Car Quids - Brand in 2018

"Piccadilly washed out" by "Dun.can" licensed under CC BY 2.0

Building a brand will be more important than ever before in 2018.

The way that consumers seek information and purchase goods has changed drastically. Big players controlling search and discovery have moved the goalposts making it more difficult than ever before to be seen online. Here are three reasons why brand building will help you succeed in 2018.

The growth of Voice Search


The biggest online trend over recent years by far has been voice search. In fact, it is the fastest growing search medium online in 2018. With changes like this comes a great opportunity to shake up your approach to beat your competition.

Sadly, what this also means is that the likes of Google’s Home device and Amazon’s Alexa are now in even more control of what consumers are seeing and hearing.

Between them they control over a staggering 93% of the voice search market. Amazon Alexa alone is expected to bring in an additional $10 billion in revenue for Amazon by 2020.

'Voice is the next great interface'

Amazon’s Alexa director Daren Gill

That top of page result which we all strive for is going to disappear. We will no longer have a winner takes most. Voice search will be winner takes all. This sounds daunting, but all is not lost.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to build a brand through alternative channels and be top of mind before consumers even search.

When they do, you’ll be there waiting.

If you get into the head of your consumers, understand how they talk and ask questions about products, you will be there as the solution when they do look.

How can you be top of mind for consumers?

Develop a brand building process which makes you top of mind in your sector. Your business will prosper while your competitors are hidden in the search.

The diminishing returns of online adverts

Paid advertising can be an effective way to generate leads and sales for your business, in fact running ads alone used to be enough - but not anymore. Facebook increased prices by 171% in 2017, and unless you’re going to significantly increase your prices then you will steadily see your margin decline.

By relying on online adverts alone to generate sales, you will see your costs go up and conversions decrease as competition for space increases. Not only that, but while you’ve been focused on optimising your online adverts, you haven’t built up the organic traffic and branding to rely on if your ads do become unprofitable.

Nurture your audience and develop close relationships with them and step away from transactional messages. Remember, people don’t really like adverts, in fact 70% of people actually dislike mobile ads.

Build awareness and trust in your offering and you will have a sustainable source of new customers into the future. Just look at the likes of Monzo. You aren’t going to achieve the kind of growth that they have, by pushing the same sales messages again and again across different ad networks.

To develop this trust takes time. Businesses need to be seen in the real World, where this trust is built through an active brand building strategy.

Trust & Authenticity is more important than ever

Consumer trust is at an all time low. It was only last month that Unilever CMO Keith Weed spoke about this in his keynote speech at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, commenting that only “30% of people trust what they see on social media”.

Yet, it is still generally accepted that consumers need a certain number of touchpoints before making a purchasing decision, usually assumed to be between from 6 and 9. The frequency of each touch point doesn’t matter if there is no relationship or trust. This is particularly true for online businesses.

'Brands are the solution... brands are how you sort out the online cesspool.'

Eric Schmidt - CEO of Google

You can cut through this with authentic interactions. Focus on genuine connections with your audience and build that loyalty. Consumer loyalty means that search algorithms and rankings become less of a concern as consumers come straight to you.

Many brands have even started to use social ambassadors to achieve this with great success:

Trust comes from where and how your brand is seen. Context is king and being relevant is essential. Consumer confidence has and always will come while away from the computer. Nothing compares to seeing or interacting with an advert in real life.

Where is your brand seen?

Putting it all together

The key take aways to get ahead in 2018:

Be top of mind for consumers before they even start searching. Transactional relationships with consumers will become less effective, or require a significant increase in ad spend to maintain results.

Authentic and trust based connections are what will continue to grow revenues.

Being top of mind takes more than the standard thinking of a set number of touch points. Build trust wherever you can.

Finally, building a recognisable brand with high consumer confidence is still the realm of outdoor advertising.

How are you staying top of mind for your customers?

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