Do you know what your customers are saying about you behind your back? Understanding your brand from the client’s perspective is essential to effective brand management.
Many businesses believe that, because they create and deliver brand communications, that must be what your customers feel. In reality, what you’re saying about your brand is only part of it. You must think of your brand as a three-legged stool, made up of:
- What you say and do in the marketplace,
- What your competitors say and do in the marketplace, and
- Your customer’s evolving business environment.
It can be very easy to believe that you know what your customers think, but if you haven’t heard from an objective, third party source, you could be very surprised. Here are four questions you must answer about your brand:
- What are they saying behind your back? We would all like to believe that our customers are honest with us and that they will let us know when we’re running aground. There are two issues with that thinking. First, your customers are human beings, and, in general, people tend to avoid giving bad news. Second, it’s your brand, and it is not your client’s responsibility to manage it for you. You must take responsibility for managing your brand.
- How do you compare to your competition? Trust us; the answer is not always about price! How are you better and different from your competition and where do your competitors have the advantage? You don’t have to excel at everything – the point is to be distinctly better than your competitors at something that is important in your customers’ purchase decisions.
- What are your customers facing that might impact your brand? We all know that things change – frequently and quickly! How can your brand evolve and continue to meet the changing needs of people that purchase your product or service? Being able to innovate and adapt is a hallmark of great brands. After all, 88% of the companies on the Fortune 500 in 1955 are no longer there, and a good portion them because they missed critical opportunities to change with the times.
- Is your relationship sustainable? Especially for B2B companies, it is essential to expanding your brand relationships throughout your clients’ organizations. It is great to have long-term relationships with a customer, but where will you be when they move on or retire? What do other people in the organization think about your brand? How willing will they be to continue that brand relationship?
Can you answer those questions? More importantly, how do you think your customers might respond to these issues about your brand? If you don’t know, you need to conduct brand image research to get an honest and unbiased evaluation. Your brand can be a critical, strategic asset, but manage it, nurture it, and evolve it to stay relevant and compelling. And get the answers to these questions to make sure.