Let’s recap: You started your company, created a product or service you’re proud of and clinched a good number of loyal customers, but still your audience, at this point, is mostly your family and friends and while it’s important support for any emerging entrepreneur, you need to expand on that sooner rather than later to keep your business afloat.
If you recognise the benefit of a digital presence, you probably already have a content distribution strategy or are developing one. While putting your strategy together, you may have come across the term “brand equity.”
Equity is a measure of how much a customer trusts your business, making it an important part of your content strategy.
It’s often mentioned relative to corporations and how they can command certain prices–think of juggernauts such as Apple or Hèrmes–because they are businesses that people have faith in.
So, what does this mean for you as a small business owner?
Aside from helping you adjust your strategy, finding ways to boost your brand equity can also help you decide which products or services you need to prioritise or need to promote more.
What is brand equity?
While brand awareness takes note of the exposure and recall of your business with customers, brand equity is a metric for the extra value which a customer assigns to a business. It’s made up of the following elements:
- Financial: Branding and media investment, market share etc.
- Strength: Accessibility, retention, customer loyalty etc.
- Consumer: Perception, sentiment, emotional connection etc.
To get specific figures on your brand equity, financial metrics (i.e. sales, numbers etc.) are easiest to quantify, while strength and consumer metrics are more difficult. Most of these metrics fall under social listening and, when collected and studied, can give you an idea of your business’ brand equity.
Thankfully, getting a pulse on these is relatively simple with tools like Buffer Publish and Sprout Social, which are designed to take note of customer conversations on the web.
Why is brand equity important for your business?
With all these aspects that make up brand equity, you may be wondering why you should bother taking note at all. As a small business owner, time to sit and take down all these things is hard to come by since you’re the one-person product development, marketing, customer relations, administrative and financial team behind your product or service.
What you need to remember is that all these elements make up the measure of how trustworthy people find your business. Learning whether it’s very little or heaps of extra value can affect how you tweak your content strategy, how you form messaging on social media or how you improve your services.
Your brand personality is also affected by how your brand equity measures up, as this experience supports how much faith customers have in your business’ claims. When brand equity is strong, customers are drawn to your new products, less likely to question price changes and more inclined to make repeat purchases.
Brand equity will help you convert more customers and boost sales because people tend to patronise businesses they feel they can trust.
5 ways your business can build brand equity
1. Start with your “why” or your brand purpose
A business that leads with the vision of who they are and who they want to be can make more informed decisions on everything from the content they release to the experience they create for their customers.
As the one-person champion behind your business, you’re lucky to be well-aware of what your business does and how you do it, but stopping to ask yourself why your business exists is definitely crucial and is a key step to build brand equity as it’s what customers will say when asked about your business.
Take the example of Hèrmes, a brand that employs a strategy based on three pillars: “Freedom of creation, the high standards of craftsmanship savoir-faire and the balance of the exclusive distribution network.”
Hèrmes is clear on what it aims to provide: Products that are of excellent quality. Artisans work on their products by hand to excellent quality criteria, and people can only access their products through specific channels to maintain these standards. Because of this, customers are willing to stay on lengthy waiting lists and eventually spring for correspondingly exorbitant prices.
In terms of creating your content, all your messaging can be more cohesive when it leads back to your business purpose.
2. Pay attention to your customers
Take note of which pieces and formats of content your target audience engages with most. Reactions from your target audience, whether they are existing customers or potential ones, can give you an idea of how much they trust your business.
Engagement here is as much the comments section as it is every other element on social media. Views, likes and shares matter for visibility while comments share people’s sentiments about your brand. How you use content can also boost awareness for your business.
When done with the customer in mind, quality, consistent content is a driver of growth.
3. Encourage positive associations
When marketing your business, you can adjust to what noticeably makes customers happier.
Whether you focus on what they like about the product or service, improve quality or harp on your brand’s credibility, you need to create content that highlights this. Observe what makes your customers return: Ease of access, price range, loyalty program design and product quality are only some traits which keep your customers coming back.
One example is Assembly Label, which amassed its 143,000 Instagram followers with its concept of a capsule wardrobe inspired by its coastal landscapes. They created a line of pieces in neutral colour palettes which more than 30,000 eco-and social-conscious Aussie millennials gravitated towards on Facebook alone.
The brand always returns to its promise of supporting communities and clothes designed to last–even accepting gently used Assembly garments, laundering, repairing and reselling them under another line.
Your customers’ belief in your brand can be integrated into your strategy. Your business has customers for good reason and you can remind them with the right content.
4. Create a gold standard customer experience
How you reply to customers’ comments, answer enquiries, or share content meeting their needs affect how much they trust your business.
You may not have a sophisticated customer experience strategy yet but the idea is straightforward–between your customers and the product, the experience stands to make or break the relationship based on how positive it was.
There are a handful of steps to create a plan that increases your likelihood to improve customer satisfaction; building this strategy is one crucial way to boost trust in your business.
5. Produce more targeted content
Customers interact with your business through your content, not your business plan. When you get to know your customer and use that knowledge to create pieces of engaging content, you show customers your business is attentive and isn’t afraid to adjust.
One way to do this is by sharing customer stories, because your ideal prospects want to hear from people (outside of your business) that your products or services actually work.
It’s reassuring for a potential new customer to find out that someone else had a positive experience with your business, especially if they are in the same industry or have a similar problem.
Seeing how you listen and feature what customers talk about in your content shows your business can be relied on to respond to their needs and provide genuine solutions.
Brand equity may seem daunting at first, but its intention is clear: to help you build customer trust in your business little by little through the content and interactions you share with them.
Trust is established through multiple avenues, but one efficient way for a small business to build it is through quality content.
Setting aside time to learn about the state of your brand equity and seeing how you can use your content to add a bit more faith in your business can help you make more efficient use not only of your content but your time and energy as well.
How can you develop your brand equity in your content? Let’s chat and find out.