With 81% of shoppers conducting online research before making a big purchase, the image your brand projects can make all the difference between getting their business or losing them to a competitor. You want your brand to inspire confidence and present you as an authority in your niche — an expert that customers will trust implicitly when purchasing your product or service.
But with consumer trust in brands and advertising wavering, how can you make sure to reach your target audience efficiently and convert them into engaged clients, all while making sure to maintain the loyalty of your existing customer base?
To succeed, you may need to opt for more creative strategies to improve your brand image and how it is perceived by the public. Here are 10 approaches that members of Forbes Communications Council recommend trying:
1. Use Social Responsibility
One strategy has been using social responsibility. As a wine and spirits organization, we partnered with the Toronto Transit Commission to offer free rides all night to all Torontonians on New Year’s Eve. Under the tagline “Make the Right Call after the Last Call,” we allowed people to enjoy a great night while not worrying about drinking and driving. The campaign received more than 40 million impressions. – Amandine Robin, Pernod Ricard USA
2. Organize Quality, Consumer-Focused Events
I think the “conversion” factor for us is around our high-touch, high-quality events. Customers are thoroughly celebrated with a meaningful forum to share their innovations, and attendees who are further up the funnel leave feeling a real sense of community around our company and products. The magic is in delivering a branded experience that fundamentally revolves around us, but that not only feels customer-driven or focused — it actually is. – Omar Garriott, Salesforce.org.
3. Focus On Relationships And Results
As a service provider, our brand strategy is built around two things: relationships and results. Combined, our clients are able to trust us to drive their brand forward. “The cobbler’s kids have no shoes” is only good for the first few years. Then, you have to get smart about working on your own brand, and the best way to do that is to create a winning culture that’s focused on others. – Brittany Thoms, See.Spark.Go
4. Get Earned Media Coverage
Media pitching and earning media coverage is my go-to strategy for elevating brand and raising awareness. Shared media and partnerships are also helpful, so I work with organizations and influencers to cross-promote our content to new audiences. – Amanda Ponzar, Community Health Charities
5. Provide More Value To Your Audience
Rethink how we communicate and engage with our audience. We have a strong brand in the industry and we wanted to find new ways to strengthen and enhance those relationships by providing more value. To do this we created a new website, a Food for Thought blog, how-to e-books and helpful tools. Since implementing these changes, we’ve seen increases in web traffic by 250%, leads by 500% and closed millions in revenue. – Justin Bridegan, Stellar
6. Get Your Team More Involved
Employees are your No. 1 branding asset. If you are undertaking a rebranding, in addition to collecting market data, involve your employees in the process. Publish a survey asking them to describe the company in their own words, or socialize new logo designs allowing individuals to vote. Even if an employee’s idea is not included in the final design, having been given the opportunity to voice their opinion will increase the likelihood of following your brand guidelines, or better yet, becoming a brand ambassador. – Katie Burton, Indeni
7. Develop Client-Centered Roundtable Events
We developed client-centered roundtable events to expand upon a knowledge-based network for users. In the world of continuous improvement, to attain world-class status organizations need to share their knowledge and help others on their journey. – Cecily Pickering, Competitive Capabilities International
8. Reiterate Your Everyday Mission
We define our corporate brand based on our everyday mission, which is to “serve those who serve.” Our innovative e-learning and performance solutions are developed specifically for firefighters, teachers, engineers and other professionals who work to keep our world safe. Telling the story of these everyday heroes gives great meaning to our brand, helps us differentiate ourselves and builds a strong community around what we do. – Victoria Zambito, Vector Solutions
9. Establish Authority Via Thought Leadership
We host a number of thought leadership events that reflect and compliment the software products we sell. By inviting clients and prospects to educational and networking events, and supplementing those events with carefully crafted thought leadership content, we establish authority and credibility with our audience. During the events, we position successful clients to present businesses cases and outcomes. Then, we introduce our solutions that support those outcomes. This approach works because it relies on client advocacy and thoughtful education. – Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems
10. Create Visual Assets And Lead With Good Stories
Creating visual assets such as infographics, and leading with a storytelling approach that adds value instead of product-focused content, has been very successful for us. We’ve seen massive growth in engagement on social media, specifically LinkedIn, and that is resulting in increased brand awareness and exposure. – Ahmad Daher, Denali Advanced Integration.