The rapid advancement in technology within the retail industry has seemingly erased every concrete concept of what makes a brand a brand, allowing just about anyone with a vision and a little bit of money to be able to start their own. With that being said, the over saturation of brands has only fueled the fast fashion production. Trends are cycling in and out faster than ever, and the consumers are now grasping the realization of the how hollow the structures are of some of the products and brands they are purchasing from.
A conscious consumer’s mindset goes far beyond the price tag. Social media has leveraged higher visibility and reach for brands, but has also morphed them into glass fish bowls. Every picture, post, and share will reflect the overall concept behind the company. The staggering feeling of your brand becoming a branch off of personal identity can be intimidating, but here are some simple concepts to stay on an authentic track while growing a successful brand in today’s consumer culture.
UNDERSTAND WHO YOU ARE
In just a decade prior, companies were solely owned and run by shareholders and powerhouses. Now brands function more intimately while owned by employees and business leaders that are close to the consumer and daily work functions. Understanding that even though this fine line between oneself and business may be exhausting, it can lead to a very clear representation of what the business stands for.
Brands have had the word “purpose” thrown at them constantly, leaving some struggle to identify that one BIG overall idea. The real secret is there can, and should, be multiple purposes behind the brand. It doesn’t necessarily need to be singular. Have an overall vision clearly displayed to your audience on all platforms is crucial, yes, but it’s also important to find purpose in the quality of your product, the productiveness of shipping, great customer service, and much more that has all the intention to make the consumer happy. Every word in your purpose that you articulate should be matched by action.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CONSUMER
The passion behind your brand is undeniably important but shouldn’t overshadow the needs of the demographic. Spamming the audience’s Facebook or Instagram with singular product ads doesn’t do the trick anymore. The competition amongst similar brands doing the same thing will undoubtedly defeat the optimization that you’re looking for.
Currently Google is experimenting with search by meaning instead of by term. Taking this into retrospect with the retail industry and outreach marketing, brands should consider more than just the terms to connect with the correct demographic. For instance, take into consideration the culture, activities, and values within a certain region. Promote a similar picture through your social media profiles if they compliment the brand. Overall, show that the brand cares about the inner values of the consumer’s every day lifestyle. The goal is to be authentic and genuine, but not too inclusive so there’s room for target expansion once a solid foundation is achieved.
UNDERSTAND HOW TO STAND OUT
The effectiveness of standing out as a brand is a relatively simple notion but is becoming increasingly hard to do. Besides the obvious competition from other brands, the overwhelming amount of individuals fighting for a personal presence on social media can dilute brand identity on those platforms. So where do you go from here?
Being raw and transparent will always be a winner. Content doesn’t necessarily need to be “created” all the time. It can also be the documentation of a process. Be upfront with your loyal followers about the struggles and achievements along the journey. This will show that there are in fact real humans behind the working operations of your brand. Being open will also build that bridge of trust with new followers.
Lastly, be creative. Always look for opportunities to collaborate with other complimentary companies, partner with relative influencers, and above all engage with your audience. A sure way to grab the audience’s attention is through imagery and interaction.
Jonas De Cooman is Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Spott.ai, a content marketing SaaS platform that allows users to make any content (pictures and videos) interactive, enriched and shoppable. By processing it once, it becomes interactive across all platforms: your own websites, social media channels, third party websites, interactive video player platforms and even physical assets, such as paper magazines and boarding. The Spott.ai dashboard benchmarks performance of every unit of content on all platforms based on views, clicks and baskets. User profiling is available on request.