Most of the choices we make every day are based on how we feel, how we see ourselves and the people around us. The same principle applies to our brand choices although many business owners think the product features are the king.
Brands are no different from people.
The more personal relationship between a consumer and a brand is, the stronger the brand gets and the more loyal the consumer becomes.
Associate your brand and product with positive emotions
Have you ever found yourself avoiding people who are constantly negative?
I believe you will agree with me that spending time in a positive environment is important for us to fulfill ourselves and achieve happiness in our lives. We prefer to surround ourselves with positivity, be it through people we know or experiences we have.
And it’s no different when it comes to brand marketing — positive emotions that a brand conveys through its message and experience have a far greater influence on customer loyalty than trust.
These positive emotions help to create a comfort zone for customers in which they become more trusting and loyal towards your brand.
For instance, if you are a start-up pitching to investors and trying to raise funds, you can draw a positive image of the future by emphasizing the opportunities that come with your company rather than the difficulties that need to be faced. You can also show them how your customers love you through genuine customer reviews. This is going to instill hope and excitement in investors which will then lead to a higher chance of investment for your company.
Understand the values of your audience and find your tribe
As people, our values define our social identity while showing what we believe in and how we see the world.
However, this is not enough. We need to validate our values and belief system with the opinions of others. This is one of the reasons why the global community has flocked to social media platforms where they could find like-minded people who share similar values.
“Of the consumers who said they have a brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason. That’s by far the largest driver. Meanwhile, only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand as a reason for having a relationship.”
Source: CEB research via HBR
So, the two things a brand needs to do is to define a set of values that you share with your audience, and then find the tribe which your brand belongs to based on those values.
Being a part of a tribe also helps with building a transparent customer service turning your vulnerabilities into strength. How? Tribes are more forgiving because you are one of them and you are all fighting for the same cause. A tribe works for all and tries to create shared excellence.
Be consistent in your communication to build trust
Personally, I believe consistency has become a curse for many brands because the traditional definition of brand consistency doesn’t match the capacity of today’s technology.
What’s more, such a strict approach has caused many brands to create almost religious brand guidelines that have made them irrelevant.
Today, we have to talk about a completely different type of consistency; we have to be consistent on an individual level. That means brands have to design diverse and rich marketing communications to convey their message based on personal experiences. With today’s technology, this is not so difficult but it all starts at the core of the business, developing an understanding at C-level.
Consistency means comfort — it prevents us from sudden changes that we don’t know how to cope with or even understand. For the same reason, rebranding projects are always dangerous and high-risk bets for businesses. However, start-ups can easily adapt themselves to the changes amongst their tribe and find the right language without risking their likeability.
By being consistent in your communication, both visually or verbally, you create a comfort zone in which your customers feel secure and the brand-customer relationship can thrive. You can later adapt the language once both customers and the brand understand each other well, and build loyalty organically.
Make it personal
According to a study from 2017, a lack of personalization is one of the main reasons customers switch providers.
Thousands of articles have already been written on the subject, and we all know that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. That’s why it’s important to focus on developing your brand on a more personal level.
Let’s think about friendships. Do you spend time or communicate in the same way with every single person in your friendship circle? I assume you don’t. And the same rule applies when it comes to communicating with your customers.
Brands have to move personalization beyond changing the customer name in newsletter copy or presenting trousers as an option because he or she was looking for matching shirts on their website. Personalization should be based on emotions, intentions, and personality.
This requires teams to know their tribe better and design their products, websites, stores, and experiences in a way they can adapt to individual needs and expectations.
Personalization not only makes people feel special but also makes them feel they matter. It makes the customer-brand relationship more genuine and human.
People see brands as humans. Therefore, the messages a brand conveys, the ads that a marketing team designs or the customer service being given should all be based on this fact. Brands have to recognize the emotions and how they affect the customer-brand relationship.
While working on your next marketing campaign, be it for investment or the launch of a new product, consider the emotions on three levels:
- How do customers/investors feel about the cause you stand for?
- What emotions do competitors try to create through their messages?
- How does your product make people feel and do you need to adapt that feeling to the emotions dominating your market?
Once you clarify the emotional aspect of your strategy, continue to add features, promises, and benefits which will then support your customers’ or investors’ decision-making process, to achieve your desired outcome.
Image source: Joel Filipe & Ben Sweet