Companies looking to enhance their brand reputation just need to follow the big technology companies - they do it best of all.
Share this article
Whether you’re a start-up, small-medium business or large enterprise, building and maintaining a brand that is remembered, respected and loved is a full time business in itself, and absolutely vital if you hope to succeed in expanding your footprint in a market.
Technology companies continue to dominate the global brand landscape, with Google, Apple, Microsoft and IBM taking the top four spots. Dominating nearly a third of the total brand value, what makes technology brands so popular and what can we learn from them?
Three things brands need to strive for are generating appeal or love, setting trends that benefit the consumer and coming to mind spontaneously. As a society we have become used to interacting with brands on a much more personal level. Gone are the days when the market was monopolised by a handful of big corporate brands that were placed on a pedestal far away from the public.
Through the proliferation of social media, we can engage brands in one-on-one conversations (albeit on a public stage), providing them with real time feedback and offering opinion as to how they can improve. This has led to the ‘organic’ development of brand communities on social media sites which champion brand loyalty.
But how can these companies incorporate this engagement into every interaction they have with the customer, making them feel that they are getting a VIP experience?
It’s about more than having an opportunity to voice our opinions and feel like we’re contributing to the development of a company. It’s about creating that same fuzzy feeling that you might normally associate with watching an episode of Great British Bake Off Does Comic Relief.
It's like replicating that moment when you meet someone in a social setting you vaguely know, who, unexpectedly, mentions things they remember from a previous encounter. These days we are bombarded with data so it surprises us when someone makes the effort to remember even just a small portion of past conversations.
Insight and targeting
For businesses, data and the interpretation of that data is the key. Companies (technology companies in particular) have been banging the big data drum for years, outlining how it can provide the answer to treating customers as individuals. But it is becoming more important than ever, particularly for small businesses that are looking for a way to differentiate themselves.
Amazon is a fantastic example of how analysis of big data can help drive better brand reputation. It has gathered together all of the data from millions of customer transactions to build a profile for each customer that allows the company to target its advertising and promotions.
It is taking this one step further with the recent acquisition of a patent for a system that is designed to ship goods to a customer before they have even decided to buy them. This ability to provide a predictive dispatch service will build upon customers’ brand loyalty as Amazon continues to streamline how people can peruse and purchase.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos obsesses about segmenting customer data to outdo the competition
Amazon has also incorporated social media-style one-on-one conversations into its customer service experience. We can now chat directly to a member of the customer service team online in realtime while the services representative pulls up information about every purchase we’ve ever made.
And this is a crucial aspect to note. Many companies are very good at collecting and analysing their data but what they’re not so good at is getting the knowledge that they have gathered from the data to the people in the company who interact with customers.
Granted Amazon is huge and it could be argued that it has the budgets and man power available to make all this possible while many smaller companies do not.
However, big data analytics is no longer the realm of the global corp, and with advances in business intelligence tools, infrastructure solutions designed specifically for SMBs and the adoption of cloud, start-ups and small businesses can take advantage of the same benefits that companies like Amazon are gaining. Before taking the step towards big data analytics, we should consider the following:
It is absolutely vital that businesses recognise the security threats that big data can pose and take proper steps to securing their big data environment
Organisations need to ensure that their IT infrastructure can cope with the storage of structured and unstructured data
Companies must consider how best to manage all of their data flows. Many companies look at introducing master data management programmes but these are a big cost investment so be prepared to spend time putting forward a decent business case
There are a number of cloud providers out there that have developed services specifically for SMBs looking to take advantage of big data analytics
Data knowledge is the key to building brand reputation and loyalty, and those companies that don’t embrace it are likely to get left behind.
That sounds dramatic but the reality is that customers want to feel that businesses are taking an interest in them and providing them with a service that is specifically tailored to their needs, and in a society where we have more data than we know what to do with, that request is no longer entirely unreasonable.