Your company image is everything when it comes to your clients or customers perception of you. It is this which you heavily rely on when competing with other businesses, and establishing in new or existing markets. It is important to focus attention greatly on getting this correct, as investments in the wrong practices and areas can create long-term difficulties with your company.
In order for a business to be successful, it is important for customers and clients to know exactly what products and services you offer and why you are the right company or business for them to use; whether this is for a large service or a low ticket item or small purchase.
Below, you will find 6 reasons that businesses struggle and weaken their company image, and you will learn how to avoid doing the same yourself.
Your marketing is inconsistent
Think of all the main brands that you know; Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, etc.
Now think about how they market themselves, look at the way that they position themselves throughout, using their own official media via their website or through advertisements, and look at the way that they position and market themselves using social media through their Facebook profile, their Twitter profile. Any efforts that they commit to are consistent with their specific branding guidelines, specific to the audience that they are targeting, and are also consistent with their brand message.
Consistency is important as it allows the consumer to understand exactly who they are working with, what is on offer, and where do they move forward from here. The benefits of a company being consistent is that the consumers are able to understand that they are working with a professional business, and looking at the previous brands mentioned, would you consider them as professional brands or brands acting professionally?
Take a look at your company and what marketing efforts you are committing to. Would you say that you are being professional to the level that they are, or are you working at a substandard level and essentially being unfocused and unprofessional with your marketing efforts?
Can you improve your company image by focusing and dedicating uniformity and consistency to your marketing efforts?
Constantly chasing the next trend trying to keep up to date
We fully understand how quickly changes can happen especially in the design area and we also fully understand the value that you perceive on being “current” or “trendy”. Whilst this has some importance, you also need to consider whether adopting a new design trend matches how your customers perceive you, or rather would it actually alienate you from your actual brand, pushing your customers away.
For example, the brand Aunt Bessie’s sells foods targeted to lovers of Sunday roast dinners. If you were to look at their website, you will find that whilst they are current, they have not deviated from their brand, as their image is to provide food like your “Aunt Bessie” would make them; traditional, homely. Let us imagine we take this brand and squeeze the brand through the latest trend; minimalism, flat UI, etc… do we still have the same perception of the brand? Short answer is highly likely to be no.
Similarly, if you focus on making your brand match the latest trends, will soon find that when the next trend comes along that your brand will quickly look outdated. It’s more important to take hints and elements from a particular trend, and to look at how it could be implemented if it is found to be beneficial, but it is important to always make sure that your branding is consistent with your specific and developed brand image.
You weaken your brand by associating with products or services which aren’t aligned with what you do
What does your company do? What do people know your brand for? People choose your business because they believe that you are the best in that area; whether it is food, services, other products, etc. There is a saying that you can be a jack of all trades but master of none, and it is very true for business; Are you diluting your brand by associating with products of services that do not directly relate?
Coca-Cola Enterprises has the main brand of Coca-Cola and although they have done some product variants such as Coca-Cola Vanilla, Coca-Cola Cherry, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, etc. The do have other produced which they decided that the best course of action was to release all the brands under the Coca-Cola Enterprises name, although using specific brand names allowing clear differentiation from the Coca-Cola range, but still letting people know that these products are part of the Coca-Cola family; for example: Lilt, Sprite, Fanta, Schweppes, etc. Similarly, all of these drinks are generally targeted to people who want a quick refreshing drink, however the audiences differ by product preference, plus allowing these products to directly compete with other similar products. By using this method, it also helps customers to choose these brands as alternatives to competing brands, whilst still allowing the customer to realise they will be getting the same base-line quality provided with their main brand.
The previous example is an acceptable use of brand deviation, however if they were to then invest in pens for example, we could expect a failure within this new venture as there is no connection, however it will likely weaken their brand overall as it takes away from them being a powerful and successful company.
You’ve stopped doing what worked in the first place
One of the reasons that most people fail in anything that they try to achieve, or that they notice that their success begins to fall or slow down, is because when they reflect on their previous activities, it is very common for people to realise that they have stopped doing what made them successful in the first place.
Are you still doing what worked in the first place? Have you stopped looking for the next shiny object? Take a moment to look back at what you have done in the past, what was working, what was not working, and recognise which areas you need to put more effort back into, going back to what worked in the first place.
To explain this further, we go back to Aunt Bessie’s again. We will see if that again, it is a traditional brand image targeted towards people looking for classical Sunday roast dinners; this works! If, for example, they were to decided to compare their competitors, and then see that one competitor is doing particularly well and then try to emulate the efforts and strategy that their competitor is using, then there is a high chance that they will lose all identity of what worked for them in the first place… losing their brand uniqueness and ultimately disconnect with why people use them in the first place.
Take a moment to look at what method is successful, what works, what gave you the right brand image. Before you decide to make a full commitment to anything with your brand, you also need to consider whether or not it really does need to change. Have you tested to see what other people’s perceptions are on a large enough scale? Are you focusing in the right right area or are you looking for a quick fix that will actually end up causing you further problems?
Not tailoring your message specifically to detail specifics about your brand
Take a moment to think about what you do. What is it specifically that makes your brand stand out against all of the others? In your mind, what is it that makes you unique which influences customer’s decision to choose you over competitor? If your current customers realise the same, is it something that they already knew, or did you have to deliver the message?
- How do they know how are you telling them?
- How are you displaying what is important?
- What are your competitors doing?
When you’ve built your master material, did you actually look at in-depth research or did you just assume what you can so that you could just get started? Doing this can be useful process, however if you don’t adjust quickly to show what is specific about you then essentially you are just another business doing the same thing, in your customer’s perspective.
Trying to target everybody through one message
As an adult, do you relate to the same messages which they used to target you with as a child? The answer is likely no. Although it is possible that the same products may be used for both adults and children, is it likely that there will be separate advertising in place, maybe through brand differentiation but specifically the message they deliver.
Look at McDonald’s; on a larger scale we know what they produce fast food burgers however if you compare English McDonald’s with the McDonald’s in Morocco, or with the McDonald’s in Japan, you will find that they provide very different products to each other. Where these products do offer similarities, they are tailored for the specific audience to meet the audience’s’ needs and requirements, and offering a different brand or product range in order to meet their demands. It is clear that they are targeting different audiences with different messages, and different end products and services, but they are still consistent with the brand image.
If you look at the message that you were delivering, are you trying to target multiple audiences with the same message, have you recognised if there are any different products and services that you do, whether on a standard or premium tier, and if so are you marketing them the exact same way? Is your audience in one location geographically or targeted via Facebook for example, or do you need to be more specific with what your message is, what benefits you sell to the customer, and how you actually get the message to them?
Help! I’m recognised that I keep doing all of the above!
This is where using professional services can massively benefit you. For example, partner with Rido Media and we would be able to develop an analysis on your competitors, look at what they are doing well, what they aren’t doing so well, what are they missing in the market and what can you do to penetrate that gap. We would take you through the sales strategy, how to target a market to customers, and even then produce the content and copy that you will use to market yourself with.
Can you afford to use substandard or generic content or images or branding?
Can you afford to not have consistency throughout, with a targeted and well delivered message to the correctly defined audiences?
Failing to take the right action, you greatly risk falling within the bracket of just another company, operating in the same area as all other competitors with no clearly defined values, benefits, and offers, helping your customers to decide why they should use you.