis of reputation are able to recover fully.
It's not easy to change the way people perceive your brand. A single press release won’t change years of shared experience. However, a strategic public relations effort pursued through multiple channels can.While the exact details will vary according to your brand's character and circumstances, several important approaches emerge.
Face the Press
To be heard by the public, you have to expose your company to media scrutiny.Answering questions from media as they arise is often the best way to convey your message and deal with misperceptions. Extensive preparation via media training is also necessary to avoid terrible mistakes.
Engage in Social Media
For consumer companies, social networks offer the most convenient way to directly converse with customers and influence their opinions. The approach needs to be consistent and engagingto ensure success. If you don’t have a team ready, find trustworthy specialists who are willing to work with you closely to forge your online identity.
Carry an Advocacy
Showing that your brand helps others is a simple but effective method of changing people's attitudes. Choose an advocacy consistent with your productsor services, your employees, and your ethics for quicker buy-in from stakeholders.For example, when MSD wanted to promote an advocacy, it chose to help curbthe spread of HPV, one of the most widespread STDs in the world.
Change the Company
No matter the strength of your communications strategy, if your company back up what you’re saying with action, your brand perception will remain the same. Perception is experiential. The company must generate a new, better experience for its customers or risk losing out to more forward-thinking competitors.
When investing in brand perception, companies have to look at the long term and think outside the box of ROI. It's not always about today's returns but also about tomorrow's potential.
Do you want to learn how your brand is perceived and how to change this? Send us an email and let's have a talk.