September 26, 2014
Branding Out: 4 Strategies for Perception Management
Business leaders take heed: If you’re in business, you’re always in the business of managing your professional brand. Brand is the perception that others haveÂ of you (your company, services, or products). The caveat, however, is that brand perception resides with consumers, not business owners. Thus, your goal is to intentionally develop consumer perception by getting clear on how brands are created, evaluated, and selected, which is a combination of both functional and emotional experiences.
Want to effectively develop consumer perception? Review these four strategies and manage your brand with ease:
Establish a rock-solid brand platform. A brand’s platform is the foundation for its long-term success. There are numerous factors to consider when establishing yours, including brand identity. However, the key areas of focus are: impression, interaction, responsiveness, and resilience, shares the Guardian. Don’t skimp on these. Understand how your brand fits into the marketplace and is uniquely positioned to deliver value. ConsumersÂ become accustomedÂ to output over time, so deliver excellence and consistency from the outset.Â Once your brand is compromisedÂ by mediocrity, it’ll beÂ difficult to challenge perceptions. Remember that.
Brand early. DeviseÂ a clear branding strategy prior to your debut.Â This will help educate consumers and dramatically impact perception.Â Don’t riskÂ becoming a “fungible” brand. Differentiate and purposefully carve out your brandÂ real estate.Â Clarity is power–brand power. Be crystal clear on what makes your brand unique. Then, readily showcase those elements in the marketplace. The goal is for consumers to become so familiar with your brand thatÂ it can easily be recognized and distinguished from anything “similarly situatedâ€ in the market.
Brand often. Brand maintenance is critical to preserving the look, feel, and experience of your brand. It’s sort of like cleaning house. You can’t do it once and expect it to “stayâ€ that way, right? Upkeep is absolutely essential. Regularly saturate the market with the elements of your brand, which include identity marketing, messaging, social media engagement and opportunities to interact face-to-face with consumers. Think you’re beating a dead horse? It’s just the opposite.Â Frequency seals the deal.
Rebrand if necessary. Sometimes a brand overhaul is required. Changes in an industry, economy, or business micro-climate can affect a brand’s ability to survive. Adaptability offers possibilities. Tweaking a few signature elements may breathe new life into an otherwise archaic brand and help you stay relevant, competitive, and thrive.
Remember that professional branding is an art and science. Use these strategies to impact perception and manage your brand with ease.
To your success!
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, WordSmithRapport.com.