Building a strong, recognizable brand helps multi-level marketing (MLM) companies attract new customers, recruit independent sales representatives, and achieve growth goals. A strong brand unifies how the company and its products are presented to sales representatives and customers – with the brand integrated throughout materials, marketing, websites, and shopping experiences. The good news is that your MLM software can provide a consistent, end-to-end engine for building and conveying your brand.
More than a logo
Today’s brands are more than a company’s logo or product portfolio. A brand is “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, and organization.” Essentially, it’s your company’s personality in the eyes of your MLM sales representatives and their customers. And every interaction they have with your company impacts their perceptions.
MLM companies must view their brand as a highly valuable asset that provides the foundation for independent sales representatives to build and grow their businesses. An established, recognizable MLM brand amplifies the company’s sales representatives by creating positive “word-of-mouth” among customers who serve as influencers within their network of family and friends. At the same time, MLM sales representatives are a primary element of the brand itself, creating and delivering the customer experience.
Consistency is key
Differentiating your company, its products and services, and shopping experiences is the single most important thing your brand does. For MLMs, a strong brand goes beyond basic awareness to create customer preference over other shopping options, including traditional retail.
Consistent branding delivers the same messaging, tone, and visual “look and feel” across every touchpoint MLM representatives and their customers have. This includes in-person events, online interactions, and product or service experiences. Everything adds up. The cumulative impact of positive experiences strengthens recognition, purchase preferences, and long-term loyalty. At the opposite end of the spectrum, inconsistent messaging, tone, and visuals create confusion among representatives and customers.
By definition, the direct selling business model creates strong, personalized relationships between sales representatives and their community of customers. And positive, personalized experiences – in-person, online, and via social media – build increased brand loyalty. Loyal customers are five times more likely to make repeat purchases, nine times more likely to try new products, and seven times more likely to forgive brands for mistakes.
A strong, consistent brand’s value goes straight to the bottom line. Companies that consistently present their brand achieve 33 percent higher revenues, on average.
6 steps to creating a strong MLM brand
Whether you’re building an MLM brand from scratch or refreshing your existing one, here are six steps to help ensure your brand is working hard for your company, your representatives, and your customers.
1. Identify and understand your target markets.
Always start with a deep understanding of the “who.” For MLMs, this is doubly important because you’re not only identifying who your potential buyers are but also your potential sales representatives.
No matter what type of products or services your company sells, everyone is not a target market. Go deeper to determine specific market segments – the more precise, the better. When you focus your efforts on a few defined customer segments, you’re able to appeal more directly through products, service, messages – and brand.
Using a combination of external research, including focus groups and rep and customer interviews, as well as reporting data available through your MLM software platform, create a profile of your target segments that includes the following:
- Demographic attributes that explain who your targets are. (Examples include age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, education levels, and income.)
- Psychographic attributes that explain why your target becomes a customer or representative. (Examples include hobbies, interests, attitudes, values, or spending habits.)
2. Define your desired brand image
Once you have a clear profile of who you’re targeting in mind, spend time thinking about what you want your target segments to believe about your brand and how you want them to feel as they engage with your representatives, products or services, and your website. In effect, your brand is your company’s personality.
Choose a tone that fits your brand. Tone is also known as your brand’s “voice.” What do you want your tone to convey? An MLM brand’s tone can be friendly, informative, conversational, expert, or technical. The most important thing is to know what you want it to be, and then consciously and consistently focus on conveying that tone across internal and external messages. To help ensure consistency, create a message framework to serve as a guide for how core message points should be positioned in order to effectively tell your brand’s story.
3. Create your look and feel
Your brand’s visual identity pairs with your tone to deliver your messages to your target audiences. Visible elements of your brand include a company logo, color palette, and overall design style.
Color choice is an extremely important psychological brand element. According to the Institute for Color Research, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds – and up to 90 percent of their initial assessment is based on color. Equally important are the images you choose to feature on marketing materials, websites, and product packaging. Not only should they reflect your target audiences – but they should also include an aspirational aspect to help your audiences see themselves as they would like to be.
Two elements of your visual identity require extra consideration.
- Logo: Your logo will serve as your company’s visual identity and should appear on everything related to your business. In order to establish your brand identity, it’s important to create a logo you will use for a long time. Create a few designs and get feedback from your target audiences.
- Product packaging: Think of your product packaging as an essential part of your customer experience. Of course, packaging serves a practical purpose to protect the product and provide information to the buyer. It also conveys your brand identity, providing visual cues for who the product is for and reinforcing the customer’s buying decision.
4. Build your web experience
For MLM companies, your website brings the elements of your brand together, often delivering the all-important first impression for both potential sales representatives and customers. Choose MLM software that enables you to create and execute the appropriate web experiences by audience, including integrated functionality like a commission engine, genealogy management, inventory management, reporting, and a mobile app.
It all starts with designing your corporate website, which can then be “replicated” to create an unlimited number of sites for each of your sales representatives. Built via your MLM software, each replicated website will have a unique URL or web address, providing representatives with a turnkey website they can tailor to fit their business while staying within the brand parameters you set.
Most importantly, the replicated websites should provide robust e-commerce capabilities, such as shopping cart, payment processing and sales tax calculation, additional product suggestions, and shipping fulfillment. With 70 percent of Americans expected to shop online in 2021, today’s customers have high expectations. Make sure your MLM software is keeping you ahead of the curve with capabilities like shop-by-category functionality, the ability to bring your branding into the shopping cart experience, and the option to tag products to call-out best sellers, new items, discounts, and pre-orders.
MLM websites must also provide a user-friendly experience for sales representatives as a critical element of the overall brand. Make sure your MLM software can enable:
- A rep portal with the integrated functionality and tools sales representatives need to build and grow their businesses, including e-commerce functionality and genealogy, inventory, and customer profile management.
- Accessible enrollment options that make it easy for customers to sign up to become a sales representative.
- Integrated onboarding that provides training and support resources designed to help new representatives get started and experience success.
5. Monitor and measure
Creating a strong MLM brand isn’t a once and done task. Ongoing monitoring is essential to fully optimize your brand and ensure it’s still clicking with your target audiences. Leveraging the integrated reporting features within your MLM software, tie website traffic totals and search volumes to business metrics like sales volume, average transaction values, and repeat purchases to gain valuable brand insights. In addition, make it a regular practice to check in with your independent sales representatives and target customer audiences via surveys or focus groups to gauge brand perceptions and impact.
6. Integrate your brand everywhere
Put brand building front and center. Establish branding guidelines that document your decisions and create a map for your team to follow. This is important not just for consistency but also to help you make thoughtful decisions about how your brand should evolve.
Next, set your organization’s sales representatives up to be powerful ambassadors and advocates for your brand. Make brand training a central part of onboarding and ongoing training, as well as representative communications and sales meetings. Remember, a strong brand is more than a logo. Provide guidance on the core messages and values you’re counting on representatives to deliver. Recognize and reward representatives who exemplify the brand’s personality as they interact with customers and sponsor new representatives.
ByDesign specializes in helping MLM companies create and deliver their brand experiences through our complete ecosystem of solutions and trusted partners. Tap into our 20 years of experience in the MLM industry to help you build your brand and expand your business. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.
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