When approaching a brand, customers connect not only with the offered product or service, but also place value on intangible aspects like the personality and reliability of a company. In other words, the idea of a brand is of importance.
This universal truth isn’t sufficiently established through science, but the general tendency of human nature allows it. Many companies may offer products or services of the same quality. It is the influence of the brand and its strengthened relationship with the customers that play a deciding role in the decision-making journey.
This white paper explores the direct relationship between brand influence and a profitable business. As a bonus, this paper studies examples of leading companies in the world and their best practices to encourage better strategies.
Introduction: The importance of a positive brand influence
Which brand seems the most engaging and trustworthy to a person?
The answer to this question varies widely based on the preferences and nature of the respondent. Each of the names answered by people will always have one thing in common their positive brand influence.
What is a brand influence?
The identity of a brand goes far beyond its logo and business name. Every company carries the reputation it has established among clients over some time. In the journey from registering a new business to selling its first product, a company becomes a personified entity. It starts with living like a human with a reputation, attitude, meaning, and personality.
The dictionary definition of “influence” is the ability to persuade the actions or character of an individual. When brand influence is taken into account, the brand can influence people’s decisions and behaviors. This measurable unit of influence allows people to identify and relate to a brand, and trust its offerings. With this increasing number of loyal customers, companies are able to earn considerable and growing revenue over the years.
Brand influence can be of two types:
Positive brand influence: Companies with a positive brand influence have earned a strong reputation of trust and excellent quality among their target audience. These companies have the ability to increase the price of their goods and services by a small margin without affecting their customer base because people highly value quality and reliability. However grand a success in gaining a positive influence seems, the actual task lies in maintaining it. With a good brand management team and regular monitoring, we can supervise and control our brand narrative on the internet.
Negative brand influence: A negative brand influence translates to an unfavorable reputation for a company. Clients and customers sway in different directions towards other competitors, ultimately leading to a downfall in the revenue numbers. Some of the reasons for such a reputation are poor customer service, lack of interaction between the company and customers/clients, and displeasing after-sales service. The best way to combat a negative brand influence is by collaborating with an experienced media management company.
The history of brand influence
Although the inception of the concept of branding is traced back to the 16th century, a study proves it to be as old as human civilization. About 4,000 years ago, the traditional practice of marking by burning (using a hot branding iron) was rampant. This prevented the stealing of cattle and other domesticated animals in small towns and villages.
Over the years, this practice of marking started using technology in the form of digital logos and stamps. It has grown to become the brand influence of companies worldwide.
Initially, products like oil, cosmetics, wine, and sauces used branding. Over the years, the scope of branding has grown to reach services like medical, legal, and technical. Any company in the world is recognized by its local or international brand influence.
What is Co-Branding?
Co-branding doesn’t carry the same history as branding. As the name suggests, it includes two companies or entities that come together to promote each other. If my company promotes another company’s services on its social media and websites, and that company does the same for me, we are practicing co-branding. Through this, every company reaches a wider audience in a short period of time. An example of this could be a beauty company partnering with beauty influencers for better reach.
The benefits of developing a positive brand influence
Companies in every industry can develop a positive brand influence to their benefit. Listed below are some striking advantages of having a positive brand influence in the market.
Impact on customer behavior: Let’s consider an example. If a friend comes around and asks, “Do you know what chips are?” and the crispiness of the chips and their salty flavor hit my imagination – it is called “brand awareness” regarding chips. However, if I am asked to purchase a packet of chips from a nearby store, my willingness to buy the chips based on their crispiness and flavor reflects the ‘brand influence.’ Ultimately, a positive brand influence persuades customers to change their purchasing behavior.
Loyalty: It is in human nature to be reluctant to change. Customers want to stick to a brand for as long as they can. When a customer starts recognizing our products, they will keep coming back for more if the quality meets their expectations. Brand loyalty is the most important driver of success for any company in the world.
Uniqueness: Thousands of companies are always in cutthroat competition in any industry. Whether a fresh startup or an established brand, positive branding is our only shot at cutting through the crowd. When customers easily differentiate our services and products in the market, then it is undeniable that our company is already one step ahead of the competitors. The next step is to establish a good relationship with the customers through positive brand influence.
Talented staff and increased funding: Companies with a good reputation among customers find themselves in the good books of their clients and staff as well. Investors are attracted by the offerings of the company and the diligence of its team. Through this, we can raise a significant amount in the next round of funding, whenever it may be. Similarly, a company that reflects consistency in terms of profits and quality attracts the best talent out there in the market. This will help us offer improved products and services in the future.
How to become an expert in creating a positive brand influence?
To become an expert in positive branding, we must know about its basic aspects before anything else. They are:
✅ Brand Name
✅ Design (logo, website themes, colors, background images)
✅ Social Media Accounts
✅ Company Values
✅ Company Culture
✅ Product Pricing
✅ Product Quality
✅ Customer Service
In its rawest form, our brand influence carries our company’s values, communication, and relationship with its customers. Let’s take a look at the following steps to get started with the process of creating a positive brand influence.
Check our values: Values form the core of any branding process. We must start by contemplating our company, its services, and the message we wish to send out to the world. This will channel our energy in the direction of deciding the values that we stand on. This must be made into a group activity by involving the people connected to the growth of the company. We need to take their input and align our brand name, tagline, slogans, web design, and social media pages based on our shared values and concept.
To understand ourselves and our customers: We need to start by defining our niche. A company like Coca-Cola would only focus its attention on selling its products to people who like soft drinks. A brand can only be successful if it knows its target audience well. Targeting every type of person will burn out our money, time, and other resources without generating any substantial benefit.
Start attending conferences: One of the best ways to promote our brand online and offline is by attending events like conferences. As panel members of any conference, we would get the experience of talking about the topics concerning our business, with others in the industry. While providing us with the advantages of expert opinions, it will also promote our brand among the existing audience. The people in the audience could be our future investors or customers.
Increase our social media exposure: Social media is one of the most rewarding channels of marketing in today’s world. It promotes our services across continents, even at locations where our brand does not have a brick-and-mortar presence. We need to get the word about our business out. We can record our thoughts, capture behind-the-scenes work images, and communicate with our audience to create a positive relationship with them.
Focus on developing a positive work culture: A positive work culture is the foundation of any company’s growth. It is the staff members that get us going in the world of tough competition. We must strive to make our staff feel comfortable and valued. We must appreciate their efforts and positively encourage them to do their best.
Provide experience: Our customers need more than just the products or services we offer. They desire to be a part of our company and experience the process that we go through. A good example of this would be the Parle G biscuit company. They arrange for one-on-one experience for their customers by allowing them to visit their factories. Customers form a sense of deeper connection with the brand if they know about the way they operate.
The key challenges of creating a positive brand influence
The benefits of creating a positive brand influence are many, but there is another side to this coin. The process comes with a set of challenges, as listed below.
Consistency: Companies across the world are making a mistake while creating a positive brand influence. They lack consistency. This could be in terms of their offerings or the structure of their online presence across different platforms. The services or products offered offline should be similar to those offered online. Also, the company’s eCommerce store should be as good as all its social media pages. This will create a strong and consistent image in the minds of the audience.
Time constraint: Many companies decide to use their in-house staff for marketing and to create a positive brand influence. Their lack of professional expertise, knowledge, and connectivity with the latest trends can do more harm than good to the growing businesses. It is always best to assign the branding work to professionals. It will generate a better return on investment for the company in the long run.
Disorderliness: The internet is booming with hundreds and thousands of advertisements all over the world. In this environment of chaos and clutter, companies must exceed their abilities to make an impact on the minds of their customers. Once the audience is attentive to the content, it becomes easier to form associations with it.
How to make the most of a positive brand influence?
As a brand with a positive influence, we must ensure the fulfillment of every promise. We must never leave our customers midway after we’ve promised them a discount, sale, or experience. Once our customers are comfortable with our brand, we can leverage that impact to get
✅ Experienced staff members
✅ Higher investments
✅ Client loyalty
✅ Increasing profits
✅ Status of an industry-influencer
Ways to leverage ORM and CRM for creating a positive brand influence
One of the smartest ways to leverage technology to create a positive brand influence is through an Online Reputation Manager (ORM) and Customer Relationship Manager (CRM).
What is a CRM?
Just as the name says, CRM is software that caters to the process of building a strong relationship with our customers. It helps in visually managing every interaction with a customer, thereby improving our customer support service. The data collected by CRM can be ultimately used for creating customer profiles. This will help us in the process of creating better products for our customers in the future.
What are the advantages of a CRM?
The unmissable benefits of having a CRM are listed below.
Centralized database: A CRM keeps a repository of every interaction with our customers right from the first day. With this significant amount of information about the people who buy our products, we can create trustworthy analytics. Different teams in the company can use them while designing updated products, launching new experiences, or creating social media posts.
Customer retention: Despite having many other benefits, the major aim of using a CRM is to provide a smooth customer service experience. With the software, the support executive will instantly have access to the customer’s demographics, orders, and previous queries. This will save time in processing the concern and leave our company with another happy and satisfied customer.
What is an ORM?
An ORM is a software used for tracking the reputation of a brand on social media platforms and search engines. Through this, our team can actively monitor the words posted about our company on the internet and take the required response in the initial stage before it all blows out of proportion.
How is an ORM beneficial for businesses?
Despite working tirelessly on developing the best products and offering a smooth customer support experience, companies don’t often get the expected results. Even a single negative comment about our service can multiply in the least possible time to create an overall damaging reputation for the brand.
The rescue support in this scenario, the ORM, comes with many benefits. Some of those are listed below.
✅ It builds a trusted brand.
✅ It boosts search engine result page rankings.
✅ It provides a high return on investment.
✅ It attracts new customers, investors, and employees.
Strategies for using a CRM to create a positive brand influence
We need to start using these strategies to create a positive brand influence with the help of a CRM.
Email campaigns: With a list of customer email addresses, we can start the process of creating email campaigns to keep in touch with them. We can offer exclusive discounts and early bird opportunities to keep them interested in our emails.
Reconnect with our customers: When a customer has raised a complaint against a particular service, it becomes our responsibility to take care of its redressal. We can go through the list of the resolved complaints and arrange for a follow-up call to check if the customers are satisfied with the service.
Focus on better opportunities: We can start using our CRM for other purposes. By integrating the software with the marketing and technical teams, we can see improvisation in the quality of our promotions and products.
Strategies for using an ORM to create a positive brand influence
These strategies will help us in simplifying the complex process of managing our online reputation.
- Answer immediately: While it isn’t possible to give an instant response to all customers, we can make sure that the turnaround time is as low as possible.
- Empathize: Customers value brands that understand their emotions. We need to take cognizance of our customers’ negative feedback and show them that we’re sorry about the trouble. We can try our best to satisfy them in the most efficient way possible.
- Accept our mistakes: Just like humans, companies are also prone to making mistakes. When there has been a problem because of us, we own up to it and compensate the customers for their loss.
Uses of a positive brand influence
A positive brand influence can take our company significantly up the ladder of success. This has to be backed up by the products or services of the best possible quality. Let’s understand the applications of a positive brand influence and the examples of successful companies.
How do brands influence market trends?
Remember the trend of red shoes in the 2010s? It was started by a company called Air Yeezy 2 when they launched their “Red October” sneakers. In no time, major companies like Nike and Adidas joined the bandwagon and made red sneakers the trend of that period. This shows how a positive brand influence can help our company in starting the most viral trends of the coming years.
Examples of businesses with a positive brand influence
Not just established companies, but individuals have also made the most of their profits by creating a positive brand influence. Here are some general examples of successful brands.
- Gary Vaynerchuk:Gary Vaynerchuk has become one of the most well-known businessmen not only in his home country – the USA but across the world. Despite having a below-average life until his mid-thirties, he went on to become a famous business coach on the internet and a successful entrepreneur in real life. His journey to a positive brand influence started when his interviews and logical statements started making rounds on social media by channels with a large number of followers.
- Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A is a popular American company that belongs to the food industry. They focus more on establishing their relationship with the customers than anything else. In 2014, their store in Birmingham prepared and served sandwiches for free to the people stuck in a snowstorm. This complemented their marketing strategies to generate brand loyalty.
If any company wishes to join the list of global leaders in every industry, it must connect with the hearts and minds of the customers. We must start placing more value on customer relationships by investing in technology and services that help us in providing exceptional customer support services. Once that is done, the focus must shift to ensuring that the existing customers are satisfied with the offerings and that their contentment is reflected in their online comments.
With the help of a trusted CRM and ORM, we can efficiently manage our operations, without straining our financial budget. These products help our daily decision-making processes, ultimately providing a high return on investment to the company.