As a Millennial who just recently graduated from college with a degree in Art Marketing, you might say I’m quite well-versed on the importance of brand image in today’s social media-obsessed world. It’s 2017. Kids in elementary school have smartphones. People of all ages have Instagram accounts. It seems every day there’s a new sensational story about a company that’s zips across every timeline on every platform, which explains why social media has been deemed the “new hybrid element of the promotion mix.”
Okay, Ashley, that’s great, but you’re talking about brand image. What does social media and newer technology have to do with brand image?
In a recent study, the University of Kentucky discussed what they called “consumer-generated media.” They found that while social media plays such a large part in customer influence, managers are quick to underestimate its power due to the lack of literature on how to incorporate social media into their integrated marketing communications strategies. They say managers tend to shy away from the social media aspect because, for the most part, it’s out of their control. The study is quite extensive, but I recommend skimming through it if you have time.
So here’s my takeaway from their study: make your brand as visible as possible at all times. When a customer is in your shop, they shouldn’t be able to forget where they are at any point. Put your logo, your motto, and your color scheme onto and into everything you can. For most coffee shops and juice shops, the average customer will want to snap a picture of their purchase and share it on social media. No matter the platform, from Snapchat to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, if your logo is readily available, it’s more likely to make it into that social media post.
Personally, I love trying new places and sharing my finds with my social media followers – especially if the food/drink is delicious. Consider this post on my Instagram from December when I was visiting Nashville. Not only did I tag my location as Loveless Cafe, but I also tagged Loveless Cafe’s Instagram account in the picture, I included the “Welcome to Loveless Cafe” text on my menu, and I threw in some hashtags to expand my post’s reach to anyone searching those tags. Thanks to Loveless expanding their brand image to their menu, I was able to capture the yummy biscuits (and I mean yummy!!) as well as their name all in one shot. Now does this whole brand image/social media connection make sense? Good! (I’m assuming you said yes.)
Of course, social media is the epitome of a double-edged sword. While it’s great that your customers can easily locate you and share your brand image on social media, they can also use that to complain. It just takes that one customer whose pastry wasn’t warm enough or whose coffee wasn’t sweet enough to pollute your business with negative feedback. And you know what… it happens. That’s why you have to do everything in your power to keep your social media presence under control. Reply to those customers, ask them how you can make their next experience better. Show the public that you’re interested and are actively working to fix whatever problem they might have. But at the end of the day, don’t let the possibility of negative feedback keep you from slapping your logo on everything in sight.
For your convenience, I’ve created a list of items that are customizable and are guaranteed to expand your brand’s outreach. For the items that Your Brand Cafe does not offer, I urge you to do some searching around the Interweb to find a vendor who does offer them. Other than that, we hope you take interest in some of the products we currently offer or will offer in the future. Your business and brand deserve to be recognized on as large a scale as you can provide.
- Cups – Your Brand Cafe offers customized hot cups, cold cups, and food cups with order minimums as low as one case.
- Sleeves – Your Brand Cafe also offers customized coffee sleeves in white, kraft, and pink.
- T-Shirts – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Hats – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Aprons – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Paper Bags with Sticker Labels – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Pastry Bags with Sticker Labels – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Window Clings – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Menu – Coming Soon to Your Brand Cafe
- Pens/Pencils – Nothing makes a customer crave your food/drinks more than when they’re digging through their purse or desk drawer and come across a pen they stole accidentally took home with them during their last trip to your shop. When your employees are all using pens or pencils with your company’s logo imprinted on them, it also just gives your shop a more cohesive look.
- Pins/Magnets – If your customers are nerdy like me, they’ll love collecting any kind of wearable accessories that advertise your business.
- Floor Mats – Think about it. What’s the first thing your customer sees when they walk in the door?
- Napkins – Let them wipe their face on your logo… okay, so this description isn’t as great as the others. But napkins!!!
- Forks/Spoons/Knives – Yeah, that’s right – cutlery. Think about places like Menchie’s with their froyo cartoon character on the top of their plastic spoons or Sprinkles with their logo burned into their wooden forks.
- Receipts – Most small businesses tend to overlook this detail when it comes to receipts, but if you’re printing receipts on the daily, look into ordering customized receipt tape. It’s just an extra step in the branding game.
Ashley Arp is a content creator at Your Brand Café. After four years in the lovely mountain town of Dahlonega, Georgia, she returned home with two degrees: her Associate of Arts degree in Studio Art with a concentration in mixed media as well as her Bachelor of Science in Art Marketing. When she’s not working or traveling, you’ll probably find Ashley drinking too much coffee and watching 24-hour marathons of Law & Order: SVU.