After 2020, the rules have changed for many brands. Along with the expected advances in consumer interests, brands have to consider rapidly changing consumer behaviour, navigate a fluctuating economy, and also be mindful of the difficult times that their audience has been through.

Being a useful brand in 2021 is difficult but still essential. Consumers are no longer afraid to tell businesses when they’ve fallen short and online backlashes can be quite devastating to them. Therefore, this year is all about the consumers and giving them the best experience. In this post, we will explain how to build your brand successfully despite today’s challenges.

Understand your audience

The most important element to being useful to your audience is understanding them. After all, if you don’t have a full picture of who your audiences are, how can you even begin to address their challenges, needs, and desires?

There are lots of ways to get started with building the picture of your customers. Surveys and industry researches are some of them. You can also speak to your sales and customer service teams, gather data, and use it to understand behavioural and purchasing patterns. All of this information can help you build audience personas for your target demographic, which can be used furthermore throughout your business and communications, ensuring they are as useful as possible.

Be relevant

A photo of a daily planner stands as an example of customer support.

Now that you have a good understanding of your audiences, how do you begin to communicate this? How to build your brand with the wider world in mind?

In 2021, being relevant is key. Audiences have been through periods of change, pain, and uncertainty over the past year. When brands reach out to engage with them, they need to make sure it’s worthwhile. Therefore, it’s essential to make your communications as personalised and as relevant as possible.

Use the data you have on your customers, whether that be web pages visited, products purchased, or demographic data such as age and location. You can then send highly useful, timely, and targeted content and communications to your audience.

Abandoned basket emails, replenishment campaigns, or help and support articles are some of the options.

Be mindful

A chat screenshot shows how brand failed in the brand building strategy.

We would always encourage brands to communicate and engage with their audience. However, they still need to be mindful of their tone and show empathy every step of the way. Because when faced with a crisis, it’s easy for brands to misjudge and get it wrong.

On one hand, they want to remain true to their brand personality and positioning. On the other hand, forging ahead with a regular activity that doesn’t align with the current context is likely to backfire.

Brands need to dedicate time to think about the messages they want to convey and get their leaders and department heads involved. Everyone should be on board all the time. After all, how can a brand be useful if it stays oblivious, ignorant, or naive to the audiences’ challenges?

For instance, Burger King launched a fantastic scholarship program to help their women employees pursue their culinary dreams. However, the way that they executed the campaign, and the language they used, certainly fell flat.

Offer experiences

Products will come and go but a great customer experience will be remembered. The modern consumer is bored of hearing about the finer details of your product or service, especially since everyone has been going through periods of lockdown. People are desperate for excitement, connection, and experiencing something new. Where can you start?

A man uses an app to swap face with his favourite film character.

Ensuring your customer journey touchpoints are all connected is essential to offering a seamless customer experience. You should communicate with your customers at the right time, with the right message, on the right channel. Basically, you should put the work in so they don’t have to.

From here, you can get really creative. For instance, Netflix capitalised on the face-swap trend with their outdoor campaign that let people swap faces with their favourite TV and film characters.

Become agile and adaptive

Brands that are agile and adaptive can better cope with the challenges that modern life brings, whether that be a changing economy or fluctuating buying behaviour. But what does becoming agile and adaptive actually mean? It means that your strategy, processes, and people are ready and prepared to change, flex, and evolve. Quickly.

A man with a mask shows how people work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agile and adaptive businesses should not have legacy processes or outdated systems that hold the brand back when big decisions need to be made promptly. They also constantly have their finger on the pulse to predict and prepare for the next big challenge or opportunity.

Ford are a fantastic example of an agile and adaptive brand. During the pandemic, they used their own resources to produce PPE equipment and ensure the continued safety of their own staff, whilst not adding to worldwide demand.

How to build your brand for people’s needs?

Being a useful brand may seem like a daunting prospect. However, by putting the audience at the heart of everything you do, you will soon be making significant progress.

If you’d like a little help along the way and get practical advice on how to build your brand in 2021, then get in touch with us. Our team of experts are experienced in helping brands build long-lasting relationships with their audience.

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