While the majority of professionals and top organizations focus on metrics such as sales and “profit over revenue” to measure progress, there is a factor you may be overlooking that is even more significant in determining long-term success.
It’s your brand image and how your everyday actions are being perceived by your potential customers.
A 2015 Microsoft Study found that the average person’s attention span when browsing online is only eight seconds (shorter than that of a goldfish).
In order to catch and keep the attention of your users, you need to focus on your company’s brand. Your brand consists of the vision, values, and qualities that separate you from your competitors.
The funny thing is, creating a brand that endures is not exactly an intuitive process. It takes time and is something that only the best companies ever manage to master.
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Know Your Digital Footprint
No one’s perfect. We’ve all made past decisions or mistakes that we may regret and would like to move on from. Unfortunately, people won’t forget our past mistakes as much as we’d like them to. It’s important for you to know of any potentially embarrassing or negative information that is posted about your company online. Conduct an extensive Internet search for every possible spelling of your name along with the name of your business.
Utilize reputation management services to wipe search engine results clean of any embarrassing or reputation-crippling information (e.g. past mugshots, embarrassing party photos, etc.).
Also, consider activating Google Alerts to receive automatic email notifications anytime your name appears on the Internet. Be sure to frequently check sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, and Yahoo Local to see the reviews customers have left about your company and respond to the negative ones with a promise to do better.
Avoid Being a Normal Organization
In a day and age where vanilla is often the flavor of the day, more companies are thriving by setting themselves apart from the pack. In order to position your company's unique offering, it is imperative to add a distinctive twist to your service offering and be as memorable as possible. What makes your brand different? Find an underserved niche in your industry and cater specifically to their needs.
While there are many career sites that focus on serving the general population with a broad spectrum of information, DoctorCPR has strategically positioned itself as a leader by providing a search engine for medical jobs and practice resources to healthcare professionals. Finding a way to differentiate your company from similar organizations is vital to strategically positioning your brand as the primary go-to resource.
Allow People to Enter Your Personal Space
While we are familiar with our business personas being held separately from our personal lives, the two have become irreversibly intertwined. Customers now want to know the faces behind the logos and develop a connection. In order to develop a strong presence, you need to be yourself and also darn proud of who you are.
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Get rid of the stock photos that are hanging around your offices and hire a professional photographer to take personal shots of the people who represent your organization your customers will take notice. Avoid using technical verbiage and replace that with a common language that is easy for anyone to understand. Share your fears, desires and your passions. What drives you?
Anik Singal, Founder, and CEO of Lurn, Inc. openly shares his aspirations of breaking cycles of poverty by building schools for children who live in the slums of India. Being as transparent as possible allows you to create a brand that people can relate to and will most importantly grow to trust.
Embrace the Path of Dependability
The most important step in developing a strong brand is being consistent. This is probably the area that most companies struggle with the most.
While it is relatively easy to think outside the box and not incredibly difficult to show a bit of your personality, putting it all together for an extended period of time (like forever) is pretty tough to manage.
Be consistent with your standards and commitment to quality. Maya Flowers has been serving their customer base for close to a decade and giving consumers piece of mind by offering extremely flexible flower delivery service times, including midnight deliveries. While this quality service has been tough to manage with consistency, Maya Flowers has never failed to deliver.
Chris Anderson of BPS, a supplement review site committed to delivering unbiased and honest reviews without ever taking sponsored advertising payment from big corporations, has been serving fitness enthusiasts for over 15 years without compromising his pledge of integrity. As a result, these companies have built a loyal following of customers who have grown to depend on their reliability.
While you can always find innovative ways to increase your sales volume and add little wrinkles to tweak your team performance, your brand image is something that will be much harder to control. It is something that is not easily constructed and even harder to change once it’s been developed. When you’ve established a strong brand image, everything else will fall into place. Your sales will naturally surge. Your profit will multiply.
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You’ll have a customer base of raving fans that will be eagerly watching and anticipating your next move. All because you took the time to distinguish yourself in a manner that people can naturally relate to. And that is something to be proud of.