Top 10 Guide: Marketing your Start-Up and SME
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The process of change can be gradual or sudden – driven by external factors out of our control.
Brand perception is one of the hardest things to change as an organisation, but these five tips will lead you in the right direction.
You first need to understand what your current brand perception really is, not what you think it is. What do your customers see you as? How does this compare with how you want to be seen? A great tool to see how people perceive your brand is social media. Find comments and conversations that give you an insight into your customers’ thoughts.
Be honest about your brand qualities – both positive and not-so-positive. Try to identify areas that you could improve in order to better serve your customers.
Without knowing exactly what your customers want you’re unlikely to be able to change your brand perception. It’s important to analyse your audience. What do they want? You need to put them at the centre of your brand strategy.
Explore why they have their current perceptions of your brand. Create opportunities for conversations and act on the feedback you receive.
Everyone needs to be included in the change, especially your employees. Brand perception starts with the people who make your business; real change will only happen if they adopt the new way of thinking.
Talk to them. Explain the reasoning behind the change and tell them their importance in the process. Do this and they will be more likely to get on board.
Small, incremental changes will have little impact on your brand perception. Once you’re confident that your changes are the right ones, spread the word! Your audience will react positively if you tell them that your changes are based on what they want, so don’t be afraid to let them know. This will build a strong relationship with them but requires you to keep your new promises.
There are bound to be challenges in the future, so embrace the changes.
Let your customers know that you’re looking forward to adapting to what the future holds; this will build confidence and trust between your brand and the audience.
Emerging opportunities for your business may not be what has been core to you in the past, but stay open to what may come your way in the future.
Brand perception is not a science. It’s impossible to control how your customers think. Changing how you’re seen is not easy, but it can make a huge difference to your longevity if done well.
The key is to stay relevant and put your customers’ needs at the centre of what you do. Nail that and you can’t go far wrong.