Are you a local business with a recognised brand? When your customers see your logo, what do they expect from you? Do they know it’s you? Do they know what you do? How do existing customers relate to your brand? How will new customers feel about engaging with your brand?

We all know that we need to be out there with our sales and promotion but many companies are coping with a small team and restricted budgets. In many cases, when it comes to branding and messaging, it is often the case that the marketing plan and specifically brand awareness is something that gets pushed to the bottom of the list, once the logo has been designed.

Sometimes we just need to take a step back and think about our brand from our customer’s point of view. It doesn’t take long and gives us crucial info about our brand awareness and what really needs sorting with the marketing plan and company communication and customer service more generally. Consistent communication about your brand and finding out your customer’s take on your brand is absolutely crucial for your brand recognition.

There are 5 stages of brand recognition that a customer can have:

Brand rejection

Have you ever had terrible service from a company and sworn you will never use them again? If existing and prospective customers associate your brand with something negative, they will avoid your product at all cost and this is brand rejection. You can use PR and marketing to change the perception of your business so if you think customers are bad-mouthing your business, take stock! It can take years to build a reputation and seconds to shatter it.

Brand non-recognition

This is where customers simply don’t recognise your brand – name, logo and values just aren’t on their radar. This can be for a number of reasons- maybe you are targeting the wrong audience or perhaps you are too similar to your competition.Try to create brand names and identities for your products or services and focus on their benefits – not just their features. Do some competitive analysis and market your USPs.

Brand recognition

Brand recognition is when customers recognise and then choose your company/ product/ service over others.You really have to work to get brand recognition so ensure your communication and branding is consistent and used whenever possible. It’s much better to drip feed consistent communication than spend your entire budget on one big hurrah before going quiet for the next 11 months of the year. A consultant can give you some advice about how to manage your budgets and time more effectively.

Brand preference

This is where customers – given a choice between two brands – will choose yours over someone else’s and probably the best example of this is Coke and Pepsi. Larger businesses spend millions of pounds on marketing, PR and advertising to ensure that their brand is the preferred brand but even smaller businesses that are working with tighter budgets should emulate what is going on in the larger economy. There are a number of things that smaller business can work on to help ensure their brand is the preferred supplier in their target market or local area.

Brand loyalty

This is where all businesses want to be – customers have bought into your brand and will choose it time and time again, even if they experience the occasional bad service or if another product comes along that is cheaper and seems to be better suited to their needs. Brand loyalty comes from giving the customer a specific experience when they engage with your brand. It cannot be achieved overnight and is a mix of communication, brand messaging, sales and customer service.

What do you think your customers would say about your brand? What stage are you at in building your brand?

With 15 years of experience, Padua Communications provides a cost-effective service that helps companies to evaluate their brand, while clarifying their communication with customers, staff and the media. We can help with all of your copywriting – generally getting all your communication consistent and out to the people you want to reach. Our aim is to get businesses recognised for all the right reasons – to help you get more customers and increase sales.

We can help give you a fresh perspective and support you with your branding and messaging, PR and marketing.  For a free no-obligation meeting, please contact Nicky on 0203 282 7570 or drop me an email at nicky@paduacommunications.com