Set the clock back over 100 years and you’ll find that companies didn’t care about their brand image for the longest time. If products worked, then consumers bought them. Firms that sold merchandise people didn’t care about either adapted or vanished. Nobody in the world of marketing really focused on the personality they projected.
In today’s world, merely mentioning the words Gucci or Armani make people think of luxury. People often buy vehicles from Tesla because they believe in the company’s mission, in spite of the fact that they could just as easily get a zero-emission car from another company. It’s easy to see that you need to build a strong image and make people care about who you are.
One notable motivational speaker wrote that people don’t buy what companies do anymore. Rather, they buy the reason they do it and the emotions behind that. The problem is that many brands lose their footing and aren’t able to build a strong image. Your firm doesn’t have to fall into this trap.
Promoting a Message
Some pundits feel like this is the era of the faceless company, which gives you a rare opportunity to buck the trend. Several firms have been working on reinventing their image by holding charitable events and fundraisers that are every bit as profitable as they are noble. Companies that set fundraising goals are often able to attract those who feel very strongly about the causes that get supported in the process.
Consider a recent promotion by a company that sold eyeglasses. They gave away a pair to the less fortunate whenever someone bought a pair from them. This so-called “buy one, give one” program helped to support a worthy cause while at the same time encouraging people to buy into their brand. Once the company had established itself as helpful to society, many more consumers were willing to spend their money with said brand. Charitable giving, in this case, was able to turn a profit for the company in question while also very genuinely helping a cause.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to promote your brand as conscientious if you don’t have any way of backing it up. Consumers will see through this kind of lack of authenticity and hold your feet to the fire for it. For that matter, you’ll want to make sure that whatever message you promote is one that actually fits. If you try to promote your brand as caring about something that you don’t often concern yourself with, then your customers are going to realize.
Cultivating a Fan Base
Regardless of where they might stand on the company’s products, it certainly seems like people have strong opinions about Apple. Technicians have often pointed out the fact that from a technical standpoint modern iPhone hardware is outpaced by the competition. Nevertheless, the iPhone is still considered a premium product due in no small part to Apple’s strong brand image.
People pontificate on Apple’s marketing practices all the time, but few of them ever point out the basic reason why Apple is able to maintain such a huge presence in the market:
The company has fans in the same way that celebrities have fans.
They’ve cultivated a fan base that consists of people who admire the firm’s style. Chevy had something similar going for it for many years. It’d be difficult to argue that anyone actually needs to buy a Corvette unless they’re regularly going to car shows. Nevertheless, Chevy’s marketing department had long depicted Vettes as a desirable product that came with a certain sense of style.
In order to increase the sense of celebrity that surrounded their trademark automobile, Chevy’s marketing department once cross-promoted with the space program!
We’re not suggesting that you do anything this extreme, but it really is important to cultivate some sort of a fan base that will keep people coming back for more even when the competition has you beat. You might consider promoting your company as fun and quirky both in traditional media and throughout the various social networking sites you’re logged into. This can help ensure that people are always talking about your brand no matter what’s going on in the industry.
Get the Full Rock Star Image & Sales Won’t be Far Behind
During the late 1980s, a pair of software developers crowned themselves the Bitmap Brothers and started to claim that they were the video game world’s equivalent of rock stars. They had photographs taken of themselves wearing shades in front of a helicopter that they then proceeded to send pretty much every gaming magazine of the era.
This kind of a ploy might seem ridiculous, but it worked and helped them to cultivate a glamorous image that no other company at the time had. While you might not want to go to the same extreme, it’s good to give yourself an edgy and fresh image. Don’t be afraid to share photos of you and your team.
Promote yourselves as the original characters that you really are. One prominent tool company took this to the next level by giving each member of their design staff a certain unique flair. Their web designer ended up posting funny bios for each individual, and sales took off.
When you give them something to feed off of like this, customers are bound to take notice sooner rather than later. Once they do, they’ll be proud to buy into everything that your brand has to offer.