To stand out in today’s busy and noisy landscape, it’s all about the right branding. Heck, even teenagers are now cognizant of their “personal brand,” (thanks social media!) that’s employed to stand them apart from the pack. You might not know a YouTuber’s name, but you know she’s that vegan-keto-yoga Influencer with a Pomeranian.
Likewise on the macro scale, with businesses, branding has never been more important to distinguish what you do compared to what a hundred other companies do in your niche. And there are real stakes involved. According to a recent study out of the UK, 51% of adults regularly saw ads that they say were difficult to understand what was being advertised; and 62% of adults avoided engaging with companies if it wasn’t immediately obvious what they did.
Let’s repeat that last one: If your brand isn’t clear, you’re losing nearly two-thirds of your potential customers.
So this spring, the season of regrowth, let’s double-down on making your brand bloom. Not just in size and reach, but in clarity and focus. Here are 4 ways to boost your brand in the coming months.
1. Truly Internalize Your Brand for Authenticity
These days, savvy young consumers can sniff out faux-authenticity from a mile away. There’s basically a whole sub-Reddit dedicated to poking fun at brands trying to relate (usually poorly) to youth culture.
Developing an authentic brand that isn’t shunned by the communities in your niche is difficult, but if you can crack it, it’s hugely rewarding. One of the best examples we’ve seen recently came from one of the speakers at our last Meetup, Vapor95.
A clothing company geared toward an underground artistic movement populated by cutting-edge youth? Good luck, right? But Vapor95 authenticated their brand by letting themselves be permeated by the subculture in every way. They worked with these artists to create apparel not from the outside-in, but from within the movement itself. Living and breathing the niche was the key to achieving 100% customer satisfaction and a high rate of return shoppers.
The take-away here is that authenticity is valued and can create a fervent loyal base around your brand when done right. Take the time to leave your office and get down to the street-level and talk to your core consumers. It’s often the only way to really know how your brand is being represented, and consumed, by those you’re trying to win over.
2. Invest in Influencers
Very much in line with the point above, working with the Influencers in your niche can go a long way to boosting your brand. It’s a great way to confer trust onto your brand quickly, and a cost-effective marketing channel as well depending on the popularity of the Influencers you work with. The ROI stats on Influencer marketing range from earning $6 to $11 for every dollar you spend, especially when working with Micro-Influencers.
Influencers can raise the profile of your brand with a single social media post, and can endear your company to their niche more in an hour than you could with a month of AdWords. And this channel is only going to grow over the next decade, simply because Gen-Z is coming into spending power.
Did you know that the oldest Gen-Zers just got out of college? Time flies. And now, so will their big spending bucks as they join the workforce (hopefully), pay off their student loans (good luck), and start buying real estate (just kidding). Jokes aside, Gen-Z already wields $44 billion in purchasing power, and considering they number more than Millennials or Boomers, that’s going to skyrocket soon. And what influences them to buy?
In particular, Gen Z is much more influenced by Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%) than other generations. Millennials, second in each of these categories, matches up at 21%, 11% and 22% respectively, demonstrating how much of an impact social media has with the emerging consumer base.
That’s from RetailDive showing just how important the Influencers who rule the social media landscape are to the opening and closing of Gen-Z wallets. If you thought Influencers worked well on Millennials, just wait for this new generation who were born with a Twitter account. Speaking of…
3. Switch Up your Social Media Posts
The great thing about reaching a new generation through social media is that it’s cheap and quick to reframe and rebrand. Let’s face it, a post from last week is already stale, and unless your brand was caught up in some scandal, no one’s going to scroll through previous months and years of your posts to form a judgment on what your brand is and what you represent today.
This is beneficial for you in the sense of reinventing your voice for your audience, and this means changing up how and what you post to social media. For example, did you know that Gen-Z listens to 4 hours of music a day? Many of you might be surprised that anything can hold their attention for four minutes, let alone four hours. So knowing this, how about linking a Spotify playlist that speaks to your brand on Instagram?
Also, Gen-Z more so than even Millennials will first turn to YouTube for “how-to” videos. Why read an article about how to tie a Windsor knot when you can watch someone do it? Knowing how receptive young consumers are with video tutorials, how can your company use video to present your brand to their eyes? Working with a YouTube Influencer is one way, or you can also post short tutorial videos on Instagram as well either on your feed, or to your Instagram Stories.
The bottom line here is to reconsider what your company posts on social media to reach a new audience. Don’t post the same 800-word blog posts over and over again and expect growth results. In fact, blog posts in general need to change to keep up with new SEO best practices. Check out Search Engine Journal’s post on how to blog for a great rundown of the types of posts that will make your brand shine on social media.
4. Build a Stable of Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are the new hot way of saying affiliate marketers, but it really hones in on what you’re mobilizing them to do: spread awareness of your brand to their individual circles of trust. The effectiveness of this is not only evident in that affiliate/referral marketing is rapidly growing, but also in just how today’s consumers make buying decisions. Check out this graphic from Social Media Revolution via Meltwater:
You hear a recommendation from a friend, you’re more likely to buy that service or product for yourself. Brand ambassadors will not only increase the inherent trust in your brand, but also “spread the gospel” and elevate your brand in the public consciousness.
It’s cheap and easy to start up a VIP loyalty program as your first affiliate marketing campaign, leveraging your already best customers and transforming them into brand ambassadors. Get started in the spring and watch how your brand blooms by summer.