Brand image is everything – all of the big companies recognize and abide by this statement. So, if the big companies convey subservience to brand image, where does it leave smaller companies? Smaller sized companies neither have the network nor the investment power of an established mid-sized company. Constructing a solid and dependable brand image then becomes all the more necessary for startups.
If you’re in charge of an online-startup, you might be confused about how you can create your own brand-image that will differentiate you from your many competitors. It is true that the online startup market space is highly saturated. However, this need not mean that you give up on trying to convey your online startup’s unique identity.
Your startup must have its own USP. All you need to do is use clever marketing to get across this USP to your audience by creating an impressive digital identity for your brand. How do you do this? You can utilize the brand image development, and popularity growth hacks discussed below.
How to Build a Reliable Brand Image
1. Offer a Referral Program
A referral program is a great way to get your audience interested in sharing information about your products and services. Many companies, both new and old, have used this method to generate plenty of positive word-of-mouth advertising for themselves without having to spend handsomely.
Startups need to be able to cultivate generous word-of-mouth publicity for themselves as they do not always have the budget to make use of more expensive advertising tools. Also, people rely more on reviews and opinions left by other customers who have used a certain product or service to influence their purchase decision than they depend on other ad media. Referral programs are one of the best means to win over this objective.
2. Provide Wholesome Content
What is wholesome content, you ask? Wholesome content is content that is not only original and value-laden but also content that makes you want to follow or lookup the content source. Relevant, good-quality content will engage your reader and encourage them to convert over.
Now, content can be of various types. Offer your audience with high-quality company/user/guest generated content. Each of them has its own value and appeal for the audience.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to craft your website and social media pages with a stellar “About Me” section. Your audience should be able to glean an insight into your larger brand identity from your about me page/section. It should inform them about your online startup’s origin, vision, interests, and so on. Provide photos and information about your core team, if possible.
Putting a human face to your online business will help your audience relate to your web-based business enterprise better.
3. Prioritize Customer Experience
Customer experience does not begin at the sales level. In fact, customer experience starts right from where your customer learns about and proceeds to explore the products and services your online startup offers.
You will want to provide your customers with a seamless and convenient experience every step of the way. For example, a user-friendly website or merchant page for your online startup will really help boost the initial customer experience your business provides.
You can invent products and services by addressing your existing customer’s pain points, and also establish a loyalty program to make them feel privileged, and much more. The idea is to make your customers feel valued. Once you’ve achieved this, you will be able to build a bond with your customers, which in turn, will build a ground for them to be loyal to your company.
4. Focus on Building Customer Trust
Customer trust-building will give your digital startup more gains than you could imagine. Sales will come easy when you’ve been able to gain your customer’s trust.
Firstly, give the best first impression you can. If you are boostrapping your startu by using virtual services, you can start with choosing one of the available premium virtual addresses; there is no better way to have your online startup headquartered in London, UK, for example.
Encourage and reward past customers for sharing reviews of products and services they’ve used. Invite social media influencers to endorse your online startup or promote products and services that you offer. Lastly, provide exceptional customer service. Your customers should find it easy to perceive your startup as an authentic and dependable brand.
When you’ve succeeded in garnering customer trust, your customers will feel little need to bring business to your rival brands.
5. Forge Local Partnerships
While you will want to be observed as a business that caters nationally and internationally, depending on your reach – forming local partnerships can really benefit your brand image. It will localize you and give you the kind of credibility only a neighborhood store can.
You can tie-up with a local enterprise and co-sponsor charitable events locally or even help organize local events. When a local community notices your online startup’s name or logo on the sponsor banner or event flier, they come to recognize you as one of their own.
Businesses can benefit immensely when they’ve managed to create this sense of ‘we-feeling’ with their audience.
6. Develop a Generous Returns Policy
Your customer should be able to enjoy returns, exchanges, and refunds on the products you offer. Most online startup businesses dealing in product sales are not able to convince prospective customers with their returns and refunds policy.
If you can maneuver around this problem area and reassure your audience that they can safely invest in your products without having to check-in losses, your online startup will most definitely be able to cement a positive brand image for itself.
Never forget to pay attention to the brand image you’ve created. While you might even find it easy enough to create a positive brand image and identity for your online startup, maintaining this positive brand image will pose to be a challenge sooner or later. However, it isn’t as much of an uphill task as it might sound.
You will be able to maintain good reputation among your customers as long as you devote yourself to providing a satisfying customer experience to them. Provide a steady stream of valuable content, a generous returns and refunds policy that they can enjoy, and from among the rest listed above, and you shall be able to achieve your goal most effectively.
Who knows, you might even succeed in becoming a proprietary eponym for the product or service you provide someday!