"People keep saying 'that's too expensive!'', but if I lower my prices anymore I won't survive."
"I can't seem to attract the right customers... only the people that want a deal or a freebie."
"I'm attracting all the wrong people and none of the right people."
Unfortunately- I've heard this all before. But... fortunately for you, I've also got a few solutions up my sleeve.
If you want to build a premium brand, you have to elevate it in the minds of your audience. And to do that- well, you've got to get on board the elevation-train with your own brand first.
Your brand's perception is essential to your business’s success. With so many other companies likely offering similar products and services, the ways in which you interact with your customers, present your services and offer valuable information will differentiate you from the competition and reassure customers that they are making smart purchasing decisions or spending their time wisely by engaging with your brand. Let's dive into my top 7 tips to elevate your brand and make it the premiere brand that's at the top of people's minds.
1. Know your competition
To build a premium brand, you first need to know what other options are out there and available for your potential customers- so that you can set yourself apart from them. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but... I'm about to be the bearer of bad news: YOU AREN'T THE ONLY ONE SELLING WHAT YOU'RE SELLING. But, you can be the only one that sells what you sell in the way that you sell it- first- you need to know what is out there. This first steps entails good old fashioned research and data-collecting. Here are some things to consider when conducting your research:
Who is your competition?
What is their main point of difference?
How do they communicate their difference?
Is their position unique?
Does their position add or take away value from their products or services?
What is unique about their brand experience?
Do they clearly communicate their solution?
Is their messaging consistent and structured?
Do they have a defining personality archetype?
What characteristics do they use that resonates with their audience?
Where are they falling short or not connecting with their audience?
Where is their product or service lacking?
How is their overall website experience?
Conduct in-depth research, find gaps in your industry where you can plug in different ideas to fill those gaps and set yourself apart from your competition- giving your audience a unique experience, which leads me to number 2.
2. Create a premium experience
To build a premium brand, you need to have a premium offer that delivers a premium experience for your customers. You should be making a positive impression every time you interact with your customers, creating top-notch experiences that will compel them to shop with you or engage with your content again. Companies such as Apple have perfected this strategy – from the moment you step foot into an Apple store until the moment you activate your new Apple product, you are supported by a knowledgeable staff who guides you through the process. To implement a similar strategy, start by looking at your brand through your customers’ eyes and considering their first interaction with you. If you can provide your clients with an exceptional experience, exceptional service and go over-and-above with your services, they will not only become returning customers, but they will promote you to others as well.
3. Show up to blow up
One of the fastest ways to elevate your brand is by showing up on social media. You have to get yourself and your brand out there and in front of people, positioning yourself as the expert in your industry. Now let me be clear here- you want to show up and promote your business, yes- but your audience doesn’t want to just be sold to or have information thrown at them constantly. Take the time to interact with your followers by asking questions, responding to comments, tagging other accounts, liking posts, and getting to know who your followers are and how you can best SERVE them. Your followers will feel like there is a real person on the other side of the screen, and they will develop increased trust for your brand if they know that you will respond to their questions, concerns, and feedback.
Aside from social media- pursue other outlets and forms of communication with your ideal audience. Pitch guest blog posts or podcasts for industries that would benefit from your products or services, write a guest article and pitch it to magazines or other publications, offer your products or services to influencers in exchange for a shout-out, look for public speaking engagements or training seminars where you can share your expertise. Don't wait until you have a following- grow your following through these avenues by starting small with outlets that are accessible and just a few steps ahead of where you are. And don't be afraid to aim high- you never know who will say yes.
4. Maintain Consistency
If you haven't streamlined your branding yet- head back to the blog and read our articles on data-driven branding (linked here) and how to use brand archetypes to build a better brand (linked here). Step 1 in any branding project needs to be to identify who your brand is: your mission, vision, brand voice, ideal customers and competition, clearly characterize your brand by identifying your brand's personality with a primary and influencer archetype and THEN using those to create your brand visuals. From there, you want to be consistent in your brand messaging, brand voice, brand visuals including your logos, color schemes, fonts, images, and other design elements to improve your brand recognition and build your know, like and trust factor. Research shows us that consumers gravitate towards brands that are easily recognizable, such as Starbucks and Apple, which is why large companies use the same branding online, in-store, and across virtually all of their platforms.
5. Stick to Your Core Values
It's easier now than ever to start a small business! According to the Census Bureau, more than 4.4 million new small businesses were created in the U.S. alone in 2020- that's a 24.3% increase over 2019 and the highest total on record. With some many new businesses hitting the market on the daily, it's hard to figure out which brands are legitimate and which are not. Mistrust is prevalent in the modern world, and consumers do not want to waste time, money, and energy engaging with brands that are inauthentic, untrustworthy, or unpredictable. While you want your brand to be constantly evolving, staying authentic and sticking to the core values that made your customers connect with you in the first place is key. Maintaining transparency with your customers, celebrate your growth, the ways in which you're evolving and let them help you determine the best ways to grow your business. Not only will this build trust and compel them to return (this goes back to building an experience) it will help you grow a brand that has lasting value.
6. Promote user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most powerful forms of content any small business can utilize. UGC is any form of content- be it images, videos, text or audio- that has been previously posted by a user to social media- and is reposted to a brand's account. Rather than a brand or small business promoting itself, you now have customers promoting on the brand's behalf. Some of the biggest key benefits of UGC is:
It allows you maximize your brand's reach on social media with networks of people who may be unfamiliar with your brand.
It puts your customers at the forefront of your brand- making your brand more relatable.
It builds on your know, like and trust factor through real-life testimonials and user-experience.
In a recent study conducted by Everyone Social, they found that 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other forms of advertising. Start incorporating images & videos that your customers have shared on their personal pages. Not only will this build trust in your brand, but it will make your existing customers feel valued and encourage them to continue promoting your products and content on their pages for the chance to be reposted, which is free advertising for you. Creating a custom hashtag for your customers to use is a great way to find pictures to repost.
7. Declutter & Organize
A common mistake I see with SO MANY BRANDS these days is that they are trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. They jump on the on-trend train on the daily, trying to incorporate the latest, greatest everything into their brand- only to be sending mixed messages about what it is they ACTUALLY DO. Kind of tying into #4 here, you need to get UBER clear in your brand's vision and mission, use that to strategize exactly what products and offers align with them- and get rid of the rest. Although the idea behind offering "a little bit of everything" seems like a good idea- in hindsight- the more you offer- the more you're watering down your expertise. I had a college professor who told our class, "If you strive to be a jack-of-all-trades- you'll end up being a master of nothing." Sometimes, we have to niche down to blow up- so declutter, streamline your offerings and be a master of those offerings so you can speak to the right audience 100% of the time and watch your business grow with less hustle.
These are just a few tried and true ways that you can start to elevate your brand experience and convey a high quality, luxury brand that will have people ready and willing to pay top dollar for everything you're selling. Ultimately, if you want to create and elevate your brand, you have to be willing to work at it each and every day, consistency is key and keep aiming high, and always be ready and willing to learn, pivot and grow.
I'd love to know if you've tried any of these or have other ideas or ways that you can elevate your brand. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Instagram @kam.designstudio.