It is all too common for people to completely ignore brand communications. To build the brand equity you need for people to be receptive of your messaging, go back to the same tenets of what is desirable and undesirable in people. These are basic rules for life that we all understand. But, for some reason, companies think they’re exempt from these basic rules for brand building and sustaining positive relationships. The truth is, they’re not.
Here are 5 brand building strategy lessons:
- Be honest.
This should go without saying, and shouldn’t even be something that needs to be reinforced, but some companies still try to squeeze by with little white lies, over-embellishments, and sneaky manipulations. Just be honest. When brands lose trust, it’s incredibly detrimental to company success and can be hard to win back.
- Be yourself.
Don’t try to be something you’re not. This doesn’t mean that a brand can’t be a living, breathing, evolving entity. Just like people are allowed to change their tastes and preferences over time, brands are allowed to make small tweaks as they go. However, brands shouldn’t try to make dramatic 180-degree personality changes, such as taking a position or participating in something that contradicts with the brand mission or core brand values.
- Acknowledge mistakes.
If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, take credit for it, be respectful, and move on. Don’t ever try to push things under the rug. This is foolish in today’s digital environment, where nothing can fully be erased, and someone will eventually dig up the dirt and expose you. The bonus for acknowledging mistakes is that it makes your company human, makes the public more understanding and builds trust. Acknowledging a mistake can actually be an opportunity to better their relationship with consumers when handled appropriately.
- Be loyal to your fans.
Sure, you may be hungry to make connections with influencers and to get mentioned by important people and organizations, but never forget your loyal fans. Acknowledge and support your loyal fans. If your brand suffers a PR crisis, your loyal fans may be the first to defend your brand reputation when it’s most critical. Don’t wait for a PR crisis to value your fans.
- Give more than you take.
Such a simple rule that companies tend to forgo. Don’t attempt to solicit user-generated content (UGC) that requires more work than it’s worth. Don’t ask people for feedback only when the company needs it. Always be open to feedback for the sake of proving your company’s dedication to providing the best possible brand experience. You shouldn’t be afraid of constructive criticism as a means for continuous improvement. Provide value for customers before you ask them to listen to you or act for you. Be there for your clients by providing helpful resources, knowledge, and support. When brands take, take, take, without giving, it usually results in consumer avoidance.
These are all important for brand building. A strong brand maintains these core values across all mediums, in all contexts, and at all times. Why be dedicated to brand building? Branding helps a company in a multitude of ways. Click here to learn how branding translates to company success.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.