Many business owners believe that quality always comes first and that it will help them attract customers and keep them. This is absolutely true, but there’s much more to this whole process than manufacturing a great product and putting it on the market. We can’t deny that Kevin Systrom was absolutely right with this “Great products sell themselves” since you can trick your customers only once and sell them a trashy product and after that, your reputation is ruined. However, if you want to grow your business and expand it, you need to play your cards right branding-wise, and realize that besides offering quality you need to maximize your brand equity.
What’s Brand Equity?
This concept can seem pretty vague and intangible when you’re launching your startup for the first time. The thing is that it’s best described as the value of your brand, but not in terms of palpable assets such as cash or office inventory, but in the sense of how your customers perceive your brand. In other words, brand equity is a sum of all customers’ interactions and experiences with a brand, together with all their expectations of it. Powerful companies have strong brand equity, which means that their brands are perceived as valuable, and subsequently, they can generate a lot of money. For example, some of the most famous companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, or Nike boast strong brand equity which is why they easily attract customers and retain them. If we bear in mind that loyal customers are 7 times more likely to forgive their favorite company when it makes a mistake, then it’s clear why building customer loyalty and cherishing a strong relationship with your target audience is critical to the success of your brand. On a related note, consumers almost always pick products by the brand they’re loyal to, even if similar unbranded products or products by rival brands are offered at a significantly lower price.
When talking about the concept of brand equity and how powerful it can be, we need to discuss that famous Coca-Cola’s MagiCan campaign that went horribly wrong. In the spring of 1990, the company put cash or prize coupons, totaling $4 million, in selected, empty cans. A rolled piece of currency or a coupon were supposed to pop out of the can when opened. Awesome, right? However, in order to make all cans weigh the same, they filled a sealed area within the ones with a prize with a foul-tasting liquid to discourage drinking. Due to a malfunction in the pop-up mechanism, chlorinated liquid leaked into some cans. Some consumers, mainly kids, drank it, so the company received a lot of complaints, although the liquid itself wasn’t harmful. Bad publicity resulted in Coca-Cola terminating the campaign, which was one of the most expensive ever, and suffering a financial loss. However, it was only temporary and the company not only got back on its feet but became even more popular and powerful. It’s clear that strong brand equity helped the world’s biggest soft-drink company survive this crisis.
A Quality Product
Naturally, the first step towards building and maximizing brand equity is introducing a quality product. It’s true that quality itself isn’t enough in today’s competitive market, and that it has to be supported by strong marketing and advertising efforts, but you have to offer a product that your target audience needs and that can effectively and efficiently solve a certain problem that bothers them. Never make promises that you can’t keep, as the first impressions are the most lasting and if you fail to deliver on your promises your brand is doomed. While your brand is still new, you can’t afford the luxury of making big mistakes, so make sure not to let your customers down.
Once you have a product or service that effectively solves certain pain points, you need to let your target audience know about it. In other words, you need to build brand awareness and improve its visibility. Nowadays, apart from advertising campaigns, you can take advantage of social media networks that have become indispensable when it comes to increasing brand awareness, as they have taken place of word-of-mouth marketing. As statistics say that there are 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide, it’s not rocket science to calculate how many people can be exposed to your brand if you use advertising on this social media platform.
After you’ve let your target audience know about your product and its features and benefits, it’s time to start working on brand recognition, which means finding some sneaky ways to worm your way into your target audience’s mind, so that they can recognize your brand on the shelves, or when they see your logo. There are numerous methods for achieving this, but one of the most important is creating a good narrative and a unique brand story that will communicate your brand message, explain who you are, and state your core brand values. If you want your target audience to start recognizing your brand, you need to make it relatable, so that they can connect with it and start trusting you.
If you’ve done your homework with the previous three steps, your target audience will be tempted to try your product and assess the quality of your brand. If you provide them with quality, it’s very likely that they’ll select your brand again. This is the stage when customers start forming associations that are based on their experiences with your brand, so make each and every interaction you have with them count. Impeccable customer service is another important factor in this equation. Finally, starting a blog and publishing relevant and useful content will also show your brand in a favorable light.
As its name suggests, this is the stage in which you’re supposed to help your customers decide why your brand should be their preferred choice. A series of positive experiences with your products, and the brand itself, as well as social proof showing that others are equally satisfied, will definitely cement your position. All your interactions with your customers have to be carefully planned, including those on social media platforms. You should be aware that there will also be some negative comments and experiences, but if you handle those professionally and responsibly, they can actually turn into a positive image without damaging your reputation.
This is the final and ultimate stage of maximizing your brand equity. Your loyal customers will not only always pick your brand, but they will share their positive experiences with their friends and family, thus helping you generate tons of new, quality leads. Customer loyalty is the result of your long-term efforts to meet your customers’ needs and find the best solution to their pain points. As growing a sound and loyal customer base is of paramount importance to any business, it’s clear that building strong brand equity is essential for generating new leads and turning them into paying customers. So, basically, Kevin Systrom is absolutely right, and although quality alone can’t guarantee strong brand equity, it’s its critical ingredient.
Find out what people like you appreciate about us: We provide accurate high-quality leads. All our data undergoes a thorough and comprehensive process of validation. What our clients get are ready-to-use leads that can be turned into sales opportunities right away.
If you still haven’t tried our platform, now is the right time to do it. Just sign up and we’ll give you 50 high quality and up-to-date leads right away.