A strong brand can mean the difference between winning a sale or losing it, commanding a premium price or selling at a discount. While this has been proven time and again through research, many executives (maybe you?) still question the value of branding, especially at budget time.
Building brand equity takes a long-term commitment and consistent investments in intangibles like relationships and awareness. Because influence, affinity and advocacy can seem ethereal, it’s easier to allocate scarce financial resources to new equipment, facilities, hiring or technology.
Brand love is not something you can touch, hold or easily measure, but it does pay dividends just the same. Brand influence can differentiate your business from a host of competitors. The more passionate customers are about your brand, the greater the value gap between your business and others.
If you’re not sure how to know when customers love your brand, here are 5 telltale signs:
5 signs of brand love
Your most passionate brand advocates…
Tell all their friends about you. They’re vocal ambassadors for your brand, spreading the word because they want their friends and associates to share in the great experience of doing business with your company. Think of the last time you had a great meal at a new restaurant or played a spectacular golf course. Did you keep it to yourself, or share?
Want more of a good thing. When people trust your brand and enjoy the customer experience, and they look forward to the opportunity to connect again and again. The se customers eagerly anticipate the introduction of new products and services, like fans lining up to buy the latest product from Apple or a hot new game release.
Overlook your shortcomings. Every relationship has flaws and it’s inevitable that eventually there will be misunderstandings or a miscommunication. This might spell the end of a customer relationship for a companies with a weak brands or poor reputation. When you have passionate fans, small errors or missteps are forgiven. In fact, if you recover well, they’ll love you even more.
Look forward to a future together. Like lifelong fans of pro sports teams, customers who love and trust a brand anticipate a long-term relationship. Even if they don’t know what’s coming next, they have faith that from season to season or version to version, you’ll deliver on your commitment to meet their needs and expectations.
Make sacrifices to be with you. Committed brand advocates look purchased from your company as an investment. They will save up their money, giving up other things to do business with you – even if it costs more. They don’t mind stretching a bit to realize the benefits, and their advise others to do the same.
All these things points to some real bottom line benefits. You can measure brand value when it translates into:
Reduced customer churn
Shorter sales cycles and more efficient forecasting
Premium pricing and improved margins
Higher customer lifetime value
Waiting lists for new product releases
Improved marketing ROI
I could add many more items to this list but instead, I’ll challenge to you the think of your own. How does having a powerful, cohesive brand improve your business? Are you enjoying the benefits of passionate customer advocates?
Joey Sargent, principal of BrandSprout Advisors [http://www.brandsproutadvisors.com/], is a strategic consultant helping organizations maximize their market impact. Joey’s fresh perspectives and keen insights merge traditional marketing with digital strategies to build brand awareness, engage customers and increase market share.
Drawing on 20 years of global leadership experience in branding, strategy and communications, Joey merges traditional marketing with digital strategies for optimal growth and enhanced ROI. She has worked with companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 500, including UPS, PGI and BellSouth (now AT&T).