Who are you? Beyond just a name or group of names, what do you stand for and believe in? How do you bring your product to the marketplace? Is it a good? Is it a service? It could be a combination of the two. Maybe you’re well defined enough that you transcend some, if not all of these kinds of questions, but either way it’s a relevant thing to consider as a marketer. We live in a time where the U.S. population begins to approach 325 million and many companies are competing for the attention of consumers on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes hourly basis. And of course much of the time a company’s identity is defined by its customers and the particular industry they populate. Other times the opposite is true and the consumer uses the company they frequent as a reference point as to who they are. We’ve all heard the question “Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?” and do you know something? Even people that will go to either coffee establishment in a pinch for a caffeine fix still have a direct answer for you most of the time! And why? Because both of those companies has an established identity within their brand and it’s so obvious to all of us, that even the most casual and infrequent of customers feels compelled to choose one over the other when prompted.
I say all of this to illustrate that there is a relationship between a business and its consumers. Maybe you can figure out a way to make the transaction kooky and fun if you’re a bakery, but if you’re a bank and you deal with people’s money it will come down to trust, professionalism, and perhaps a personal touch. And so it’s different industry to industry and company to company, but either way you want that identity for sure. Whether they have a good experience or a bad one, people will talk, and they will e-mail, and text, and tweet and I think you get the picture! The bottom line is you have an identity whether you want one or not and consumers are constantly evaluating whether your identity is compatible with theirs. So without establishing your own brand identity from the outset, you’re leaving more up to chance than you need to. Sure, if you can position yourself as the company that swoops in and saves the day where one of your competitors drops the ball, then certainly that person will very possibly romanticize you in their hearts and appreciate the finer points of what it took to please them. That’s great but, how did they know to call you in the first place? Know yourself and more importantly know your customers. Value and understand that relationship on as many levels as possible. How did they find you? What kind of experiences are they likely to have had by the time they reach you? All of this information is the fuel to your engine. You can use it to help define yourself more and more and strengthen your brand each time. Next time a new customer pops up, give them something to talk about.
Written by Guest Blogger – Ken Pellegrino. Ken Pellegrino is a freelance writer and part-time marketer at Purple Diamond LLC with a background in business management, marketing, sales and customer relations. A graduate from Salem State University’s Bertolon School of Business with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing, Ken shares his passion for marketing and sales with the owner of Purple Diamond, his mother, Charlene St Jean. In addition to his love of marketing, Ken is also a talented guitarist who enjoys both writing and playing music.