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Building your brand strength

Even during a period of disruption, it’s important to keep your brand alive by letting people know that your business is still around, albeit with a different or reduced offering.

While the value of having a digital presence is increasingly understood, the current change in the business environment means this is more relevant than ever. It could mean finally setting up your business Instagram or Facebook profile. Offering the perfect way to share updates on your products/services, or how you and your team are coping with new ways of working. Follow other businesses in your field to get a sense of what seems to be working and how you could do something similar. Be sure to include geotagging so potential customers know where you are, and have a think about which are the best hashtags to help people find you. Build your brand by sharing a variety of home-grown and other complementary content that helps reinforce your brand message and gives viewers get a real feel of who you are and what you stand for. For example, if you have a fruit and veg store, try posting photos of your delicious fresh produce, together with recipes for quick family meals and special treats – with an easy way to order all the ingredients online. Remember to talk to people in a way that shows your human side – “We know that getting kids to eat their greens can be tough, so try these hints and tips”.

Social media can help build a sense of shared ownership in your brand; growing your customer base and nurturing affinity among existing customers. Developing an online following might mean offering a range of different ways for your community to engage with your brand. For example, a small fitness centre could offer workouts online, a Facebook group where existing and new customers can share their goals and challenges and an Instagram account to post short messages of encouragement. Offering services in a different way – one that works in the current climate, but that will also be relevant when things go back to ‘normal’. This, along with positive messaging – “we’ll help you get through these difficult times” – will give customers a way to feel connected and develop the relationships they would if working out at the fitness centre. It’s all about providing people with positive solutions, not focusing on the negatives.

Another way to enhance the perceived value of your brand and develop a sense of community is to invite customers to get involved. By making a contribution, customers will feel they belong and be more likely to support your business, either through increased purchases or word of mouth recommendations. For example, a bookstore could invite people to post photos of their best-loved book, explaining why they enjoyed it so much. Using a unique hashtag the store could monitor the posts and comment on the most commonly loved books. By using this marketing technique, the bookstore is getting customers involved, raising awareness to potential new customers, and getting exposure for their product – books! It’s about providing extra value for customers, without being a pushy salesperson.

There are many options for your business, whether it’s simply sharing more information about your products or services, providing your offering through an online channel, or gaining word of mouth recommendations through building your brand profile. However, it’s also important to understand that not everyone may want your product or service during this period, or perhaps their wages have been reduced and they are cutting back on spending.

Now is not the time to turn your back on previous or potential customers, stay connected and you’ll be front of mind when they are ready to start buying again. Take a look at our Doing Business Differently blog series for some inspiration on how you can expand your online offering today.

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