So you reckon a click-and-mortar strategy is for you? Well ask yourself this question: What do you expect your brand to gain by the move? For dot-coms, establishing consumer and market trust might be a key objective. For brick-and-mortar companies, locking out online competitors might be the objective.
Those objectives can’t be compared with each other. Nor can their achievement be easily ascertained or measured. But the goal of both entities is that they derive benefit from the new strategy. And one of several key areas of benefit lies in brand synergy.
Relationships With Customers and Partners
Brand diversity is reflected in your brand’s capacity to deploy all its communication channels at optimum points in each consumer’s life cycle — the ability to maintain the brand’s relationship with the customer, offline or online, in a timely, customer-sensitive, and intelligent manner.
That doesn’t mean overexposure, such as plastering a logo all over the place. It’s about developing a strategy that introduces the brand to the consumer meaningfully, in all situations, and in ways appropriate to each customer’s level of familiarity with and need for the brand.
This means achieving brand synergy, the compatible marriage between your brand’s identity and consumers’ preconceptions or understanding of it.
With click-and-mortar partners working on the task, cohesive brand handling can grow this synergy. Competent, cohesive brand handling induces the sum of the benefit to both entities to be greater than the benefit a brand enjoys alone (offline or online).
Here lies a click-and-mortar benefit. On the Net you chiefly use just one sense — sight — right? You can use your hearing, too, but the Net mostly communicates visually. This limitation underlies a clear benefit for an online brand assuming an offline partner or operating strategy.
The real-life store can appeal to all the senses. The Starbucks environment, for example, not only appeals to the eye with couches, lamps, and tables but also creates olfactory appeal and taste experiences. You know when you’re passing by a Starbucks cafi without looking at it. So the Starbucks brand appeals to all five senses.
And here’s the other side of the coin. What’s the value to the user of interacting with the brand in partnered offline/online environments? Cohesive brand handling is the customer’s minimum expectation. Consumers assume they’ll have their preconceptions about a brand satisfied. If they’re surprised, they need to be able to process the unexpected within the parameters established by your brand’s lexicon and personality. What’s a brand’s gain in suddenly becoming unrecognizable by defying expectation?
Will, therefore, a click-and-mortar setup make your brand easier to find and acquire from your customers’ perspectives? Faster to use? Cheaper? More convenient? More informative? Will it offer a larger selection? Become more relevant and customized?
One or more of these points must be apparent for there to be increased value for your brand in transitioning to a click-and-mortar existence.
Concentrate on the Objective
Your brand’s goal should be to add value to your customer’s relationship with the brand. And the only way to ensure that this happens is to identify the increased consumer values you want the partnership to achieve, then track their evolution during the transformation process.
Your brand-building efforts need innovation that enhances your customers’ relationships with the brand. And the click-and-mortar principle expands your brand’s opportunities for exposure, communication, and gain. But concentrate on objectives.
Will your brand click with a click-and-mortar environment?
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