5 Ways to Align your Market Presence Through Product, Brand and Voice
My name is Patricia Quintero and this is my second Entrepreneur in Residence blog post. My first blog covers The Entrepreneurial Journey.
As part of the series of seminars of the Entrepreneurship in Residence program, we have been talking about the journey entrepreneurs undertake. From the business idea until this business becomes a reality.
During our learning sessions we have discussed how important it is to bring the customer’s input into the process of creating a product that aligns with the customer’s needs. The days of launching a business to compete solely on price are gone. It is now a priority for businesses to have the needs of the customer at the center of their overall purpose. Furthermore, as a product goes to market, it is important to have branding and messaging that is in line with the company values and product purpose. This alignment of the product, brand and voice will allow us to have a greater impact as we aim to engage with the users of our product.
We live in a world that is highly saturated by unlimited product offerings where brands compete for the consumer’s attention via multiple platforms – print, mobile, social media, web and in stores. Every brand wants to stand out from the rest, so it is important for businesses to have a clear vision of who they are, what are the key attributes that differentiates their product from the competition, and how they add value to the customer. By understanding who we are as a company and having a clear picture of who our buyers personas are, we can create content and campaigns that target each specific user. This strategy gives us a higher opportunity to connect with our customers.
But how can we ensure that we reach our target audience? Just keep in mind the following key tips.
1. Identify Your Customer’s Journey
Every time your product is in front of the customer it is an opportunity to position it in their minds. Your brand touches our customers through many touch points and every interaction customers have with your brand is an opportunity to build awareness and develop trust and loyalty. So it is important that you identify all the stages that customer goes through, from the moment they become aware of your product until after they make a purchase. Once you have done this, ensure that through every touch point the branding, messaging and customer experience matches what you have outlined as the vision for your brand. If you promote your product on the basis of quality and service, then ensure they receive the best quality and best service every time they interact with your company. Do not leave your brand messaging open to interpretations. Your brand is the message you can control, so own it!
2. Demonstrate Your Competitive Advantage
It is important that you are clear with respect to the benefits your product delivers to customers. Customers need to understand in a straightforward way how this product will add value to them and their lives. With this clarity, they can see why they should consider changing from their current product option to the new offer you are bringing to the market.
As a supplier, it is our goal to deliver economic value: a fair price the customer will pay for accessing our product. We also want to deliver experiential value: the value we bring to the customer when they use our product. Communicating these benefits in a clear way makes it much easier for the customer to consider trying your new product offering.
3. Be Consistent with Frequency, Branding, Tone
We live in an age where companies are producing large amounts of content on an ongoing basis. Consumers are struggling to process the amount of content they receive from all sorts of digital platforms as well as offline. This saturation in the market means every day our brand has less time in front of consumers. So it is important for you to optimize each campaign through consistent branding. Each time your product or marketing campaigns reach the client, they need to have the same tone, look and feel in order for the customer to remember your brand, your product and what it stands for.
Ensure you have clear company branding guidelines to guarantee consistency in the look and feel of the brand: logo, fonts, colors and placement should always be consistent. This can only be achieved through standardized guidelines that are regularly followed. As a start-up, your goal is that every piece of content delivered that reaches the marketplace supports your brand’s presence consistently.
4. Be Strategic
Success is no accident, so you need a measurable plan to reach your goals. Build a marketing plan where you detail the goals that you want to reach, the tactics that you plan to implement in order to reach these goals, how much is this going to cost you and what is your target outcome for each of these tactics. Target outcomes can include the number of likes, downloads, units sold, etc.
You also want to have a detailed editorial calendar that lays out the content that you plan to create with dates for each content platform that you are using.
When it comes to social media, I always recommend users ensure they have accounts only on platforms they can manage on a regular basis. It is very disappointing to go to a social media platform that has not been updated in a while.
Remember that your messaging always needs to:
- Be interesting
- Address the customer's needs
- Adjusted in tone and length for the platform
- Be consistent with your branding
You might also want to plan for posts on special, relevant holidays. Anything from Mother’s Day to National Sandwich Day is worth keeping in mind. If they are relevant to your product, this can be a great way to engage with your users. It can also help you boost your sales.
5. Track and Measure
I think I have touched above on the importance of including targets that we can measure against when we review the impact of each initiative we deploy. The only way for us to measure impact and determine whether we are achieving our goals is to track our efforts.
No matter how big or small the business, I always set up an annual marketing plan that I use as my overall navigation plan. This is my master file that brings together all of our planning initiatives. Once you are roll this plan out, once per quarter you should sit down and review how your initiatives are performing. Anything that is not performing according to plan should be reviewing and adjusted.
You want to make sure you track performance on a regular basis so you can ensure you reach your goals.
Here are some books available from Toronto Public Library to help you improve customer relations while building a successful business.
"Joseph A. Mitchell, author of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BusinessWeek bestseller The Starbucks Experience, investigates the success of the Starbucks brand and how five actionable principals have kept this company successful over time and can be utilized by any businesses who focus on their customers' needs."
"Marc, R. Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, has published his latest book this year on developing, building, and driving a world-class leadership and culture as a powerful engine to success. He shares insights on what it takes to be a successful trailblazer in business."
"Thomas A. Stewart has written books on building a business from the ground up to win, keep, and repeat customer satisfaction for your products and business. Learn to develop and create a bank of trust with your clientele."
This article was written by Patricia Quintero, Toronto Public Library's Entrepreneur in Residence for Fall 2019. Patricia's final seminar for the Library, Staying Relevant After Your Launch, will be this Monday, November 18 at Toronto Reference Library. We hope to see you there!