As the saying goes, "Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind", it is essential to remember that a brand is not about the products or the services a business offers but a collection of perception and reputation which could potentially develop a unique identity in the consumers' minds. Given the diverse dynamics that has already extended across the contemporary global markets, treating consumers as mindless moths with shiny object syndrome can be a critical mistake for the business holders. Today, "brand-building" has become an indispensable practice for businesses that are aware of the chromatic customer segmentations and are willing to cater with "personalized" product or service positionings. Activities undertaken by businesses to actively shape a perception and build a reputation around it fall under brand-building. Brands typically do this through strategic communication and engagement across all touchpoints to the consumers.
Beyond exquisite logos and catchy slogans, brands make their ways into our minds through exclusive formation of a character that may take place in many forms. As individuals, we work on our character and identity to stand out from the rest. The same strategy applies for a brand. In today's market, if a brand desires to stand out, it needs to be unique through distinct characterization. It all begins with building a powerful brand identity that is not only dependent on the visible elements such as logo, posters, website, or other branding materials, but relied on maximum number of forms of communication through which the business sends messages to the target audience. The degree to which a brand effectively leverages each of these aspects can largely impact its success.
Hence, as a key component to brand-building, brand communication has become one of the most important aspects of a company's marketing strategy. Although traditional forms of brand communication via TV, radio or newspaper advertising achieved great success in the past, their effectiveness has been decreasing drastically in today's more customer-oriented business environment, which primarily centers the digital sphere. From the way people now seek information, communicate, and eventually decide for or against purchasing – brands now have relatively lesser power to influence or manipulate discussions regarding them in the digital space. Customers have access to the views and reviews of other buyers, which greatly impact their buying choices. To cope with the new challenges of this digital age, all the major businesses are adapting to the new communication tools to turn their one-time customers into dedicated brand patrons.
As internet connectivity penetrates in every region of the world, it is no surprise to believe that more than one out of every four people you see around you is an online shopper[i]. With the rise of e-commerce, in 2021, the number of digital buyers reached at 2.14 billion, which makes 27.6 percent of the total 7.74 billion people in the world[ii]. To communicate with the vast pool of emerging online customers, many market leaders are adapting to new tools of communication for helping their marketing team to support sales and generate awareness about their brand. Along with the traditional tools, marketers are highly relying on advertising, sales promotion, effective story-telling, public relations, social media, interactive marketing and other web tools for branding.
Recently, Uber has introduced 'RideCheck' in its app, a digital system designed to trace unusual events, i.e.: long stops or car crashes, to ensure passengers' and drivers' safety. foodpanda's alluring offers, coupons and incentives for its customer base through digital marketing are playing a huge role in their consistent success as a reliable brand. Daraz Bangladesh's various digital service integration for customers and affiliates, backed by advanced digital communication tools also curates a smoother online shopping experience, improving its brand loyalty. These are some of the real-time examples of successful brand communications that potentially lead to successful customer retention.
Besides, different social media channels allow brands to reach a wider base of the target audience, while promoting their products and company values through videos, ads, photos, videos, and other contents. For example, one in three consumers use social media to learn about or discover new products, services or brands[iii]. Additionally, one in four also use social media to purchase products[iv], while 77 percent customers will choose a brand over its competitors after a positive experience with it on social media[v]. Thus, businesses that want to build their brand according to the next wave of digital transformation, must ensure that they are adequately equipped to reach the vast potential customers using social media platforms.
However, only social media presence would be like chasing one's tail if the brands fail to create effective narratives to drag the fleeting attention of the right audience, and delivering them the right messages about the products or services. We should not forget that, with the changing customer behavior, today the marketers are not just competing with other marketers but more importantly, they are competing with the last impression any customer had with them. One research found that, 80% of consumers are reported being more likely to purchase when marketers personalized the experience.[vi] Hence, whether a customer will feel engaged with the brand or not depends upon the extent to which the company is able to create narratives in which the customers are at the center, and are not constantly told what the company offers, rather aptly provided with what THEY need.
Certainly, no business wants its customers to click their advertisement, visit the website, make a purchase, and then never return. Therefore, the necessity to turn any customer into a loyal customer arises once the connection is created with the appropriate narratives offered to the customers utilizing various communication platforms. No matter where a customer first contacts, they are bound return to the brand they feel "belonging to" and "cared by". Thus, a brand that is able to establish a unique voice and tone by utilizing all of its modern communication tools like social media, public relations, apps and other web tools, can impact the future in this rapidly changing digital world. And, it is the success of our brands that will generate revenue and create employment to fulfill the prediction of Bangladesh reaching the world's 28th largest economy by 2030.
Md. Tajdin Hassan, Chief Marketing Officer, Daraz Bangladesh