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How to Create an Authentic Online Brand?

As the online and offline worlds get more and more intertwined, brands need to be able to adapt in new ways. Consumers today view brands as something they associate with trust and have a personal connection to. This in turn means that brands need to be able to showcase their personality and relate to consumers in meaningful ways. This poses the following questions:

1. How do you make your brand stand out in today’s competitive environment?

2. How do you gain loyal customers for your brand?

3. How do you align your brand identity and value proposition with your target market?

An important thing to keep in mind is that people buy experiences, not products. A brand’s story is therefore very important because it allows consumers to connect with the brand, if the brand can make consumers feel a certain way when using their product or being part of their community, they will become loyal customers. Make it clear what your brand stands for and what the key values are, and make sure that these values are included in your brand messages. It also helps if your brand has a personality that consumers can relate to. People form attachments emotionally, and if the brand isn’t relatable to them then it will be more difficult for them to build a connection to it.

Another consideration is whether your product fills a need. You can promote a product more effectively if you are using it to fulfill a need, rather than just pushing the features of it. As an example, people do not necessarily think that they need hooks for the wall, rather, they want to hang pictures and other items on the wall. Therefore, if you want to promote a hook, you should promote it by focusing on how people can use it to hang items on walls. The need comes first so you must understand what the customer’s need is.

Once you have established the brand and have customers, make sure you keep doing research so that you can truly understand your customers. Ask customers for feedback about your brand, products and services. This can be done by setting up automated surveys to get insights about what is working and where some pain points might exist. You should engage with existing customers where possible because that can help you find brand advocates and build loyalty for your brand. True customer loyalty can be difficult to achieve because usually there are many similar products for consumers to choose from in any given category. Therefore, it is crucial to understand why consumers buy the product and why they buy it from your brand to understand how to improve your offering and gain loyal customers.

Once you know who your customers are you can personalise their experience with your brand. Simple things such as personalising the experience by using a customer’s first name or showing products or services based on the history of their interactions with your brand will help your customers feel like they are getting better service. Remember to communicate with your customers based on what they need rather than what you need. It is always about what the customer needs.

This one is often overlooked but giving your customers something that they don’t expect goes a long way. A great example of this is when café stamps your coffee card every time you buy a coffee but gives you two stamps instead of one on your first purchase. It makes you feel valued and in the long term it can also increase the likelihood of you returning to that café.

To summarise, make your brand story easy to understand, communicate it to the market, understand who your customers are and why people purchase from you, and keep doing research to constantly improve your offering.

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Roni Jalkanen

Growth Marketing Director

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