FIVE WAYS TO TRANSFORM INTO AN AUTHENTIC BRAND THAT PEOPLE WILL LOVE
1. Brand Story
Telling a brand’s story is key to branding and a fundamental element of any marketer’s playbook.
Rewrite a brand’s story by going back to its roots. You have to feel the passion that initially formed the brand, then work your story from there. People love passion and, in return, will become passionate about your brand.
A brand story is more than content and a narrative. The story goes beyond what’s written in the copy on a website, the text in a brochure or the presentation used to pitch to investors or customers. Your story isn’t just what you tell people it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends.
2. Cause to support
There's a strong connection between entrepreneurship and giving. The challenge is to make your socially responsible efforts a winning proposition for the nonprofit group you support, the community and your business.
According to a survey, almost two-thirds of respondents said they actively seek out brands that support certain causes, and they’d be more likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause they agree with.
Instead of writing a big year-end donation check or blindly giving a product away for every product purchased, ensure the cause you support is fully integrated into your brand’s messaging and can only be seen as truthful. Base it on a logical proposition that creates an immediate emotional connection with your audience. Plan for it to be expandable as your service or product offering diversifies.
Researching commodity brand sensations, I stumbled upon a slew where the small delights they offered were bigger than the actual product. A great example is pet supply startup Chewy, which takes delighting its customers’ love of their pets to heart. The brand sends out handwritten cards, including the customer’s pet’s name and provides a 24-hour hotline for customers to ask pet-food-related questions. How impactful can the brand trait of simple customer delight exactly be? Well, Chewy was acquired by PetSmart.com for $3.35 billion in 2017, which was a record for an e-commerce company.
The core idea of consistently providing small but thoughtful delights is often the only thing setting brands apart.
If you’re operating in a rather mundane segment, think about which part of your audience is not having fun, then catch them when and where they least expect it and shake them up through delightful surprises. Start with email and slowly work through your entire communication chain. One interaction at a time will make your brand more loved.
Nowadays, brand transparency isn’t an option—it’s a requirement. Customers want to know everything about the products they buy—where they come from, who makes them, what they’re made of…and they want to know all about the companies they buy from too.
Label Insight had a study of more than 2,000 customers that found that 94% of people are more likely to be loyal to brands that are completely transparent. The study also found that 56% of people would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent and 73% of people would pay more for a product that was completely transparent. Transparency is particularly important to millennial moms between the ages of 18 and 34, with 86% of this demographic claiming that transparency was important to them.
Brand transparency therefore not only helps to attract new customers, but it also helps to retain existing ones by fortifying trust and increasing lifetime loyalty.
Aligning a brand empathetically with someone else’s dream is a move I saw many startups do. Often going after an initial niche audience, their entire messaging became aligned around their tribes’ point of view. They exclude everyone else and thrive.
Planet Fitness is a poster child for leading with solidarity. “We don’t judge” is the motto, and “judgment-free zone” is the verbal brand glue that holds its 1,300-plus franchise locations together. Occasional free donuts at the fitness center entrance and tweets about sweets connect more than 6 million members that would otherwise not have easily found their tribe in a traditional gym.
Perhaps it’s time for your brand to wholeheartedly support your tribe’s feelings and actions and, in turn, become one of them.
Forming, not forcing, a friendship with your audience is the best way to create long-term brand love.
Are you ready to have an authentic brand?