What Is a Brand?
Brand is an often misunderstood term in marketing. At its essence, your company’s brand is the promise that you make to customers. When customers choose your brand over another, they expect your company to deliver a distinctive level of quality, value, and service because they have placed trust in the promise your brand makes.
From a technical, nuts and bolts standpoint, your brand is the collection of images, words, and experiences that define your company and tell its story in a compelling, clear, and concise way. Your brand must be concise since today’s audiences are busy and have short attention spans. For home care agencies, simplicity is key because potential clients are already overwhelmed with the task of caring for an elderly loved one and finding help. The last thing that potential client needs is a brand that hits them over the head with too much information and an unclear message.
A home care agency’s branding is often the first thing that a potential client will come into contact with when researching home care solutions, and it should do a few things:
- Reflect your uniqueness. Home care is a crowded marketplace, so your brand shows potential clients who you are and how you’re different immediately.
- Tell a story. But not just any story, your brand must reflect your mission and your niche. Talk about who you are and why you do what you do.
- Be simple and consistent. Oftentimes, companies take a scattered approach to branding and try to be everything to everyone, which can lead to confusion as opposed to conversion. Keep your branding and messaging simple and consistent across all your marketing materials so that when clients see it, they know who you are and what you’re about instantly.
Building and managing a business within the aging care industry is different than in any other industry. As we’ve noted in the past, aging care has always been and remains an at-need service, meaning that traditional outbound advertising typically has little effect. It is only when a client realizes a need for aging care that he or she will actively seek out services, thus starting the customer experience lifecycle. It is when this lifecycle begins that your agency’s brand and reputation are of the utmost importance.
Millions of people use Caring.com to research aging care choices for their loved ones, and visitors to the site are able to select for themselves which agencies they’d like to talk to about in-home care. Caring.com measures on-page conversions—how many people looking at a home care listing on Caring.com actually submit an inquiry form. They recently compared their results for various franchise networks, aggregating all listings for all franchises on Caring.com. Those home care companies that were actively advertising their brands on Caring.com saw an on-page conversion rate of around 5%. For every 100 people who look at a listing (for any of their franchises), five submit a form.
However, for home care companies identical in every way but not doing brand advertising, that conversion rate was 1%. For every 100 people who look at a listing for a franchise from one of these companies, only one chooses to submit an inquiry form.
Reputation Breathes Life into Your Brand
If your brand is what gets you noticed, your reputation is what gives your brand life and longevity. The number one reason people select a home care agency is because that agency has a stellar reputation. Your organization’s reputation is part of your branding, but so much more. Reputation reflects your story, how you deliver services, and how well your processes work for your clients and customers.
When most people think of a business’s reputation, they think of customer service. We all have stories of customer service nightmares. It’s those stories that help solidify a company’s poor reputation in clients’ minds. But customer service can do the opposite as well. Customer service is not a one-time event, but a process, and it permeates all components of the business. A friendly, helpful attitude, efficient and respectful conflict resolution, and a desire to go above and beyond to meet and exceed clients’ needs are the elements of not only excellent customer service, but a strong reputation foundation for your business as well.
For more information about the importance of branding and reputation for your business, view this recording of our recent webcast.
Building and maintaining your brand and your company’s reputation requires the development of an effective communication strategy that is consistent over different media and over time. If you’re looking to grow your brand and build a solid, positive reputation for your agency, contact the branding, marketing, and aging care experts at corecubed.