Businesses that fail are the ones that fail to spark an emotional connection with consumers. You can have the best product or service on the market but still fizzle out if you can’t elicit an impassioned response. What causes this fizzle is many different things, but mainly when businesses can't develop a brand with personality.
Part of the problem is forgetting to keep the consumer in mind, but the real challenge for many businesses is how to develop a brand. You just don’t spend enough time on developing the brand to set it apart from the rest. It’s about striking the right balance in purpose and personality with speed and simplicity in design — it’s what most successful brands have in common.
Without any one of these building blocks, your company will never make it into the ranks of well-loved brands.
Give Them Something to Believe In
So the question still remains on how exactly to develop a brand that feels the love. The formula is pretty straightforward and often entails the following:
1. Show the Love
For a chef to prepare a meal people love, he’s got to love to cook. What’s more, he has to love preparing that particular dish. There’s no difference between that love and the one put into building a product.If you want consumers to believe in your brand, you need to believe in it first. Put the love and care into product development. Pay attention to the details. Making it just about the money can diminish the authenticity necessary to inspire a following.
It’ll also keep people from talking about your brand — at least in a good way. Love gets people to rally behind your brand and share their experience with others. Having a brand that’s well-loved means users do the marketing on your behalf.
2. Find a Personality
Most companies are indistinguishable from the next. They just blend into the crowd. If consumers can’t pick you out of a lineup, how do you expect them to find you when it’s time to buy? Want to establish a genuine relationship with consumers? Infuse a little personality into your brand. Old Spice continues to nail its rebranding. Its most recent blitzkrieg, “Smell ’Em Who’s Boss,” is just as crazy and cool as the Old Spice Guy.
Ask yourself, “What do I want consumers to feel when they see my brand? What words should come to mind?” Go beyond the visual, and think about it in terms of human traits. What sort of qualities should your brand hold?
3. Make it an Experience
Every time someone comes in contact with your brand, it should be an experience — and consistent with the last. Otherwise, you won’t get past that first (or second, if it gets to that) encounter.
Apple stands out in not only appearance but also experience. Its displays are sleek, modern, and spacious, making it easy to interact with its products. And unboxing a new laptop or phone is a joy to the senses. It has a visual and tactile appeal.
Look for ways to make every interaction special. Give each consumer a simple, elegant experience if you want to galvanize and excite consumers to buy. It’s the hallmark of a well-loved brand.
4. Involve the Consumer
One size may not fit all, but it can certainly fit a few. Give consumers a voice in your brand. Seek feedback. Respond to concerns. Listening is critical to being the right “fit” for your customer base.
But you still must stay true to your vision, so use feedback wisely. If all you do is react, you won’t get far. Remember, you want people to buy into your vision while still meeting the needs of those who matter most.
For consumers to feel the love, they need to feel your love for your business. They need to relate to your brand in some way and have an experience, unlike any other brand. Giving your brand a heart will inevitably set it apart.
Jim Fowler is founder and CEO of Owler, the crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform business professionals use to outsmart their competition, gain competitive insights, and uncover the latest industry news and alerts. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $175 million.