Why Brand Love, not Loyalty, is the Name of the Game
The formula today’s most successful brands are using to make their customers fall head over heels into buying, referring and returning
1. Before love comes content
Thanks to the plethora of tools, platforms and targeting tactics at our fingertips today, it’s no secret that we can build incredible customer connections through content.
However, pushing out content does not change the fact that we somehow still have to create a sense of intimacy, personalization, humanity and closeness with our target audience, fans, followers, customers and clients.
The daunting reality: this is not only smart practice today, as we turn our backs on impersonal, overly automated customer experiences, but EXPECTED by the people in your fold. The personal touch, the customized email, the human voice on the other end of the phone.
The good news: social media and content marketing have the ability to do all of those things, but at scale. What that means is that you’re leveraging one positive sentiment, act or conversation on a public platform for all to benefit from, get to know you with, or join in on.
2. Building customer intimacy on the ‘first date’
It boils down to the act of creating intimacy with people, without even knowing someone or engaging with them one-on-one.
How do we achieve it? We start by creating, writing, posting for the right audience, and not concerning ourselves if it doesn’t resonate with everyone. Instead, we are focused on gaining the attention of our target audience, and connecting with them through our content. In doing so, we can be intimate, build trust, rapport and respect, without even knowing that they’re out there listening, reading or watching.
But how do we so often mess it up and go from trust and admiration-building to being brandished as tasteless, nameless, big box bad guys? By circumventing the human side of our customer journey, and relying on robotic or automated responses and engagements rather than real live human ones – via email, via social, via our website, via a good old fashion phone call, customer interaction or sit-down meeting.
Social media is indeed a wondrous tool built on awe-inspiring technology that can be an extension of ourselves, our hearts, and our purpose in life. This is precisely what builds loyalty. Or, the thing that trumps even loyalty itself, love.
It starts with a giant step up and back and a conscious decision to use social media as a system and tool to help, help, help, not sell, sell, sell. And not one that promotes you, but them. Because that’s who this is really about. Your customer, prospect, client or follower. Elevate them, engage them, have a two-way conversation, not a one-way broadcast. It is the act of saying a firm goodbye to ‘social me-me-media,’ and ushering in the human element of your business or brand, and building a relationship.
3. Becoming known, not famous
At the end of the day, when it comes right down to it, you need to become known for something so that everyone from those with cash burning a hole in their pocket to anyone with a faint hope of ever buying your wares wants to align with you and your brand.
It is the difference between being known, respected and sought-after vs. being ‘famous,’ and it is the act of finding and connecting with your ideal audience in your own authentic way.
So, goodbye ‘Product, Price, Place and Promotion.’ Hello Authenticity, Authority and Accessibility.
How do we achieve these golden pillars of modern marketing? Through reputation building, expertise establishing, original content creation day after day.
The overarching rules: be human at all costs, make people fall hard for you and your brand, establish the coveted ‘know, like and trust, pull back the curtains and let people in. Which brings us to…
4. The magic formula for mad brand love
#1. Build awareness
#2. Build engagement
#3. Built trust
#4. Build loyalty
#5. Build love
Why go beyond loyalty to love? Because we’re seeing more and more research to suggest that people aren’t nearly as loyal to a particular brand or business as they once were.
We form emotional connections with people, not logos. Sure, we can fall in love with a brand or a company, but really, it’s the people, values, belief systems, sentiments, purpose and personality that we fall in love with.
If a company can truly bring this to the fore, make it available for all to read, watch, witness and engage with through their real and authentic content, and then leverage that into monetization and sales, they are winning the modern marketing game.
Loyalties are fleeting. Love is deep.
Without a doubt, today’s most successful businesses have mastered the art of making people fall madly in love with them as people, brands, and – if they’re really good – movements. Why is this their A-1 goal? Because consumers are 70x less loyal to brands than they were just 3 years ago. And what exactly is filling the void? Love.
The brands we share values, purpose and outlook with are the ones we want to align with, engage with, buy from and refer to our pals, quickly replacing the ones we’ve ‘always bought from.’
Who do you trust? Who do you relate to? Who’s storytelling is resonating with you? Who’s solving your problems, right where you are?