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How to keep your brand real and relevant

If your brand is authentic, people will buy your products and services. It’s as simple as that!

But making sure that your brand is real and relevant isn’t that easy. It takes time and effort to build an identity that stays the distance – especially in these very challenging times.

So here are two things that we genuinely believe will work for your brand. 

Shout about your values

Our number one ‘must-do’ is to make sure that your purpose and values are clear in everything you do.

So, firstly, make sure that you and everyone who works with you understands your brand DNA. This means what you stand for and what makes your business different from the rest.

Then try to find ways to amplify your values in your social media activity and your day-to-day interactions. Your brand needs to live and breathe as if it was a person. And social media activity is one of the best ways to do this.

Basically, if you say you care, then show you care. If you promise to go the extra mile, then do exactly that. And, if you claim to offer the best service in town, then make sure you do.

This is because words are cheap but actions aren’t. Every time you connect with a customer, it’s called a ‘moment of truth’.

So get it right and your customers will come back for more. But get it wrong and they will go elsewhere and, worse still, they will steer people away from your business. Then what? Your customer ratings will drop and so will your profits.

Show your human side

Our second suggestion is to dial down the marketing hype and have genuine conversations. Ditch the email and telephone scripts and let your people be themselves.

This is because we’ve been through so much during the global pandemic that trusted relationships have become crucially important.

After all, being human is the one thing we all have in common you don’t need to be afraid to be real.

So be honest and make things right if something goes wrong. Ask people what you can do better and do something positive with your customer feedback.

These little interactions make a huge difference when it comes to brand loyalty and, in turn, how this is affecting the bottom line.

But, if you need proof, there are stacks of new statistics showing how buying habits are changing. Yes, more of us really are favouring ethical businesses that are prepared to show their human side.

Here’s a blog we found particularly interesting when we were looking for facts to back up what we’re saying. https://www.tailorbrands.com/blog/branding-statistics

Can we help?

We’re brand consultants with bags of experience, so get in touch if you want some guidance.

hopecreative.co.uk/contact/

Five ways to improve your online brand presence

If there’s one thing every business should have learned through lockdown, it’s the importance of having an online brand presence.

That’s because doing business digitally is here to stay. But if you’re not convinced, there are some pretty compelling statistics emerging.

Yes, no matter which survey you read, it appears that over 80% of people read online reviews before they buy.

And over 80% now search for a product or service online. For the purposes of our research, we checked out smartinsights.com 

So the high street might be opening back up again, thankfully, but the buying experience definitely starts online.

This means improving your digital presence is a must so we’ve come up with some key pointers which might help.

  • Be visible

Firstly, help your customers to find you. Build a captivating website so that search engines can easily find your products and services.

And, remember, it must work on mobile devices because this is where people do their research.

This is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short, which sounds complicated. That’s right, it isn’t easy to get your head around but it’s so important.  

  • Be valuable

Our second tip is to make sure that your website is engaging and useful for your customers. For example, share your expertise and offer advice – it’s not about the ‘big sell’.

Writing a blog post and sharing it on your social media channels is a great way to do this.

Or, sending your customers an e-newsletter they can sign up to is another great way of showing your value.

Whatever you do, the content must be helpful to them, not a sales pitch.

Also, make sure people can see that your business is legitimate, caring and authentic. This means having clear brand values and purpose.

  • Be sociable

Thirdly, you should connect and interact using social media platforms that suit your business offer. However, you must think about this in a strategic way.

Any channels you choose must be specifically useful for your line of business, so do your homework. And don’t forget, it’s about quality, not quantity.

It’s also really important to show your human side. Today’s consumer wants to know you personally – they expect you to be their friend and they want a conversation. So keep it real.  

  • Be active

Tip number four is all about your brand. That’s because strong and healthy brands live and breathe by being busy online.

This means investing time in your website, your social media channels and your digital marketing.

It’s important to schedule a specific slot into your business week and to stick to it religiously.

Basically, engaging regularly is the difference between building your online profile and actually having an online presence.

  • Be different

And so on to our final pointer. One thing that hasn’t changed when it comes to marketing your business is being unique. That’s why it’s so important to develop and understand what we call your market differentiators.

In simple terms, this means showing customers why they should buy from you.

What do you do differently from your competitors? Essentially, this is your brand DNA and this is the bedrock of your business offer.

How we can help

If you think we can help you to build your online business presence, please let us know.

How to build your brand in the middle of a global pandemic

Science says it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. This suggests that you should be used to the ‘new normal’ by now. You should be developing your brand during this global pandemic in different ways.

But have you really adapted your behaviour since the ‘new normal’ reshaped the UK economy? Or are you just rolling with the punches until there are fewer unknowns. Realistically, can any of us still continue to build our brands while so much hangs in the balance?

There’s so much uncertainty that many of us are reluctant to change because some of the new ways of working might not stick around. This is especially true if it means investing your time and money.

So, as brand consultants, we decided to look at things we think you can take as ‘given’. We’re sure there are three new habits worth adopting for the long term. That’s because we still believe that your brand can grow from strength to strength. We’ll talk you through them now.

Habit 1

Raise your digital profile

We know there has been a seismic shift to digitalisation and e-commerce. ONS statistics in February this year showed that online sales increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2%. This was up from 29.6% in December 2020 and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behaviours.

These figures underline why boosting your online business presence has never been more important and will be pivotal in the fight to survive this crisis. It’s a move that we think is definitely worth making.

Habit 2

Promote your purpose and values

We know that consumers are acting differently. We’re buying online from brands we trust – those that show they care about us and the environment. Your brand identity, purpose and values as a business have always been crucial to success.

This will always be the norm and is another given in these strange times. So make sure your customers know what you stand for and why they should choose your services.  

Revisit your brand identity and make sure it’s working for you across all your communication channels. Improving social engagement and showing authenticity are the things to focus on here. 81% of customers say trust in the brand is a key buying factor since the pandemic. 

Habit 3

Improve customer experience

We know that the way we interact with our customers has to change. Satisfaction ratings are at their worst since 2015, according to the Institute of Customer Service

People want to deal with real people that understand their needs and are willing to show their human side. More consumers are also prepared to walk away from a brand they love because of just one bad experience.

So this is the right time to get to know your customers, to find new ways to connect and to gather feedback. Make it easy for them to contact you, really listen to their ideas and suggestions, find ways to make them smile and put things right if you can when things go wrong.

Simple but effective steps you can take right now. Getting into the right customer service habits will always be the right thing to do. Some things will never change!

If you want to talk to us about your brand and how to introduce some of the new habits we’ve discussed in this blog, let us know. Fill in the contact form on our website by clicking this link: https://www.hopecreative.co.uk/contact/

Why it’s make or break for your brand

As business owners, we might feel like we’re in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ right now but not if we start thinking differently. We can get through this if we change our mindset.

But, before we get into the ‘how’, we need to look at the ‘why’. Let’s go back to last year when Covid-19 took over our lives and threatened our businesses. Why didn’t we see it coming?

Maybe it’s because, as business people, we’re natural optimists. Or, as problem-solvers, we find a way to deal with most challenges. Perhaps, more likely, it’s because we never really think the unthinkable.

Okay, yes we plan for risk and make our forecasts, but, this is exactly why we need to change our perspective. It’s ‘make or break’ time for our brands.

We have to think round corners to make sure that the global pandemic doesn’t destroy our livelihoods.

So how can we do this? There are two topics below that will challenge your thinking.   

Topic 1: Time to diversify?

One thing you can do is change your offer. It’s a risky move but diversification can lead to new markets and new customers.

By adding new products or services, or even launching into new sectors, you can add value to your business and your brand. Ask yourself and your team:

  • Is there a gap in the market?
  • Is there demand for something new?
  • Can you adapt your business to meet this need?

Start by weighing up the risks before you invest time or money. Then think about the untapped expertise you have within your business that you could exploit. Where could this take your business?

Don’t forget to ask your customers what they want because buying habits have changed dramatically since lockdown began.

Most of us now buy online, buy from businesses we trust and buy into more ethical brands. There are some startling findings in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.

Also, make sure to get the right people with the right skills you need to support your new venture. Take a look at The Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs‘ skills and employment programmes: information for employers.

Topic 2: Time to innovate?

An even bolder step is to reimagine your business completely. For opportunists, innovators and entrepreneurs, this is your year. Change direction, change your brand, why not change everything?

Did you know that lockdown has spawned thousands of new businesses across the UK? Often this has meant specialists in one sector closing up shop and starting again in a different sector. Yes, scary but true, and probably unthinkable before the pandemic.

So what can you do? What’s the big idea? Where’s the opportunity? Every business is different so we don’t have any pearly words to share here except to say be brave, be bold and be different.

We’re running free webinars from April so sign up now if you want to join us. We’ll be sharing our thoughts, predictions and ideas together on how we can all survive and thrive through 2021 and beyond. It’s good to talk!

To sign up please click on this link https://www.hopecreative.co.uk/contact/

 

Core values, trust, branding

Do customers value your brand?

Trust has always been important to customers and we’re now told that 70% of people are buying from a business because of its values. 86% of consumers will only support authentic brands.

The global pandemic has helped to drive this shift which is why we should all be focussing on social connections, meaningful relationships and keeping it real.

Being a force for good and showing customers that we genuinely care will keep our businesses relevant during these strange and uncertain times. We must think about ways to surprise people with small acts of kindness and show the human side of business.

So, if doing ethical business is the new benchmark, how do we know we’re one of the good guys? If the answer to all of these questions is, yes, then you’re going in the right direction:

  • Are the things you value evident in everything you do?
  • Do you gather feedback and act on it – good or bad?
  • Do the people you work with share your ethics?

Right now we need to do more. We need to give people a reason to do business with us by living the values we sign up to and by winning trust and appreciation for what we do. We need to improve our service offer and communication channels. We need to show that we’re still relevant.

If our brand values are clear and connect with people, then we won’t just survive, we’ll thrive.  

 https://www.hopecreative.co.uk/