You may perform well in branding your company, products or services, but the question of your customers refers to a whole other process. In many an old western, you’d see the cowhands branding the cattle. This was more to preserve ownership against rustling than to produce a recognisable product!
The question, therefore, invites you to consider the range of actions you might take to make sure that none of your competitors rustle your customers away from you. Some statements that would show the success of your actions: “Oh yes, where cars are concerned, I’m always a Ford man” or “Me? Oh I’m a Guinness drinker” maybe “For nights out I always like to wear Christian Dior”.
Turn your customers into Brand Ambassadors
In each of these examples, the person speaking has effectively branded themselves, so deep is their commitment to a certain product or course of action. This makes it much less likely that any competitor will be able to steal them to add to their flock or herd.
Through carefully-targeted online marketing activities, you help each person to create the picture of themselves that they like to see. Included in this is your product or service – they see it as part of who they are.
Of course, external branding of your customers is also a much-used tactic. How many of the clothes you wear have a maker’s logo attached? How easily identifiable is your watch – and what does it say about you?
Word-of-mouth is STILL the best form of advertising…
Let’s also consider an ages-old truism: “Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising”. Every time one of your customers talks to another person, they have the opportunity to undertake some branding for you. The key is to make sure they know the right things to say. A survey a few years back discovered that new car ads were most closely read by people who had just bought that car. By doing so, they were ready to fully justify their purchase to friends or family! Your aim, online and elsewhere, is to make sure you have provided your “brand ambassadors” with the right words.
These, and other activities, turn each person who uses your products or services into a potential advertisement for them. To express it slightly differently, you can turn them into that productive tide of brand leaders, who then encourage and persuade their “followers”.