Recurring customers are vital to any business – they form the base of a company’s market and help inform the company on the strengths and appeal its products serve. Your customer base is also less costly to maintain and, according to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, a “5% increase in customer retention rates can increase profits between 25% and 95%.” It’s for this reason that a customer base is integral to the brand image and all promotional materials, providing a consistent reference point to customers invested in the product range.
This article spells out some simple and effective thoughts on how to harness the values of your customer base effectively within your branding.
Sales are one thing but why are people buying? Knowing your target audience inside out will help you shape and then refine the perfect brand image. If you understand your customer base, your branding can reflect an emotive response that resonates with them, increasing long-term support.
For example, when we are working on a brand project, data on the customer base and target audience always forms the basis of any planning process. If we’re working with an advertising agency, they usually have the research on-hand but often, we’ll need to conduct our own research. The more information acquired, the better we can capture the emotion of their customer base while getting the main points across in a concise format.
For instance, when creating cinematics, trailers, or advertisements for games, we always ensure that the whole team plays the game ahead of time (if the game is available to play). Each person needs to understand the USP and target market; demographics, age range, and the kind of games the customer base likes playing. This can often be clearly stated within the game mechanics and provides a useful base from which to target our research. A similar approach should be applied to other industries – trying can be the most sure-fire way of understanding the product’s aim.
While surveys can provide interesting insights into your customer base, social media has become the go-to tool for broad customer analysis. Demographics such as age and location can be easily attained, and the type of messaging and thoughts provided on an individual’s social page, as well as their interests and follows, can often provide readily available information on the kinds of topics and values worth adhering or avoiding.
Politics and values are very important to people, but it’s imperative that you take the time to consider the continuity of these beliefs across your whole customer base. Extensive research on the subject will help you achieve genuineness in your messaging without crossing the line into easily detectable virtue signaling.
You don’t want to come across too ‘salesy’ when marketing your brand and product – the content should speak for itself. Customers are looking to your brand to appeal to their sense of self or ethics, something that’s friendly and approachable. Once research into the customer base and its related values is finalized, it’s much easier to address branding in all its forms.
For different demographics within your customer base, there may be some differentiation in the most effective platforms. For instance, if you have a significant portion of younger customers, interactive social media platforms such as Snapchat and Tik Tok may be the most ideal methods of direct contact. But with these differentiations set aside, it’s important to make sure your core message remains consistent.
Successful festive campaigns can be great examples of personalization done right. Companies situated across multiple industries will always be looking to celebrate the diverse range of activities on offer over the Christmas period – a prime time for sales. But while a company’s pitch may be designed to sell the Christmas activities, the encapsulating brand being marketed should be the idea of family and ‘coming together’. In that way, the campaign can become associated with a greater cultural ideal.
Thinking about the culture of the people you’re marketing to is also important. Is your product localized or national? With this in mind, you can attempt to portray an image and humor that resonates with people during different times of the year. BrewDog is a great example of a brand that understands its customer base inside out. Its branding is cheeky and on the nose, and is strongly related to its target audience. Setting a clear statement helps reinforce the brand to recurring customers.
Reminding your customer base of your brand and its benefits is vital to maintaining appeal, and there are multiple avenues from which to effectively reinforce values.
An effective influencer campaign can provide significant cultural appeal to a brand by associating a product with a cultural icon. Individuals that have amassed significant sway over large portions of an online community become thought-leaders and may direct consumer behavior. However, don’t be convinced by numbers alone – the page with the biggest follower count doesn’t always equal the biggest (or best) results.
In 2019, an Instagram influencer account, @arii, just about managed to sell 36 of her own shirts, despite having over 2 million followers. An effective influencer with an audience of 10,000 that matches the values of your customer base will be far more effective at achieving genuine brand reinforcement.
Refresh your brand to remain relevant – brands go in and out of fashion all of the time. This could be an updated logo, a new product version, or an updated mission statement. While a loyal customer base will likely be resistant to major change, if the core tenants of the original brand message remain, be it through a homage to the past or aesthetic consistency, the refresh will serve as a positive reminder to loyal customers that the brand is active. It may even reignite interest to core customers to buy more.
Position the brand with evidence of success. Publishing case studies is a tried and tested way of showing people the extent of your company’s knowledge and experience. When customers see this evidence, they then have a justification for investment and trust and can feel confident in maintaining support.
Successful businesses use branding to effectively appeal to their customer base. Consumers of successful businesses – whether its Apple, McDonalds, or Coke – are buying into the brand image as a whole. They prefer their chosen company, with its products and brand values, expressed through its aesthetics and messaging, and will remain happy if these values are maintained.
Cover image source: Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot