When you’re calculating all your brand assets, do you consider your brand equity as one of them? Your equity can be a powerful asset, or it can drag you down. Thriving in the digital age requires knowing where your brand equity stands and how to grow it online.
What Is Brand Equity?
The equity of your brand is made up of everything consumers feel when they see your logo, use your product, and hear or read your name. It’s made up of tangible things, like the quality of your product and your customer service interactions. It’s also made up of intangible things, like the emotions people have about their experiences with you and the feeling they get when they think about you.
What Strong Equity Can Do
Strong equity for your brand allows you to charge premium prices, weather the occasional slip-up in customer service or product manufacturing, reach your marketing goals at a lower cost, and even rent out your name.
Consider the Polaroid brand. Despite going bankrupt in 2001 (and then again in 2008), the name still gets licensed out because their brand equity is so valuable.
What Poor Equity Can Do
If no one knows your brand, or worse, they have a bad feeling about it, you will face an uphill climb just to stay afloat. You can’t charge as much as your competitors because consumers don’t trust you, and you’re constantly putting out fires and reacting instead of innovating and growing.
4 Ways to Grow Brand Equity Online
The online world is where everyone goes to talk, get advice, and find reviews. The modern person trusts online reviews as much as previous generations trusted recommendations from family and friends. The online space is where you grow your equity most quickly.
1. Be Consistent
Your brand needs to be sending the same message no matter where people encounter it online. Here’s how to achieve consistency:
Your brand’s core values define everything else, from your logo to your goals. Your values have to be more specific than simply “be nice to customers.” This doesn’t set you apart. Your values are about the unique connection you have with your customers, and you can often find these by considering negative examples.
Say you visited a restaurant and found it gaudy and impersonal, and you hated the experience of dining there. Take a moment to consider why. You probably didn’t like the experience because it made you feel disconnected and valued only as a dollar sign. When you build your own restaurant, then, you might make one of the values “homey,” to reflect how you want customers to feel welcome, warmed, and uniquely cared about.
You convey a certain tone every time you speak online. Your website speaks on your behalf, and the words, designs, and even colors you choose say something about you. Your tweets, Facebook updates, and any other social media posting you do must convey the same message about who you are.
Consider Wendy’s tweets. The restaurant’s official Twitter account has achieved semi-legendary status among millennials for its acerbic wit and no-holds-barred sparring with the competition. Older generations recognize this as consistent with Wendy’s brand message from as far back as the 70s, when their Where’s the Beef? and Fast-Food Wars TV commercials had precisely the same tone. That’s a consistent brand message.
Your logo has to be the same on your Facebook page as it is on your website or your Google Business page. If your logo is large, create a smaller version with the same colors and styling to use next to your Twitter handle or any other place where your larger version is too big to show up clearly. When you update your logo, don’t forget to update it across the digital space.
You Contact Info
This might sound simple, but it’s harder than it looks. If you haven’t claimed your Google Business page and aren’t keeping it up-to-date, it could say virtually anything; and anyone can change it! If your website, your Facebook page, and your Google business page all give different hours or a different telephone number, you’re not creating trust.
2. Tell a Story
The medium is the message, and the online world is about stories and emotional connections. To build your brand online, take advantage of this medium and give people what they want: a way to connect with you. When you do, you come across as transparent and trustworthy.
The many online media platforms people use today all offer different ways to connect. Some are all about powerful photos. Others are about concise, clear messages expressed in words. And most important of all as we move into 2020, most are embracing videos.
Video promotes brand awareness more than any other medium, and the video marketing realm is growing exponentially. That means your customers expect to see you there. Video claims nearly 80% of web traffic, and embedded videos on website landing pages have been shown to bump up conversion rates by 80%. But video is far more than just getting clicks. It’s also about telling your story in a way that resonates with consumers.
Create a Story that Resonates
Video, tweets, and pictures are all important, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw anything out there into the digi-verse and expect results. Quality trumps quantity every time, and a quality story resonates with consumers.
Your story must grab interest, position your brand as the hero (but without being too obvious), show how the hero (you) can save the day for the customer by solving a problem, and express something of your company’s values and ideals.
3. Create an Experience
Doing business with you should be an experience people enjoy. The temptation for companies in the digital space is to focus so hard on the numbers that consumers become nothing more than a bump in a bar graph or a tweak to an algorithm. People are smart enough to realize this and will resent you for it.
To create a great online experience, make it easy for customers to reach you. Whether they send an email, pull up a chat box on your website, or interact with you on social media, they should be able to reach a real person easily and get a fast response to their questions and concerns.
Don’t Hide Behind Sign-Up Boxes
Too many brands make the mistake of trying to force customers to give up all their information before they’ve offered anything in return. While it’s important to have clear calls to action and get customers to give their email or other contact info if you can, you can’t expect to get that info for nothing.
If you make it impossible for people to find out even the most basics things about what you offer and what you charge without making too great a commitment, they’ll have a poor experience and will click away quickly.
You probably know how important it is to keep on top of online reviews, but building equity is more than just managing reviews. It’s about showing that you’re listening.
Don’t respond only to the negative reviews. Get out there and thank your positive reviewers as well. When you do get a negative review, don’t overreact. If at all possible, find a way to resolve the issue. You may be able to turn a negative review into a positive one, but if not, at least you’ll show everyone else that you care about what people think.
When customers make suggestions online about how to improve your service or products, listen. If you decide to make a change, let them know. Release a “we heard you!” social media post, put up a response to a comment, or even send an email to let people know they’ve been heard.
Is Your Online Equity What It Should Be?
Building online brand equity can’t be done overnight. It takes dedication, knowledge of the space as well as of your brand, and consistent effort. It’s a big job to tackle alone, so talk to your Evolve One Media strategist today and get the help you need to build strong brand equity get people talking, and taking action, in a positive way.