Brand confidence is about how your ideal customers perceive, and ultimately trust you, not about your brand’s confidence in itself. The two—your own confidence and customers’ confidence in your brand—are intrinsically linked. Just like personal confidence, if you don’t have confidence in your own brand, its even harder for someone else to have it. It is also harder to build brand confidence during any internal or external upheaval if you neglected to build it from the beginning. Still, it is possible!
For the sake of this article, we will assume you already have confidence in your brand, which means you know who your ideal customers are, what they struggle with, how you solve it, and you are out there winning their business. We will also assume that you may be losing employees at more than 14% (average attrition) annually, you are either not growing, or your growth has stalled out. These are signs you need to grow your brand confidence – fast.
The Benefits of Brand Confidence
Brand confidence is easier to create for brands that know their unique brand personality and brand affinity, which I am constantly helping my clients to leverage. The benefit of putting your brand personality and brand affinity into action is you begin creating brand confidence with minimal effort. The results of this brand confidence are:
It drives new business because the brand is connecting emotionally with its customers.
It increases marketing receptiveness because it is authentic and its messages are clear.
It creates loyalty—not only with customers but with employees, because it aligns with what matters to every stakeholder.
It builds client and customer advocacy. These are the very things that help brands weather those turbulent conditions—both internally and externally—few brands are able to do.
Building Brand Confidence
Once you know your brand personality and your brand affinity; in other words, once you know who you are and the unique emotional bonds you create with your customers and employees; then it’s time to address the ten organizational behaviors that build brand confidence.
Behavior 1: Lead.
Lots of brands react to trends and conditions. They say they are too busy, overwhelmed, understaffed, or just had a rough year. Brands with high confidence have rough years too, but they still build plans and strategies, take the lead, set the trends, and as a result they set the pace for everyone else in their market.
Behavior 2: Look the Part.
The common wisdom, that professionals climbing the career ladder should dress for the role they aspire to, applies equally to brands. Invest in your brand’s wardrobe, and don’t dress for the tailgate party when you are attending the gala. Raggedy, poorly fitted, and worn-out branding undermines more than you brand. It undermines your organizational morale as well.
Behavior 3: Be Consistent.
There is a dominant belief today that you must push your brand into every channel, daily, and sometimes multiple times daily, to succeed. That’s just not true. You can. But it is better to pick 1-3 channels, and post regularly. Each channel has its own algorithm, and forms of engagement. Spreading yourself too thin lacks…well…confidence. It lacks confidence that you are in the right place, saying the right things to the right people.
Behavior 4: Set Your Standards High.
Many of the fastest growing industries – including my own coaching industry – are unregulated. So, coaches like myself, who have taken the time and invested in accredited training, are compared to someone with no training, no process, and no experience. There are certain non-negotiables, regardless of the industry you are in, that include customer experience, service, pricing, quality, and accessibility. Make certain you not only know what the standards are, but that you either meet or exceed them.
Behavior 5: Create Clear, 360° Communication.
Processes break down where communication is missing, or worse, not acted upon. Checking in regularly with both customers and employees, getting honest feedback, collecting insights and fresh approaches, and addressing concerns in a timely fashion, is a hallmark of high brand confidence.
Behavior 6: Make Promises and then Keep Them.
Your brand is a promise, and you are making that promise either consciously, or unconsciously. Ask yourself what promise you are making, not only about what you offer, but where you are headed, and where you will take your customers and your employees if they hitch their wagon to your brand’s star. It doesn’t need to be grandiose. It certainly ought not to be arrogant, or overreach. Geico’s is simply: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.” What’s yours?
Behavior 7: Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses.
Many brands become complacent over time, especially if they have experienced reasonable success for some period of time. This is a hallmark of stagnation. The best solution is to regularly explore the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. These components of the familiar SWOT analysis are constantly changing, and when leadership looks at them, the brand can adjust its marketing and approach confidently.
Behavior 8: Be Clear About What You Stand For.
Once seen as a “soft” activity, creating a real set of organizational values, a mission, vision and purpose statement, as well as a unique selling proposition and perhaps a tagline, are the drivers of engagement and loyalty. This is only true if your brand actually makes these statements an integral part of your brand messaging, both internally and externally.
Behavior 9: Be Very Curious.
The brands with the highest brand confidence question everything. They want to know what their customers like and don’t like. They pay careful and close attention to what others in their industry are doing – or not doing. They are constantly tweaking and adjusting their approach. They aren’t doing this to be more competitive. They are doing this to grow.
Behavior 10: Invest in Your Brand.
This is not a shameless plug for my branding strategy or marketing plan. Investing in your brand could mean keeping current on technology. It could mean sponsoring or speaking at a conference. It could mean hiring that next team member who can help take pressure off the entire organization and thus improve productivity greatly. When you have confidence in your brand, you nurture it and you invest in it for the long haul.
Every one of these ten behaviors can be implemented in good or rough times. Each one can be tackled individually, and there is no magic order to address them. Yet, as you implement a stronger set of behaviors, one at a time, you will rapidly begin to see improvements. Employees will stay loyal, profits will improve, and business will begin to grow again – regardless of your circumstances. You can be confident about that.