When it comes to building your brand, your logo and visual identity should not be your only focus. We’ve already examined the importance to your brand of the way you talk and the environment you create. In this post, we look at the way you behave.
A striking logo and a catchy brand message are quite often the things that catch a consumer’s eye when they first come across your brand.
But the truth is, the way your company behaves plays a far greater role in communicating your values than any of the visual elements associated with your business.
Brand behaviour not only compels people to buy, if you get it right, it creates loyalty, trust and a willingness for customers to not only by from you, but recommend you to their family, friends, colleagues and social media followers.
In the digital age, cultivating an army of brand advocates willing to share your values and message with the world at large, is powerful stuff indeed.
People’s experience of your brand isn’t limited to what they see or hear. In fact, although it may be the first point of contact, it can often be the least engaging experience they will have with your business.
That’s because building a brand isn’t just about a one-off interaction. The best brands are the ones which offer a memorable experience to their customers, which is determined by every single interaction they have with your brand.
This can include the price and quality of your product or service, the way your staff interact with your customers (and each other) or the design, layout and accessibility of your premises.
It all comes together in one big package, but it is your behaviour, as a business, that will define your brand, engage your customers and encourage them to do business with you.
So, make sure you’re behaving well.
Doing good = doing well
Consumers are taking an increasing interest in the practices of the companies they buy from, with almost half saying they have abandoned brands due to poor corporate behaviour.
A survey of 2,000 consumers published earlier this year found that half of those surveyed said they are willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause that is important to them, while 63% said that they believed brands have a responsibility to give back to society.
And 80% said that companies must take steps to minimise their impact on the environment.
Increasing awareness about issues of social importance in recent years means brands must make sure their message feels more authentic than ever before.
Innocent Drinks, for example, is a brand that lives by its green and socially responsible credentials.
All its ingredients are sustainably sourced and every year, it encourages tens of thousands of customers to knit hats which sit on top of its bottled drinks.
For every bottle with a hat sold, the company donates 25p to charity.
It’s a simple concept, but not only does it showcase the company’s CSR credentials, but also engages its customers in doing something good.
Living your values
Everyone within your business has a role to play in creating your brand experience. It doesn’t matter if they are customer-facing or back office, everyone, from the MD to the cleaner, has a part to play.
The challenge is ensuring that your behaviour is consistent, in every role and every department.
The first step to achieving this is by clearly defining your brand – developing a clear understanding of your mission, your vision and your values, which everyone in your business not only understands, but buys into.
As a business, you need to be able to translate that purpose, and those values, from being simply a collection of words and ideas into the attitudes and activities that will determine your brand behaviour.
Consistent behaviour, which reflects your business values, is one of the most important aspects of a successful brand.
As a business, fully understanding your offer and behaving internally and externally in a consistent manner cultivates loyalty from both colleagues and customers.
So ask yourself, if you were looking at your business through your customers’ eyes, what would you see?