Building brand image is a demanding, time-consuming, and usually expensive, which is why owners of small B2C companies don’t put it at the top of their business growth strategy. They believe that dealing with some other, seemingly more important, factors such as improving their products or services, or making them more reliable and cost-effective should come first, but the truth is that they should work on all these things simultaneously. We shouldn’t forget that brand image is a set of associations, beliefs, and impressions customers have about a particular brand, and all these factors subconsciously weigh in when it comes to making a purchasing decision. Small B2C companies can significantly benefit from a strong, distinctive brand image, as it will help them stand out in the crowd of competitors and win their customers’ hearts (and wallets).
The benefits of a strong brand image
In the B2B world, every decision is the result of a careful and detailed analysis. However, it can’t be denied that some other mechanisms are at work too. A research study has shown that as much as 95% of our purchase decision-making happens in the depths of the subconscious mind. Even a detail such as branding colors can influence a purchasing decision, and it’s not a coincidence that some of the most influential financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, or Goldman Sachs chose blue as their brand color – it expresses trust, reliability, and competence. Even though a brand image is much more than just a logo, brand colors, or fancy fonts, having a well-designed, consistent visual identity is a must. It’s always a better idea to hire a professional graphic design firm that will take care of these crucial tasks regarding the strength of your visual identity. Here are some of the most important benefits of establishing and maintaining a healthy brand image.
Brand recognition. Small B2C companies can’t survive without creating brand recognition as customers are more likely to select a brand they’re familiar with than a company they have never heard of. In other words, customer acquisition heavily relies on brand recognition, and a strong brand image plays a key role in this process.
Customer loyalty. Keeping an existing customer is maybe even more important than acquiring a new one, not to mention that it costs between 5 and 25 times less. If we bear in mind that 15% of a company’s most loyal customers are responsible for 55-70% of its total sales, it’s clear that investing efforts and money into building a strong brand image pays off through a steady stream of regular customers.
Pricing power. Strong brands have the power of commanding higher prices because their loyal customers perceive them as better than their competitors, which is why they’re willing to pay more even if they can get a similar (or almost identical) and more affordable product.
New products. Once a brand image is cemented in the minds of the customers, it’s much easier to launch a new product as it will be offered to a loyal customer base that will cordially accept it.
Emotional value. Distinguished brands convey emotional value, and customers forge a healthy relationship with them, which is how the subconscious decision-making in favor of those brands is set in motion.
How to build a strong brand image?
Now that we’ve explained the impact of a strong brand image let’s discuss how to build and maintain it, since this whole concept goes way beyond visible and tangible factors, it takes time and patience to build it. It’s essential to use all available strategies, including traditional marketing tactics. A comprehensive and consistent approach is the key to success.
Build a great website. B2C companies need a well-designed, intuitive, usable website that can be easily navigated. Their customers are millenials, mothers, fathers, and busy professionals with high expectations, which means that poor website architecture and the load speed can be huge deal breakers. First impressions are the most lasting, and a functional, visually appealing website positively affects user experience, and subsequently improves brand image.
Leverage social media. There are 3 billion social media users in the world, and promoting a B2C business on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram is crucial for boosting brand awareness and expanding its reach. Consistent and regular social media presence shows customers that a business is serious, trustworthy, and credible. Apart from that, these platforms are excellent PR, customer support, and communication tools, as they enable a direct connection between companies and customers. Many small businesses are afraid of negative feedback and they even delete some unfavorable comments on social media channels, but even such situations can be used for building a strong brand image. By responding to an unhappy customer in a friendly and helpful manner, and promising to deal with the issue they encountered and sort it out, companies can score some important points and show that they care about customer satisfaction.
Produce helpful content. Blogs, vlogs, and social media channels should be filled with unique, high-quality content which addresses some of the target audience’s pain points and offers effective and efficient solutions. Informative and entertaining content keeps customers engaged and helps a company position as an industry leader.
Use social proof. Customer reviews and testimonials can do wonders for building a strong brand image, but only if they’re genuine and sincere. A survey has shown that 89% of marketers consider testimonials as the most effective content marketing tactics. Customers are more likely to trust each other than brands, so recruiting brand ambassadors among them is one of the best branding and marketing moves.
Small B2C businesses operate in a highly competitive market, and a strong brand image can be a make-it-or-break-it factor for their success.