Back in the “olden days,” business owners built relationships with their customers on a personal level. The customer came into the business, and the owner and customer would chat face to face. They knew each other by name and all about each other’s families, jobs, and lives. As a result, customers felt very loyal to the businesses they frequented.
Fast forward to today’s digital world. Because a lot of business is now done online, there is a greater distance between businesses and their customers. However, customers still want to feel connected to the businesses they support. They still want their experience to feel personal. So how do we build these connections and relationships without actually doing business in-person?
The best way to build relationships, connections, and brand love between you and your customers is through brand affinity. Brand Affinity is an emotional connection between business and customer based on more than just product loyalty, where a customer keeps coming back because they simply like our product. It is building relationships based on shared values and trust; it is making customers continue to give their business even though there may be a better offer from someone else because they love our brand and what it stands for. It is connecting with customers on a deeper level. It is making people fall in love with your brand and what it offers. Brand affinity is what makes people recommend a business to their friends and family or to advocate for a brand on social media. It helps build a solid client base and then retains those customers through customer satisfaction and loyalty.
So how do you build Brand Affinity with your clients? Here are ten ways to build brand love with your dream customers:
Know your customers: You need to know who your customers are, and I mean really know them. Know them as more than customers. Who are they when they aren’t your customers? How do they spend their time? What do they want, need, care about? Getting to know your client base on this deeper level allows you to make your product more authentic and relevant to them. You can make it personal for them. You can speak to them in their own language. There are a number of ways to collect this information including customer interviews and surveys, social media, and CRM data.
Stay connected: Communication is one thing that is so easy to do in today’s digital world. There are numerous ways to stay connected to your customers: print media, email marketing, social media, phone calls, text messages, etc. You can also offer them promotional products. Did you know that 82% of people who received a promotional product from a business reported a favorable impression of that business? 90% could recall the brand associated with the promotional product, and 85% actually did business with the brand that gave them the promotional product. Get your brand name and image out there.
Develop a personality and voice for your brand: It is hard for consumers to connect with a faceless corporation. You need to give your brand a life of its own. Make it seem almost human by itself. Your brand needs to be a real, living embodiment of your ideas and values. This can be conveyed through visual images and the messages you use to stay connected with your target audience. Give your customers something they can relate to and connect with. Everyone associated with your brand--from the people watering the plants to the people packing boxes, to the folks in marketing creating your next campaign--needs to embody this personality and voice.
Understand your brand associations: What are people saying about your brand? How are you perceived by your target audience? How are people interpreting the personality of your brand? How is what is being said about your brand aligns with your goals and audience needs? It is important to listen to your community and customers to understand how your brand is being received and viewed. If you are not being perceived in the way you would like, then do something about it! Evaluate what is being said, decide what you want to be said, and then make a plan to demonstrate that ethos in every aspect of your business. Make changes to ensure your brand is being received by your target audience in the way you want it to be. Word of mouth plays a major role in business today; make sure the words being spread about your brand are positive and what you want to be spreading.
Show your values: Actions speak louder than words. Instead of telling your customers what you stand for, show them! Prove you live up to the standards you have set for your brand. Get involved in your community. Work with non-profits and charities. Provide a product that reflects what you believe. Brand affinity is building relationships with your clients based on shared values; show them what you value by acting on them.
Keep your customers informed: Make your customers feel like they are a valued part of your team. Communicate with them about everything that is going on with your brand from changes you are making to new products you are launching. If your brand has big news, share that with your customers. As was mentioned above, it is so easy to communicate with our clients. Use that to your advantage.
Utilize the power and reach of social media: Social media is a great way to supplement your marketing efforts and gauge how your brand is being received by your target audience. Social media platforms are great places to learn what is being said about your brand and products. It takes customer service to a whole new level. You can interact directly with your customers. Customers love knowing they have direct access to your business when they have questions or concerns. It is also a place where customers can share your brand with their followers, widening your reach.
Be real and authentic: Be human. Customers will trust you more knowing the person behind the brand. Show them what goes on behind the scenes. Own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for what is happening with your business, good or bad. Don’t promise customers more than you can provide. You have to earn your customer’s trust and do everything you can to keep it. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to repair.
Be different, but relatable: You have to stand out from your competition. Find a unique selling point that only you can offer to customers. But don’t go so far as to be different and unique that you alienate your target audience. They still need to find a common ground with your brand and its values.
Don’t rely on short-cuts or tricks: Many people claim to know the “tricks” for attracting and keeping customers, but true trust and consumer relationships can’t be built on deception. You need to be true to who you are and what you want your brand to be. If your customer feels deceived or tricked, you will lose their trust and loyalty. They will tell others not to trust your brand. It is better to focus on offering irresistible value and personality to your customers.
And just like that, you’ve created a connection between your brand and your customers that will ensure they will keep coming back to you again and again. Need help engaging your community with your brand? Visit rocketsciencebranding.com and see what we have to offer! Reach out with any questions. We’d love to help!