Your brand is not a product, it’s not a service and it’s not a logo.
Your brand is the total experience a person has with a business, organisation, product, service and even a person or country – it’s about storytelling, experience and emotion.
Ignore this and you’re left with nothing more than a commodity.
Your brand can be a powerful voice in the environment in which it operates. Use that voice for good and you create a brand people won’t ignore for long.
“People want to do business with you because you help them get what they want. They don’t do business with you to help you get what you want.” – Don Crowther
Marketing hype might bring customers to your door but if your brand does not connect in any meaningful way they won’t stay long.
Words are cheap and marketing hype soon wears off, so what’s left has to be worth staying for.
As in life, the worst thing you can do is start a relationship with a lie.
In today’s world brands, just like politicians and institutions, are mistrusted by default and, in so many cases, rightly so.
“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
Be honest, be open and be helpful. Get naked with your brand and start connecting. Wear your brand heart on your sleeve.
The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.
Some brands understand the power of generosity; they understand the power of tapping into a common interest rather than self-interest. Unfortunately many new businesses still think that a free ‘trail month’, or ‘discount coupon’ offer is enough. It’s not. These are clearly self-serving marketing tricks and your customers know it.
Today brand generosity means going the extra mile by giving time and effort to add real value to people’s lives.
We all like to be part of something (most of us anyway). To be part of a cause or a community whether it be virtual, digital or physical. We want to be engaged, we want to contribute to something meaningful.
We don’t want to be cynically manipulated. Too many brands, like politicians, sell to us behind a mask of sincerity; they don’t walk the talk and the bigger the brand the more effective the mask.
As you build your business and your brand build it on honesty, compassion, generosity and a common interest, rather than self-interest, and you will then turn customers into collaborators. Your cause will become theirs.
In the world of social media brands have nowhere to hide. Brands that tell a genuine honest story build a genuine following.
People see through the fake brands, the bandwagon brands and the dishonest brands. Honesty is sustainable.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos
Here are 7 ways to connect rather than ‘con’-nect with your customer.
Success belongs to brands that dare to be honest, open and transparent and who truly embrace and inspire their customers.
- Don’t ignore your customers or your followers
- Don’t answer criticism with silence
- Don’t talk at – talk to
- Don’t focus on self-promotion
- Don’t manipulate – inspire
- Don’t try to take over conversation – engage with it
- Be social in its true sense and your business will follow
Remember: Passion persuades, but clarity converts.