Win over more customers by building brand trust

Before your company can persuade a new customer to purchase its products or services, it has a significant hurdle to cross — convincing your target audiences that your business stands behind its promises and values. A company’s need to prioritize brand trust looks different than it did several years ago now that we are in the world of easy information via websites, social media and online reviews

Customers’ trust in businesses has been on the decline for several years now. Only 42 percent of customers said they trust businesses to do the right thing, according to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer.

Whether this brand distrust has emerged from an environment of fake reviews, unsubstantiated brand promises or simply too many unfamiliar brands competing for their attention, customers need a compelling reason to identify your company as trustworthy.

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7 essential steps to launching a new brand

When you observe the trajectory of successful organizations, whether Microsoft, Apple or newer upstarts like the Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker, it’s clear that innovation sets them apart from the competition.

But these companies also stand out because they built an effective branding strategy — one that is focused on a deep understanding of their customers’ needs throughout all stages of the buyer journey. They are able to excite their loyal customers long after their initial purchase.

Whether your company is just getting started or considering a rebrand, set a solid foundation through a branding strategy that reflects how well you know what your customers want and, in some cases, anticipate what they want — even before they do.

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How to market to today’s B2B buyer

Over the past several years, marketers have experienced a convergence in how they’re connecting with buyers in B2B and B2C spaces. For example, companies are now engaging with B2B buyers by building relationships and personalization, tactics commonly associated with the B2B marketing.

These changes are largely driven by the personal habits of targeted audiences, like those of Millennials who now make up 35 percent of the American workforce. Studies show that people in this age group are largely digital natives who trust customer reviews over brands and deeper levels of engagement. And they’re making up an increasing number of decision-makers in the work environment.

While there are a growing number of similarities in the way marketers reach B2B and B2C buyers, the B2B industry still presents distinct challenges that require a different marketing strategy. These include longer sales cycles, more decision makers and more content resources to guide the buyer journey.

Successfully marketing to prospective B2B customers requires a deeper understanding of these challenges, as well as their expectations at different stages of their buyer journey. The right B2B marketing strategy will differentiate your brand in relevant ways that lead to brand awareness and, eventually, brand loyalty.

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How to build a content strategy that covers all stages of the buyer journey

More than likely, the buyer you were targeting last year already has evolved. Buyer behavior continues to change, largely as a result of technology, research habits, stakeholder profiles and information overload.

According to a 2019 Gartner report, changes among B2B buyers include:

  • An increasing number of Millennial decision-makers, many of whom are distrustful of sales reps.
  • Buyer indecision brought on by information overload. About 88 percent of B2B customers said it was daunting to have so much high quality information available..
  • More stakeholders involved in the buying process, resulting in a more complex target audience.

As customers continue to evolve, content remains a powerful influence as part of their conversions. However, to be effective, it must be the right message delivered to the right customer at the right moment of the buyer journey. Otherwise, there’s an increasing possibility that it will be designated as part of the buyer’s content overload problem.

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How to build a stronger branding strategy

You only need to look at a recent Southwest Airlines flight delay for a quick lesson in the power of a strong branding strategy, one that’s consistently cultivated over time.

No complaints could be heard from passengers at an Indianapolis International Airport gate, even though their flight to Orlando had been delayed by three hours. For loyal customers, it’s hard to  get mad at Southwest for messing up spring break — especially when the brand get so many things right.

A Southwest attendant told passengers, “our fault,” attributing the delay to equipment issues — not the inclement weather that caused other airlines to delay flights that same night. An apology followed, along with a $100 voucher for each passenger for the inconvenience.

This type of brand authenticity, along with Southwest’s two free checked bags policy, no fee policy for changed flights, a no blackout dates rewards program, and entertaining announcements from attendants, has steadily won over customers during the past few decades.

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