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Branding is more than a buzzword. It is how a small business can make a name for itself in an industry and in a community. Involving customers in the process and in the brand itself can make both the brand and the business stronger. Having strong customer involvement in small business branding also means a wider identification of the brand throughout the business’s client base.
Envision Your Brand as a Customer Would
When initially developing your branding, think of how a customer would receive each part of a marketing plan. People tend to respond to other people, so try to consider your branding as another person on the team.
Once you know your brand, set up focus groups of consumers — both current and prospective consumers of your products — to see how they respond to your branding concepts. Take their feedback and work that into your marketing plan.
Make Customers the Story
Small businesses have the luxury of knowing their customers in a way that larger corporations do not. They are able to take some of the same strategies larger businesses use and capitalize on more detailed knowledge of their clients.
Encourage customers to interact with the business via social media and to post photos of themselves with products put out by the business. Use those photos later in promotional materials.
Instead of creating stories for advertising materials, share stories clients have shared. Use their observations and photos to give a real-world opinion of products and experiences. No one can sell a product better than a user of the product.
Why Customers Matter in Branding
Some business owners may wonder about the value of involving customers in the branding process. Studies show that customers who buy into a business’s philosophy and who become loyal to the business are worth 10 times their initial purchase.
Providing exceptional customer service is integral to success in today’s marketplace. When thinking of branding, consider these tips on how to better involve your customers.
Meet Your Clients Where They Are
Once a business has a brand developed and in place, with customers engaged and involved, the process is not complete. It is imperative to continue to meet customers where they are. In-store, on the Internet, on social media, or on the phone — it is continued quality customer service that will solidify the relationship customers have with a business.