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3 Free Ways to Maintain Brand Authenticity and Increase Revenue

Uncertainty is a certainty for all of us right now, but we can sustain brand authenticity and consistency by seeking out customer feedback.

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If one thing is certain for businesses during COVID-19, it’s that little else is. Many businesses still have no guarantees about their supply chains, for example, and the pandemic has created a dramatic shift in what customers want and prioritize. So leaders understandably are wondering about the authenticity of their brands and how to maintain some consistency. It is possible to keep your brand voice clear, but it requires you to tap the relationship you have with your customers on a regular basis.

Tool 1: Feedback

By far the best tool at your disposal for maintaining brand authenticity now and for the future is to collect feedback from your buyers. This has always been important because biases can create gaps between what you think customers want and what they actually want. It’s more critical through these troubled times, however, because what customers think and prefer is changing so rapidly.

So whether you use a survey platform, do face-to-face inquiry or other tools, go talk to people. Yes, give them options and ask which ones they prefer. But then go deeper. Ask them what they’re feeling, how you can help, and what their top concerns are. 

Related: Why 2021 Should Be the Year Challenger Brands Embrace Trust

Tool 2: Education for informed choice

In return for their feedback, offer customers information of your own. Educate them about whether solutions work for your business and align with your values, for instance, or point them in the direction of good sources on topics like vaccination. As information changes or new sources become available, let customers know as early as you can so they have time to think about everything you share. Whatever you share, just use the style and platforms your customers already know and expect from you.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Authenticity to Build Customer Loyalty

Tool 3: Blending new demands/options with your original voice

Based on the feedback you get from your customers, you might find that people want something that’s very different than what you’ve done in the past. Don’t let this scare you. It’s OK for brands to let customers be brand drivers and initiate shifts, so long as it means you end up serving them better. Trust in your ability to evolve and see it as an opportunity.

As an example of successful customer-led adaptation, take a look at restaurants and hotels. Traditionally, both these industries have been more analog and relied on face-to-face engagement. But by listening to their customers, many facilities were able to provide new options, such as online booking or ordering and digital pay.

You might not have to go digital as your brand evolves with your customers. But if customers are more comfortable in that space, or if you’re in a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic that simply doesn’t allow you to work in the same way you did before, then digital transformation can create new, different touchpoints that enable you to engage more frequently and deeply than before. Your digital space can still look and feel similar to the physical space your customers are used to so that the sense of relationship and values continues. 

Making the system work

Our company provides a good example of how all of these strategies can come together for brand consistency. We have been mainly an in-person business for 45 years. But when COVID-19 hit, our team had to start working from home. We sent out some simple surveys to find out what our workers needed. Through that, we discovered that some potentially “big” issues weren’t as huge as we thought they’d be. It was easy, for example, to let workers check out a monitor or other equipment. Because our team had those basics and could work at a full capacity, they were able to keep our brand image going for customers. And once we had those main issues sorted out, we were able to reevaluate and see more clearly where we stood and what else we needed to do.

In your own business, the key is to use your ongoing conversations along with iteration. Your first step, for instance, might be just to see how customers generally feel about a change you want to make. The next might be to get some feedback on some specific options you’re looking at. Move quickly, but don’t make decisions all of a sudden based only on your gut. 

Related: To Build a Powerful Brand, Begin on the Inside and Move Out

Your story can survive, no matter where your buyers take you

Society is never static. The conundrum of brand consistency isn’t a new one. Many of the strategies that always have worked, such as talking to your customers, remain viable even in times of crisis. By being vulnerable and open-minded about your touchpoints and platforms, you can face your buyers’ new reality and evolve without completely sacrificing the history and story of your company. Do this in small, collaborative steps and you can transition to an incredibly bright future.

Sumit Aneja

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Sumit Aneja is the CEO of Voxco, an omnichannel software survey platform and a global market leader in the multi-modal survey software sector.