Building A Brand Experience
Contributed by Erika Hill, Visual Merchandiser at Store Supply Warehouse
The word “branding” is a catchy one in the retail world. From huge fashion conglomerates to small boutique businesses, a well-crafted identity can help a customer recognize and choose your store over another. Often, the word “branding” brings up notions of logos, colors, and design. However, branding refers to so much more.
So what’s the real definition of a brand? It’s actually the entire spectrum of expectations your shoppers have that help them choose to shop at your store. It’s important to stay true to your brand because according to industry-specific experts the Rand Group, “without brand consistency, customers will lose sight of the message you are trying to portray and vital trust in your business.”
Brand Identity And Consistency
Besides the visual elements, your brand identity includes your message, tone, and even customers’ overall feelings toward your business. Once again, consistency is key because any misstep can cause a disconnect between what someone expects from you versus what they’re experiencing.
For example, if one of your pride points is how your customer service sets you apart from other retailers, shoppers are probably expecting hassle-free returns, quick answers to problems, and fast refunds. If you don’t deliver on the promise of excellent customer service, your brand experience will ultimately pay the price. However, getting it right and even exceeding expectations will most likely result in lifelong customers.
Keeping a consistent look and feel toward everything you do doesn’t have to be complicated. Establish a set of brand guidelines to serve as a reference point for every single employee. In this document, detail all of the fonts, layout styles, custom items, sizes, color palettes, logo styles, name variations, and even taglines your business will use. It’s also the place you’ll answer important questions like what your company stands for and what your company means to shoppers.
Your tone and word choices need to be just as seamless as your business’s design. The easiest way to keep your branding congruent word-wise is to be yourself; however, it’s also helpful to detail any core messaging traits in your handy set of brand guidelines. Doing so will help you echo the same writing style on any online or print materials such as emails, business cards, campaigns, invoices, signage, and ads. Whenever someone interacts with your brand, whether it’s reading a post on social media, visiting your website, or even calling your store, the messaging should align with what you’ve already established.
Follow Through And Stay Curious
A consistent brand experience can only happen when everyone is driven to create the same amazing customer experience every single time. Customers expect the same service they experienced the last time they shopped with you; anything less can cause frustration and confusion. Not only does this harm brand consistency, it might urge customers to take their business elsewhere.
When everyone in your organization understands the core of your brand, you’ll gain the flexibility to grow. Plus, as you successfully build your business, you’ll develop a higher position within your industry. Stick with what you’ve spelled out in your brand guidelines and your competition will find it hard to lure your customers away.
Always look for new ways to enhance what your company stands for, but don’t forget to track your performance. As you measure your strengths, continue to explore why your customers trust you, what they turn to your business for, and how you can continue to create positive associations with current and potential customers.
Let’s say your business focuses on one-of-a-kind jewelry. You might want to seek out partnerships with experts who would be willing to host creative workshops about the basics of jewelry making. This not only strengthens your brand as one that encourages originality, but also helps position you as a knowledgeable leader among your competition.
Contributed by Erika Hill, Visual Merchandiser at Store Supply Warehouse, which offers store fixtures and supplies to independent retailers across the country. They offer free store design services, custom products, and unbeatable customer service with the lowest prices guaranteed! Build the store of your dreams at StoreSupply.com. For a free store design consultation with Erika please contact 1-314-292-5909 or by email at email@example.com.