Brand equity is the impact that your branding has on your customers’ decision-making. It’s the factor that determines how the average buyer will feel when they see your brand name next to a competitor’s—having positive brand equity means they’ll feel more confident when spending on your solutions.
While its core definition hasn’t changed much in the last few decades, there are nuances to brand equity that make building it different for businesses operating in 2021.
In this article, we’ll discuss those nuances and give you a clearer idea of what it takes to build brand equity in the modern world. If you’re a marketer or business owner looking for a way to improve your branding, read on.
Brand Equity is About Experiences
Ads and marketing can only take you so far when you’re working on your brand’s reputation. The real difference is made when your business offers great solutions and helpful customer service.
This has been the rule for as long as brands have been a thing: make your customers happy, and your brand will benefit in the end. However, the rise of social media and marketing technologies like augmented reality have changed what it means to deliver positive brand experiences.
A few new factors have been added to the list of things you need to create positive brand experiences:
- Digital presence. We can’t stress the importance of apps, websites and other online platforms as customer touchpoints—especially in the wake of COVID-19. Having a digital footprint that gives value to your potential and existing customers is key.
- Consistency. There are hundreds of brands competing for the average person’s attention in any given hour of the day. Maintaining a consistent (and consistently positive) presence as a brand will help people remember you.
- Endless value. You have a ~65% chance of selling to someone who’s an existing customer (versus only around ~13% chance for new customers). Loyalty is a core concept now that it’s easier than ever to communicate with your customers, so the project of building brand equity never truly ends.
Brand Equity Now Happens in Clearer Phases
The buyer’s journey is a marketing concept that radically changed the ways businesses approach their leads and customers. Now that it’s standard to think in terms of the awareness, consideration, and decision stages, businesses have been developing more precise and impactful branding efforts.
When it comes to improving your brand equity, the same stage-based approach is necessary if you want to make sure you get the results you’re after.
The Awareness Stage
Whoever said that first impressions matter was right on the money. The first point of contact with a potential customer can be a powerful moment—one that marks your business as interesting and worth exploring.
From the moment a new person discovers your business, you have a limited amount of time to surprise them. The sooner your brand can prove that it looks, speaks, or serves differently from the countless other competitors in your space, the better your chances of being remembered and then considered down the line.
The Consideration Stage
Perhaps the hardest part of building brand equity is winning people over once they’ve begun browsing all the options on the market. We’re sure you know how challenging it is to win business from your competitors.
Brands face the greatest scrutiny during the consideration stage, which is why it’s important to create a clear plan to inform and persuade your target market. We recommend identifying their preferences and pain points, and then planning around them.
The Decision Stage
Making money from a transaction is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. In truth, you can build brand equity in many different ways when a lead chooses to convert.
The ecommerce industry is a leader in the art of the upsell: pushing additional value and services as their customers are checking out. While not every business can throw in bundles and discounts at the point of sale, a little creativity can help you delight customers mid-purchase.
We recommend that you find ways to leave paying customers with extra value on top of what they’re expecting. In the same way that you could offer lead magnets to persuade browsing site visitors, you can offer free expert resources as a surprise bonus at checkout.
Small things that demonstrate your genuine investment in the success and satisfaction of your customer base will go a long way toward improving your branding.
Brand Equity is Measurable (Sort Of)
In bygone days, you’d be hard-pressed to measure the esteem and positive associations of your brand. After all, how do you put a number to feelings?
With the rise of marketing intelligence tools and performance-based client service models, the marketing world has figured out a handful of metrics that can help you get a sense of what people associate with your brand.
Consider the following metrics the next time you have a meeting with your marketing teams:
1. Brand Awareness
Your unique website visitors and social media impressions are brand awareness KPIs that tell you exactly how many people have encountered your footprint online. They’re useful proxy values that might not tell you much about how well people remember you, but offer a baseline from which you can begin to make your estimates.
Clearer values can be found from your social mentions and repeat site visitors—as well as any traffic you can narrow down to referrals (actual word-of-mouth, not referral traffic).
2. Consumer Preference Surveys
Surveys used to be the best way to collect data about your market. In many ways, the method has retained its value: it can be a great way of understanding your market, especially if you operate in a tight, local area.
You could also conduct digital surveys of your existing customers (or leads via your website) to get a sense of what factors contribute to your current brand equity.
3. Financial Metrics
By now, you should be aware of how your products and services are priced compared to those of your competitors. Any premium in price that you can afford to offer hints at your brand’s value in the eyes of your customers.
Likewise, your average customer lifetime value can be an excellent gauge of your ability to inspire brand loyalty. If you’ve invested in a good CRM, you should be able to track how much your customers have spent on your business to date.
Brand equity in 2021 is very different from branding years ago. Today’s customers have higher expectations, and businesses have a staggering number of new tools they simply must master in order to thrive.
Our brand specialists at Igloo are trained to assist businesses in the Middle East with their digital marketing needs—from site design to social campaigns and yes, building better brand equity.
If you’re interested in bringing your brand’s name and reputation into the present day, contact us to learn how our specialists can help you unlock the next level of your marketing.