Ralph Waldo Emerson once described consistency as “the hobgoblin of little minds.” When it comes to your company’s brand, however, consistency is the key to building an identity that inspires trust and loyalty in your channel customers. And when you consider that 91% of customers that switch brands never return, according to consulting firm Lee Resources International, trust and loyalty should be right at the top of your list of priorities.
When you have a strong, consistent brand:
- Your customers—both solution providers and end users—can easily understand what differentiates your company from competitors.
- You create a positive image of your company and what it stands for in your customers’ minds.
- Communication becomes clearer and simpler because you have an established identity and message to work from.
A strong brand also increases the chances that your customers will recommend your solutions to others. If you’re wondering just how effective word of mouth can be, social software maker Lithium Technologies reports that 92% of customers trust recommendations more than any other form of advertising. Turn your customers into fans, and they’ll promote your company’s products and services for you.
Your brand is more than your logo.
Even if your logo is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh or the Starbucks mermaid, it’s still only part of your brand. Your brand isn’t just what you sell, but also your culture, the way you serve your partners, and the place you occupy as a corporate citizen within your community. It reflects your company’s unique personality and is something your customers should relate to.
Your brand also creates clear expectations for your customers, which is why you need to live it in every action you take. If part of your brand promise is dedication to customer service, but your customers’ calls and emails go unreturned for days, you’ll create a disconnect that will lead people to view your company as fake and untrustworthy.
Process makes perfect.
Now that we’ve established the importance of a strong brand, what steps can you take to ensure that yours is all it should be?
- Adopt an investment mindset—Instead of looking at branding as an expense, consider it an investment in your business’ success. A strong brand not only builds customer relationships, it also makes your sales process more productive, leading to higher profits. It’s an intangible fixed asset of your company and should be treated as such.
- Develop your story—Talk to your customers, your associates and your shareholders. What do they think makes your company unique? Why do they choose to work for you or do business with you? You may be surprised by their insights.
- Evangelize your brand internally—Asking associates for input is a good start, but don’t stop there. Get them engaged and enthusiastic, and create an ongoing education program so you don’t lose the momentum when new hires come on board. Even associates who aren’t on the marketing team are still making marketing choices every time they speak to channel partners, so it’s important for everyone to be on the same page.
- Execute it consistently—There’s that word again. Once you’ve established your message, make sure you’re communicating it the same way at every touch point—in your advertising, your elevator speech, your presentations, your sales scripts, your email signatures. It can be a challenge, particularly in very large companies with multiple teams working on different initiatives, but if you pull it off, the benefits are enormous.
- Stick to it—In this fast-moving world, it’s tempting to change up your marketing frequently in hopes of capturing attention, but don’t give in. Customers will learn to recognize your brand faster if you commit to a single channel message and set of creative elements that you’ve chosen with a brand-savvy partner like Agency Ingram Micro.
Whether your brand is well established or still developing, Agency Ingram Micro can help you tell your story and realize the promise of technology for your channel partners.