How to Build Brand Name Recognition.
Quickly name brand-name clothing stores. Ann Taylor. Anthropologie. Limited Too. We know the names, but more than that, we know who and what they are and what to expect when we stop in to shop. What makes these retailers household names are some key ingredients you can use to make your store a retail favorite.
Always think of your store as a brand that must appeal to both children and adults in your community. Here are tips to help customers not only remember your name, but to think of you first when they need the products you sell and the service you provide:
- Define Your Brand. Describe your store in a few sentences. What defines and differentiates it. Is it price, product, location, service, décor, people, selection or all of these things? What is your business philosophy? What makes you unique? What are you most known for in your community? Asking key questions can get you focused on defining and building your retail identity.
- Establish Yourself As the Arbiter. You are the filter for you customers. It’s your job to stock your shelves with what you determine to be the best products out there. Customers look to you for that well-edited selection. While they could wade through an inexhaustible selection of apparel on the Web, they turn to you for guidance. That’s a big part of your brand.
- Create Your Look. Experts say it is important to elicit an "emotional" response while shopping. Do your customers "feel" better in your store? Your logo, signage, color scheme, window displays, employee apparel, shopping bags, gift tags, business cards and advertising must also coordinate to create a business that looks like it knows who and what it is, does, and offers. Put all these elements together. Look at them objectively. Are they all building the image and emotional response you want? If not, invest in change.
- Promote Your Brand. Your retail brand is more than a storefront; it’s a message. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Make sure that all the product in your store works together. And control your brand beyond your door. Keep the same graphic feel in your advertising and promotions so your customers will grow to recognize your brand instantly. Invest in good designers, copy and graphics. Build a Web site that expands your brand beyond your brick and mortar.
- Learn From The Leaders. What brands do you admire in both your business and your personal life? What stores are you most loyal to and why? There are tangibles and intangibles that build brand identity, from your storefront to the looks on the faces of the sales staff. Adapt what you like to build the brand for your store. Keep your vision and re-look at it regularly. Ask your customers what they like about their shopping experience, and what they wish you offered.
Once you have brand-name recognition in your first location, then think about expanding to another city or state, adapting the same model. The competition may be great, but the customers will continue to visit and buy from the brands they like and trust. What has been most successful in making your store a brand? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!