What technologies are your ideal customers using? If you're not sure, that's a problem.
It's a problem because if your brand isn't reaching them through their preferred modes of interaction, they are A) not aware of your brand or B) turned off by your brand.
It's so important to put your customers in the mood to buy, and you simply can't do that if you're not speaking their language…through channels of their choosing.
So, if you feel that you're not reaching enough of your ideal customers, or you're simply reaching all the wrong people, it's time to shift your branding strategy. It's time to find out how they're consuming information and then step outside your comfort zone to learn how to use that technology, too.
The Technologies that Should be in Your Branding Strategy
How can you determine what technologies should be in your branding strategy?
That's easy. Ask your ideal customers.
You may prefer to use email and Instagram to communicate; however, if your target audience members are spending their time on Facebook and YouTube—and prefer to communicate through text, for example—you're missing a massive number of opportunities to connect with them (and sell to them).
I understand how scary this can seem. I also understand why you've been avoiding even looking for answers in this area. Learning to master a technology you've never used before (or one you've never even heard of) can be frightening. What if you mess it up and look silly? What if you make it obvious to your ideal customers that you're new at this? What if you scare them away by committing faux pas?
I can assure you of this: Your dream clients are far more forgiving than you might think. In fact, they're going to respect you for coming to them and trying something you've never done before. Just think about how that speaks to the level of service you're willing to deliver; what it says about the lengths you're willing to go to, just for the chance to serve them.
If you were your ideal customer, would you be more impressed with the brand that tries a new technology and fumbles a few times, or with the one that refuses to step out of its own comfort zone?
I think we both know the answer to that question.
When my partner left How to Build a Brand, I was mortified at the thought of public speaking and shooting video. I had been the 'behind the scenes' strategiser, and had never seen myself as the face of the business. However, I did what I had to do in order to reach you and now I can't imagine being any happier with my brand, its mission or its processes.
You can do the same thing. You can take risks and discover new territories for serving your target audience. Not sure where begin? Start by talking to them, following them online, and reading their posts and comments on different platforms. You'll get clues about how they prefer to consume information and interact with others.
Here are just a few of the technologies (new and not-so-new) they might be using:
- Virtual Reality (VR): A technology that puts people in a virtual 3D environment; for demonstrating products, giving tours and more.
- Augmented Reality (AR): This superimposes an image onto the view through a mobile device. If you sell home furnishings or fashion accessories (or any other visual-dependent product), think about how this could work for your brand.
- Web Conferencing: This technology allows numerous parties to join an online meeting simply by clicking a link. Parties from around the world can connect and speak in real time to one another.
- Mobile Apps: Mobile applications are designed to run on mobile devices, and have smaller scopes of function, as compared to those for PCs. Because many consumers rely solely on phones and tablets to access information, they will actively look for (and expect) apps from the companies they deal with.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): This is a programming technology that allows people to ask questions of computing systems and get immediate answers, as if they're talking to a real human that 'learns' when new information is encountered. Businesses use it to answer customers' questions, to automate processes, to customise experiences and to arrange unstructured data in ways that are useful to the business and its followers.
- Social Media: I think by now we all know what social media is, and each platform offers a unique set of benefits. The key is to determine if your ideal customer is visually stimulated (Instagram), short on time (Twitter), highly interactive (Facebook), digitally inspired (YouTube)…and then go to that platform and find evidence that they really are hanging out there.
- Live Video: Available on Facebook and other apps, live video has changed the way consumers absorb digital media. Not only can they see and hear you in real time, they can participate by commenting and reacting.
- Text Campaigns: Because so many people are relying on mobile devices to consume information and communicate, text makes the most sense to them. Not every consumer prefers text; however, it seems to be the preference for those who are 'glued to their phones.'
- Mobile-Friendly Websites: Again, we come back to mobile devices. If a website is designed without being viewable on mobile devices, you may be losing a portion of your audience—particularly if they're not researching brands on their MACs or PCs.
So what is the real cost of fearing technology? Is it simply that your brand will be left behind? Or that you'll be viewed as old-fashioned?
The problem runs far deeper than that. You could permanently damage your brand's reputation with the people who mean the most to it. You could alienate them, send them running to the competition…and literally never see them again. In truth, your brand could ultimately fail—all because you didn't adopt a technology you'd rather not use.
Still bashful about technologies that are unfamiliar to you? Then join the How to Build a Brand group and talk to the entrepreneurs and business owners there. Many of them have already used the technologies your customers prefer, and they can offer valuable advice so you'll feel more confident in your branding strategy. Simply click here to join. It's FREE!