January 7, 2019 9:05:56 AM EST

How to Become Your Customer’s Go-To Brand

When it comes to your product or service, is your company the first one your customers think about? If not, why? How can you increase your market share and become the go-to brand to solve your customers’ pain points?

Think about the brands you love. Why are they your favorites? You might not know because it’s so ingrained in your routine. You just know it is. For many Pittsburghers, Heinz is the only ketchup brand we’ll even consider. Most of us have brands they won’t walk away from, and this loyalty can often outlast even an inferior product.

So, how do you inspire that kind of loyalty from your customers? (Ideally without an inferior product, of course) What makes your customers love your brand, as well as your product?

A Go-To Brand is Simple

A simple, easy name with a clear and concise message makes a big impact on brand love. Some of the most popular brands out there consist of, or are known by, one-word names: Amazon, Coke, Google, Apple, Lego, Disney. They have grown into iconic names that symbolize the top of their respective markets.

With each of these names, you know exactly what it’s referring to, and they evoke a certain feeling or assumption about the product they represent. Each carries a core unspoken message that resonates with consumers.

Along with simple names come simple messages, slogans and descriptions. Take Amazon for example. The online retail giant can get you almost anything you need, quickly, simply and without having to leave your home. Remember their slogan “A to Z and Done?” While that particular ad campaign is over, remnants of it remain in the company logo and the satisfaction customers have come to expect. Another great example is Lego. The toy company has successfully marketed the same (more or less) product for over 80 years. The name is iconic, but so is the messaging, relying simple slogans like “Just Imagine” and “Play On.”

What single and simple message does your brand relay to your customer? How hard does a new customer have to think to understand what your brand is? This doesn’t have to narrow the scope of your business, you can still do or sell many different products and services. It’s the way to present these products or services that can make or break you.

Consistency Leads to Better Market Share

Once you’ve decided on a simple message, you need to make that feeling consistent. This means your brand name, product, logo and marketing efforts should all illicit a consistent, emotional reaction from your customers. Your brand needs a message and you need to stick to it.

Many companies have different departments, teams, managers and agencies who work on their marketing and/or branding efforts. With so many fingers in the pot, it can be difficult to ensure everyone stays on the same page and on-brand. This is also true for the various content you produce. Does your email outreach carry the same messaging as your web ads? Do blog echo and reaffirm your company mission? Ultimately, is the core messaging about your brand the same across all platforms and the departments that oversee them? You need to show customers who you are over and over again, allowing them to familiarize themselves.

The message and thus emotional reaction should be consistent. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever change your logo, tagline or advertising style. You can grow who you are. But the message still needs to be consistent, and it needs to align with your core values.

Authenticity Creates a Leading Brand or Service

Once you have a simple and consistent brand message, you need to make sure it remains authentic. You’ve told customers who you are, but you have to BE that brand. A customer needs to trust that every time they patronize your company they are going to get a similar, if not better, result.

This is particularly important for companies with multiple locations or both a brick-and-mortar and online presence. If you have a shop in New Jersey and a shop in New Mexico, a customer should be able to walk into both and get the same treatment, brand and message. Your brand has to align with your operations and employees. The same goes for online experiences. Physical locations should harmonize with your digital efforts.

This requires cross functional buy-in of the brand and message. It’s not enough just to create it and disseminate it. You have to assure that everyone from top to bottom understands and embodies it for it to be authentic. The phrase “we eat our own dog food” pops up a lot in this regard. Your company has to be willing to stand behind its product or service. Think of it like this: Would you use your own company’s brand?

Your brand needs to be part of your company culture. Your employees need to be brand loyal for your customers to follow suit. Forbes has an excellent article about the importance of company culture on brand loyalty here.

Just as you have to be consistent with the customer, you need to do this with employees. They need to be told the brand and message consistently. They need to understand it and what it means for the company. The brand needs to be integrated into the business. Not printed on a poster and hung on the wall. It needs to be a part of day to day operations.

Need Help Becoming a Go-To Brand?

Connect with Aspirant for more information and advice on becoming the go-to brand your customers need.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.