In today's market landscape, no entrepreneur can expect to build a successful venture based on product alone. Even if your technology or CPG (consumer packaged good) is groundbreaking, new iterations will develop in an attempt to siphon your market share. A strong product without a strong brand to support it leaves you and your entrepreneurial dreams vulnerable.
Building a consistent brand is representative of who you are and what you stand for; your brand is the physical manifestation of your mission and offers a way for consumers to personally connect with the people behind the product. So, how can you focus on creating a brand consumers care about?
Your brand helps you connect with your customers and build up a community, making them feel more connected to you and each other which can help them feel more loyal to your brand and products as opposed to your competitors'.
Physical interactions matter
We've all had an ecommerce experience where a package arrives at our doorstep and the interior contents look, well, messy and haphazard. Even before we try the product out for ourselves, the lack of care from the company sends a subconscious warning signal--it is at this point that we've already judged the product, and company, before even testing its functionality.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you have ever received an impeccably designed package with a personalized thank you message inside, this touchpoint immediately gets your company massive brownie points. Even if the functionality of the product doesn't quite live up to our expectations, we still feel a sense of good will toward the company because their branding efforts have sent the signal that they care about us--the individual customer--and our experience with them.
Customization is key
A 2016 Harvard Business Review article reported that emotional connection matters more than mere customer satisfaction. Yes, customers want their questions answered in a timely manner, but even if a company does everything by the book on the customer service front, if they fail to forge a personalized connection, they may not succeed in attracting that customer again.
There are a lot of different ways that you can build up your brand and increase brand awareness, but one of the most effective is through customized packaging. I recommend companies like Packlane or Boxup who are doing for boxes what Moo.com did for printed assets.
Your mission and vision must be genuine
Resonating on an emotional level extends beyond just receiving an order in 3-5 business days or answering a customer's tweet within 60 minutes; emotional connections stem from a brand's ability to tap into their customers' unique motivators.
Let's say you're launching a new skincare company. You've spent years product testing to ensure your ingredients are safe and your concoctions are effective, you've connected with the top beauty influencers to share your new line, and you've assembled a top-notch team of sales and customer service reps to serve the community you hope to build. At this point, you may be thinking you've done everything right and sales will roll in, right? Not quite.
What's missing from your plan is design and branding that connects with your target audience's deepest motivators and purpose. Who are your customers? What do they want? What drive them? How do you hope your line will make them feel? You cannot send consumers audience analysis plans that show how much time and care you've spent creating this brand. But you can show them that you understand their wants and needs through the way you design and message your company.
Everything, from your logo to the size of your product boxes and color scheme works together to create a brand feeling that, if successful, will last long after the last drop of moisturizer is squeezed out from your product line.
Now creating an entire branding experience from scratch, in addition to developing a product, securing funding and creating a go-to-market strategy may sound daunting. There is an abundance of resources available to help you create a completely unique and personalized brand.
Backing up for a moment and assuming you have an e-commerce company, let's talk about physical mailers. From PR gifts to orders, I highly recommend Packlane as they work well for brands of all sizes and make DIY much easier. Even if design is not your forte, the Packlane process makes it easy to implement a visual identity that is impactful and connective. Remember, every touch point matters; an unboxing experience that is comprised of your logos, colors, and personalized messages will resonate more than a standard USPS container.
If you want to take personalization to the next level, you can also opt for "handwritten" customer appreciation cards. Your customers receive hundreds of sales marketing emails each day and there is a good chance your "Thank You For Shopping With Us" message went unnoticed. A physical handwritten card implemented by a company like Letter Friend or Bond work well for a busy understaffed startup.
In this mobile-first day and age, many new organizations are hyper-focused on building strong digital identities. Don't get me wrong, a robust presence across social platforms and through email marketing campaigns is paramount to success, but if you're solely focused on your online identity you risk losing opportunities to connect with consumers offline as well.