Developing a clear, consistent, and—above all—memorable brand is one of the most challenging tasks facing business leaders today. In order to gain customers’ attention and present them with an attractive value proposition, companies must develop a well-formed identity that clearly communicates how they intend to improve customers’ lives. Following are some steps that business leaders must take to create or hone the image of their brand:
Know your identity.
Before you can present a robust brand image to the furniture-buying population, you must first develop a firm understanding of your company’s brand identity. A brand identity should include not only the products and services that you provide, but also the ideals and causes that you support through your operations.
In the early stages of brand development, it can be helpful to draft a company mission statement that defines your organization’s goals and values. This can help to ensure that you do not stray too far from your original business objectives and help to guide you in your efforts to provide unique, high-quality products to consumers.
While expanding upon your company’s brand identity, you should focus not only on its goals, but also its capabilities. Keeping in mind your resources and market niche, you should examine the strengths and challenges facing your brand. This can help you to identify opportunities for improvement going forward, including areas where your brand can benefit from partnerships. However, while working to maintain a consistent and attractive brand identity, you must also ensure that you only associate your company with organizations that complement and elevate your own brand.
Understand your market.
In order to separate your brand from the competition, you must become aware of where you stand in the broader furniture market. Business leaders must make a habit of researching news, trends, and consumer tastes in their industries in order to identity both risks and opportunities. This should include aesthetic trends throughout the furniture and interior design sectors, as well as emerging best practices throughout the furniture manufacturing and distribution sectors.
With a strong knowledge of current market trends, furniture business leaders can develop an understanding of their own offerings as compared with those of their competitors. This will allow them to take advantage of gaps in the current industry, focus on their unique areas of expertise, and become trusted advisors in a particular market niche. While honing their industry knowledge, business leaders in the home furnishings industry should also provide professional development opportunities for sales representatives and other employees at their companies. They should also embrace customer service as a core value.
While independent research can provide a great deal of insight to business leaders seeking to develop and promote their brands, one of the best ways to begin crafting a strong company image is to determine how consumers view your organization. Consider facilitating customer surveys or focus groups to glean customer opinions, and pay attention to engagements on social media websites and customer review platforms to gain a better understanding of your customers’ praise and concerns.
In many cases, companies attempt to promote their brands solely based on consumer trends and expectations, merely presenting what they believe customers would like to see rather than what they are capable of offering. When developing your image, take care to avoid creating false expectations. While this may attract customers initially, a failure to live up to your own promises will negatively impact your image in the long run.
Instead, you should strive to make authenticity one of the core qualities of your brand. This means not only being honest about your brand’s positive attributes and offerings, but also being forthcoming in regards to your own shortcomings while actively seeking ways to remedy and prevent them.
Hone your communication skills.
After you’ve spent a considerable amount of time pinpointing your company’s values, strengths, weaknesses, and target demographic, you must make the most of these efforts by clearly communicating your brand. In order to be noticed and remembered, the visual representation of your brand should be thoughtfully designed, consistent, and representative of your ideals and expertise, while written communication should reflect a similar tone and value proposition. Brand representations—from the name of your company to the colors that use on your website—should be a cohesive and coherent reflection of your overall identity as a company.
Developing positive relationships with customers should be a core goal of your company’s communications. Your promotional efforts should help customers understand how your brand can meet their specific needs, in addition to clarifying what sets your company apart from the competition. You could also consider offering value via your branded communications with content such as educational blog posts, podcasts, social media pages, or incentive-based communications such as referral programs. At the same time, you should be receptive to feedback from consumers and provide ample opportunities for your customers to share their opinions and engage with your brand.
Focus on quality.
A high-quality product or service is one of the strongest promotional tools. You should ensure that you provide the same quality that you promise to customers and strive to exceed their expectations. This does not necessitate providing “premium” products or services or operating outside of your normal realm of expertise. Ensuring that your products, processes, and employees create an excellent customer experience will make it clear that your brand is trustworthy and help to engender lasting customer loyalty.