You may not be aware of this, but your brand is like an old fashioned courtship with your consumers. Your brand is the gentleman, trying hard to woo the lady (the consumer), and the lady is trying to decide if this is the man she will choose to bestow her loyalty. Mr. Brand must show Lady Consumer a unique and special personality if he wants to earn his ladies lasting interest.
Brands Are Human
A brand has to have a human identity. Creating brand identify includes lifestyle and culture. We create a brand persona so that the consumer has an affinity to our product and will select and stick with a brand for reasons beyond the price and feature set. Without an identity, a purchase is just a transaction, or to continue our courtship metaphor: Lady Consumer maybe just went out for a nice dinner and lost interest. In the end you could lose Lady Consumer to a gentleman that found a better way to build a deeper relationship for reasons beyond the immediate. Relationships are why you go to a certain store, read a certain newspaper or buy a particular brand of cereal. Your consumer should feel a connection with your brand over the competitors. Here are a few techniques:
1. Your tagline resonates with them
A tagline is your first clue to what a product is all about. If our Mr. Brand wears sandals and sunglasses all the time, we might guess that he cares more about the beach than fancy clothes. Nike has stuck with “Just Do It” for a lifetime, and with good reason, athletes all over the world use Nike faithfully because that motivational message speaks to them. Or perhaps we can talk about a tagline for women like L’Oreal. “Because You’re Worth It” makes consumers feel that this makeup is a treat and the tagline also creates an image for L’Oreal that it’s more than just makeup, it’s self worth.
2. Your brand offers an emotional component
Be it safety, fun, community, romance or whatever other emotion you evoke, your brand can position itself on a feeling. Starbucks is a household name, but what you may not realize is that they have branded themselves largely via the décor and physical set up in every location. Starbucks is open, comfortable and has plenty of seating, this atmosphere invites people to sit and chat or stay and work. Starbucks’ “feeling” is a community.
3. Your brand was used when you were growing up
A lot of us grew up with Crest toothpaste, I know it’s never let me down, it also hasn’t made dramatic changes, and I trust it. Lifelong loyalty in a consumer is about trust, that’s why so many brands have survived the years even with the multitude of competitors entering the arena.
4. Someone close to you uses your brand
It could be a parent, a spouse, a coworker or their roommate, but someone offered a trusted word of mouth recommendation to another consumer and that created a new customer! This is another reason why you need to always be courting your customers, to create brand ambassadors.
How to Take Care of Your Relationship
Let’s review some strong methods of gaining and keeping brand ambassadors. We now know how important your message is and that there are many ways to present that message, but we must next ask, “What does your brand do to keep your audience engaged?”
1. Social media
A good brand knows their audience, and one way of doing that is through a Facebook page or any other online community. You can ask opinions about your product or service, find out what people think through their comments (or even complaints), and even do polls to find out how you can improve or what people like most about your product. On top of that, social media is a great way to show your company’s personality to your customers and strengthen your relationship to them.
2. Reward referrals
Your customers can be the best marketers you have. Incentivize them! Offer them rewards for referrals. You can track referrals in many ways; there is software like Next Bee or Expect Referrals which both offer online platforms to track referrals. You can also hire contractors that build custom referral programs for your business; this could be easier for you in the long run, but also will be more costly.
3. A product they can trust
You have courted, constructed a personality, a brand, a lifestyle and now you have a relationship. You have obtained loyal brand ambassadors that are marketing for you and will never cost you as much as any of your other marketing expenses. This is the value of relationship building in marketing.
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