There's no denying that a company's brand awareness may help it generate more sales and profits, especially when done correctly. Consider three well-known brands: Apple, which became the first trillion-dollar corporation in the United States; Disney, whose theme parks are seeing record-breaking growth in 2018 despite boosting costs; and Nike, which witnessed a 31% increase in online sales after launching a new campaign.
Of course, brand awareness isn't the only factor that determines a business's success. For example, Sears declared bankruptcy in October, and Toys R Us shuttered its doors in June. All of these businesses had a well-known brand. So, what distinguishes the firms that are thriving from those that are failing?
A widespread misunderstanding is that a brand is comprised of a name, a logo, a tagline, and a visual. While these elements contribute to branding, they are not what branding is all about.
A brand is a link between two people.
The first step in effectively branding your company is to recognize that a brand is built on a strong relationship. That connection, like any other, must be built on trust and an emotional tie. The connection will not last unless those factors are there.
According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, subconscious decision-making accounts for 95 percent of all purchases. Emotions have a significant part in the subconscious decision-making process, according to research. That means that firms that create a strong, positive emotional connection with their customers will attract loyal customers in the long run, giving them a competitive edge.
When there is no emotional connection, though, buyers have little reason to remain loyal to the brand, and it becomes a commodity. So, how can you elicit an emotional response from your audience? Here are three steps that I recommend to my clients.
1. Make a Statement
When you have a strong point of view or conviction about an issue, people connect with your brand, especially if they share your ideas and values. This does not, however, imply that you must be political or say something controversial in order to connect with your audience.
Instead, choose a cause that you are passionate about and that you want your business to support. Listed below are a few examples:
• Patagonia is a proponent of environmental protection.
• Apple represents misfits and creatives.
• Disney is known for offering amazing family experiences.
• Lush Cosmetics is known for its handcrafted cosmetics produced with natural ingredients.
Taking a position for a cause may be disruptive since it draws attention to your business and provides customers a reason to choose you over the competition. To figure out what you stand for, consider why you started your business in the first place. Is there something in which you have faith? Is there anything in the industry that you'd want to see changed?
2. Put Your Belief Into Action
It's one thing to declare you believe something, but it's quite another to have your brand express that idea. Consumers are well-informed. They can tell if a company is truly committed to its values or if it is just saying something to be popular.
The brand experience you build allows you to embody your ideals (in your copy, brand visuals, product design, advertising, etc). The more you can include your values into the brand experience, the better. Lush Cosmetics, for example, incorporates its passion in handcrafted goods throughout its whole business. Fresh ingredients are mentioned in its advertisements, and the storefronts are built to resemble a farmer's market.
Personal brands can benefit from this process of embodying brand ideals. Lady Gaga has amassed a highly devoted fan base for being herself and speaking out for equality and those who feel misunderstood. As a result, she has a devoted following.
To infuse your values into your brand, consider all of the interactions your brand will have with your customers, and then create ways to include your beliefs into those interactions.
3. Tell Us About Your Experience
Finally, when customers engage emotionally with your brand's narrative, they connect emotionally. Everyone enjoys a good story. That is why audience hearts are often captured by best-selling novels and blockbuster movies. People are moved by great stories, and they form lasting ties as a result. Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that stayed with you for days or even weeks after you finished it? That's how powerful a narrative can be.
It's no different when it comes to crafting a compelling brand story. People are constantly inundated with various items and information. When it comes to making a purchase, customers have a plethora of alternatives. However, if your business has a compelling narrative, the emotional connection might work as a brand advocate.
Toms is one of my favorite brands. I love that after seeing kids playing on the streets without shoes in Argentina, the creator devised his company's trademark giving model, which contributes a shoe for every transaction. After hearing this narrative, I became a dedicated client and brand champion, as did many others, who quickly bought into the company's goal, philosophy, and values.
Being honest is the first step in crafting a powerful brand narrative; consumers can tell when a brand is genuine or not. Then consider your brand's journey and the changes you've gone through to get to where you are now. You most likely overcome obstacles, learnt something that transformed your life, or discovered your true calling.
Finally, add emotional aspects to personalize your tale. How did this happen?
Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Red Bank, NJ, Westport, CT, and everywhere in between. We service businesses with marketing strategies, digital marketing, social media, and consultations.
Phone: NJ: (732) 802-6205 // CT: (203) 429-9671