The term ‘brand disconnect’ has the ability to give any marketing professional the creeps.
Not only does it imply we need to seriously up our game, but like an air-raid siren it tells of trouble ahead. ‘Brand disconnect’ is a hop, skip and a jump away from ‘customer disconnect’ – which unfortunately is right next to a big hole called ‘customer attrition’.
Let’s look at the more cheery side of this coin for a minute – ‘brand congruence’.
Brand congruence is your ability, as a brand, to have continuity. It’s creating harmony between the way you display yourself (or your brand), and the way you are perceived by your customers.
Imagine, for example, a high-end brand such as Harrods posting on social media about their new range of fluorescent mankinis… and a guy walking down a catwalk, modelling the mankini, to some fairly heavy metal music. Okay, that’s a bit drastic, but you get the idea.
Congruence is the match between who you are, and what you do.
The point of creating congruence, is really about creating safety. A customer relates to a brand, much like they relate to a person. The more we know and trust a person, the safer we feel around them, and the more we will invest in their story. Congruence fuels trust.
Disconnect happens when a brand reacts in an unpredictable way. It plants that seed of doubt which says ‘do I really know you?’, ‘do I really want to trust you with my [insert word here]?’. Disconnect fuels doubt.
Here are some quick and easy ways to build congruence with your customers.
- Know thyself.
Here’s the thing. Your brand values are your brand. End of.
What are you saying, and what do you care about?
If you don’t know, you need to find out STAT- 52% of consumers say that brand values play into whether or not they buy from a company.
- Know your people.
Your team are also your brand. Knowing them, and investing in them, plays a huge part in how your brand is perceived. The culture of a company; how they work together, how they resolve conflict, and whether they are looked after will say a lot about your values as an organisation.
- Align your values across platforms.
So you’ve got your values, now to align these traits across your platforms- 73% of consumers use more than one channel, to research and ultimately purchase a product. Is there continuity across your channels in how you look, and the way you connect with customers?
- Create an avatar.
An easy way to align your values across platforms, is to use a company avatar. If your company was a person, what would they be into? What would make them laugh? What would they care about? Have a meeting about this with your team, because it’s likely you’ll all perceive the brand slightly differently… a great opportunity to get everyone on the same page.
- Clunky brand appearance.
We’ve all had to ask around the most up to date version of a company logo, right? And along the way, a document gets missed and continues to be used with old branding… or a footer is never updated, and it’s got the wrong type of “forest green” on it.
Mismatches like this can be costly to your image. Ensuring your logo, brand fonts, colours and formatting are consistent is a simple way to fuel trust on your customer’s journey.
- Check who’s talking to your customers.
In an ideal World, we’d clone a perfect customer service representative and install our brand values into them, so that continuity and congruence reigned forever. However, we’re not quite there yet, and as it turns out… humans have personalities.
What we can do though, is ensure that reflecting the brand values plays a part in the hiring process. Does this person show empathy? Is he/she patient? Slow to anger? Sociable?
Check who’s talking to your customers, and make sure you’ve got the right people, in the right places.
- Check what your customers, employees and shareholders are saying.
Feedback is gold – even if it hurts. An easy way to see if your brand is hitting the right marks, is to check what people are saying about you. If you pride yourself on being ’empathic and compassionate’ and someone’s tweeted about how upset and ignored they felt talking to your customer service team… something is amiss.
Use these tips to avoid brand disconnect, and instead foster a feeling of trust, safety and meaning.