What do consumers want from your brand in 2021?

Dec 15, 2020 | Research

At the end of each year, our industry looks ahead to what the next 365 days will hold. But 2020 has reminded us of an invaluable lesson. Beyond the trends, fads and technology of the year ahead, the world can change on a dime. And developing and executing successful branding and marketing, no matter what else is happening, comes from things that don’t change — consistency, trust and authenticity.

Consistency for your Customers

Your organization has always needed to be consistent for your customers, in marketing messages, providing services, and speaking to your communities. But the turmoil of 2020 has highlighted just how integral consistency is for lifetime customer value. A mere 5% increase in retention produces a 25% increase in profit. Beyond revenue, satisfied, returning customers will share your organization with others and become word-of-mouth advertisers for your brand. There are many arms of consistency, but a cohesive brand story across all platforms and content created specifically for your customers is the one of the best places to start.

Cohesive Branding and Messaging
81% of consumers have to trust a brand before they choose them. And trust is built not only through great storytelling, but actions that back it up. Building, and then acting on, a clear, singular branding and messaging narrative is critical to engaging and retaining customers. The easiest way to unite your brand’s words and actions is to understand what’s already being said and done. Auditing all of your current materials and systems practices shows if you are living out your brand. Whether the answer is incongruous or not, then you’ll have clear next steps as an organization. 

Keeping in Touch through Content
Your customers want to hear from your brand, but not always through adverts. 80% of people want to stay up to date through custom content. Content marketing helps establish your brand as a thought leader and expert who can solve their challenges. It also generates leads and boosts conversion rates as they continue to return to and click on your CTAs. Custom content boosts your SEO rankings and builds trust with your audience since the information you share is genuine. However, to be truly successful, your content must follow a well-thought out strategy that includes who you’re talking to, what your area of expertise will be and what format you should use to be as impactful as possible. This strategy is created in the context of larger company-wide goals with stakeholders and your leadership team.

Trust for your Stakeholders and Employees

Internal branding and marketing can be easily overlooked, but one of the most important tools you have is when employees share the good news about your organization. And the effective way for them to share your brand story, is if they’re all telling the same one. Are your leadership team, stakeholders and employees aligned on the singular narrative of your brand? 

Internal Alignment
For some, internal alignment might not seem like a fun part of brand building. But we love the satisfaction that comes from fully understanding the entire picture of an organization. By talking one-on-one with internal stakeholders, a map of opinions, narratives and experiences begin to emerge. Observing this data from a bird’s eye view pinpoints exactly where there could be discrepancies in the overall brand story. With this research, next steps can be quickly and clearly put in place to course correct or grow your brand.

Employee Engagement
Are your employees sharing your brand story effectively and accurately? What your employees say about your organization at work and at home is significant to your brand. They’ll be talking about their workplace either way, so it’s important that they not only know what to share, but how to share it. Getting employees invested in sharing your brand stories speaks to how most consumers want content from “normal” people about your brand. Communicating this information to employees can be done at orientations or retreats, where time spent outside of the daily grind can help them focus on learning this new skill. Once employees feel comfortable sharing your brand story, your internal engagement campaign can swiftly grow.  

Authenticity for your Target Audiences

Almost every industry is over-crowded and noisy, how can your brand stand out? By being true to what got you started in the first place. Authenticity is irreplicable, and consumers know this. 87% of them value your authenticity over other factors. If your brand is struggling to define what makes it unique from your competitors, think of your timeless differentiators and your current messaging about the constant changes of 2020.

Speak Your Brand’s Truth
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way we live and work overnight, your brand’s continued response to this unique challenge can not only tell, but show, who you are. One way we did that at B&Y was to concept and develop multiple communications toolkits pro bono for healthcare organizations to implement. By taking a clear thought leadership role amidst the chaos and confusions of the early days, and beyond, of the pandemic, we were able to share who we are and what we believe while also providing a resource to healthcare organizations and the communities they serve. What can your brand continue to do to be a leader during this time? How are you sharing those examples of leadership with your target audiences?

The future is always uncertain. But staying consistent, building trust and showing authenticity will always help your brand weather what lies ahead. As 2021 arrives, it’s even more important that your brand has a singular, authentic story that’s shared effectively both internally and externally to engage current customers, employees and target audiences.

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