Your brand needs constant development. If you haven’t begun to discover your brand, you’re missing out on some incredibly helpful audience insights.
And surprisingly (well, maybe not so surprisingly), those insights are close at hand. Attaining insights about your brand takes on added significance when you realize the power doing so can have. People in charge of managing your brand must keep their finger on its pulse day in and day out. If not, competitors who do so will find inroads for bettering their position. Gaining an edge in branding often leads to gaining an edge in market share.
Leaders of companies and their brand managers have a challenge in front of them. But gaining important, helpful insights doesn’t have to be difficult. So where can these insights be found? Let’s look.
The first and most obvious place for unearthing brand insight is social media. Tracking your brand on social platforms – the ones your company use and the ones they don’t – is a must. Human nature being what it is, people often take to social media when they have a negative experience with a brand (read: any business – of any sort). The customer’s ire is up, and they need an outlet. Unfortunately, positive experiences don’t yield the same inspiration. Most people walk away from great customer experiences without feeling the need to post about them. (Darn shame.) But some do, and finding those can also turn into a branding edge. Reviewing customer postings on social media can be done by anyone in the company– from the top on down.
We’ve all read about mind-boggling, epic fails by companies on social media. Not having a social presence for your company is almost as bad. Some businesses may feel that being on social isn't important, or that they don't feel they have the tools or staff. That's a mistake, too, as prospects often turn to social media and research recommendations and businesses. And the SEO benefits of social media can’t be overstated.
Tracking the sentiment about your business on social media is not only critical for ensuring a response to customers but can offer helpful insights. You can pick up how customers perceive and use your products or service, which may result in ways to better them. Data like this is the kind of stuff that, in the pre-social media age, would only be available through surveys or focus groups. Additionally, tracking your business on social media can help you find mentions from influencers. You want to stay on top of that because social media influencers within a marketing segment often have many followers that regularly see what they have to say. A shoutout or mention from an important influencer can bring you more followers. A positive mention from a social media influencer legitimizes your company in the eyes of their followers. If an influencer had a poor experience with your business and posted about it, a fast and correct response is critical. Tread carefully. You can bet the exchange will go up on their feed.
Your Sales Staff
Your sales people and others on the front lines who deal with customers and prospects are a goldmine for brand insight. It’s their job to present and position your products and services to meet customer needs and solve their problems. As they communicate with customers and prospects, they'll hear unique ways your business has met those needs (or haven't) or understand what prospects were looking for and why they sought out your business.
Periodically ask your sales staff for such instances. Going over their responses, you’ll be able to see how your company was prepared to help them. It could have been with a product or through an exemplary instance of customer service. Several things can come of this. First, you can discover effective ad copy and ideas for tag lines. Your customers can often be the best source of ad copy. Second, you can learn different or undiscovered ways customers use your products are used. Discovering new benefits and uses can help gain new positioning, new customers, and boost market share. Third, you can better understand the meaning of your products to your customers and prospects, which helps you craft more meaningful messages to your target. And it's a great way of finding testimonials, too.
Do you employ phone staff? If so, call monitoring is a viable way to find insights about your brand. Customers and prospects without dedicated account managers that wish to learn more about your products and will be calling your phone reps. And you may already use call monitoring to assess the performance of those reps. Remember, those interactions affect your brand, too. Your reps must display proper etiquette and know customer expectations in addition to product knowledge.
Recording incoming calls has additional benefits, too. It’s these interactions that help you gauge customer sentiment about your brand and about what you offer. It may show you how much (or how little) the market knows about what your company. And you may also discover underserved or unserved markets to help gain an edge over your competition. Every incoming call is an opportunity to learn more about your customers. You may also pick up a nugget or two of branding gold. Don’t let this trove of information sit with just your customer service team.
Every Day Offers Opportunity
There are many opportunities for discovering elements of your brand that come into your business every day. Keep your eyes and ears open for them. Open up lines of communication between departments at all levels. Ask your staff to send along customer feedback, directly if possible. Each interaction your customers and prospects have with your business works not just to build up or diminish your brand but offers the opportunity for brand insight. Don't let them slip by unnoticed.