Why Do Companies Need to Make an Emotional Connection Using Branding?
For the past several weeks, we’ve been discussing branding and the different aspects of utilizing it within a company or organization. This week, we’re going to talk about how and why companies should make an emotional connection with their customers in order to create strong brand loyalty.
When you think of the last time you recommended a product or service to someone, can you remember why you recommended it? Was the customer service exceptional? Was the product exactly what you thought it would be and more? Brand loyalty is rooted in the idea that your customers believe in what you are doing or selling and want to get the people they know in on it. Creating brand loyalty is a part of branding, and is generally done by making an emotional connection with your clients, both existing and potential. When consumers feel like your business or organization cares about them or their life, they’re more likely to use what you’re selling and recommend it to people they know.
How Can Companies Create That Connection?
Creating an emotional connection may seem like it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s really not that complicated. For some companies, it’s meant creating something that no other companies offer—this sounds difficult, but take, for example, the online retailer Zappos. Shoe shopping can be hectic when you can’t find what you want at a few stores in a row. Zappos brings hundreds of pairs of shoes to you at the click of a button, and offers free shipping and free return shipping every day of the year, not just during a sale period.
This means that for people who aren’t sure what size they need for a brand, or people who find several pairs of shoes they like but can only afford one, the shopping process is simple. They can order multiple pairs and simply return what they don’t want at no additional cost.
The way that companies can do this is by thinking about what they’d want from their company if they were a customer. If you post something on a company’s Facebook, do you want a response or do you want it to languish in cyberspace? Naturally, you’ll want a response—it’s why so many companies have social media experts working for them now, so that they can constantly engage with interested customers. It’s also why so many celebrities use Twitter—their name is their brand, and they connect with their “customers” (the fans) by creating a presence. Replies and even simple acknowledgment are what keeps people coming back.
Connecting with your customers’ values and beliefs, or even desires and aspirations, is also a part of creating that emotional connection. For example, Old Spice’s campaign using “The Old Spice Man” (Isaiah Mustafa) was so successful because it appealed not to men, but to the women in their lives.
Instead of targeting customers who might want to smell nice, it targeted people who had to smell the would-be customers. Appealing to someone who has influence over your target customer and who might want that product for the customer is a great way to establish brand loyalty, since they believe your product/company has their best interests at heart. In other words, the campaign was successful because women thought, “Hey, Old Spice is looking out for me. They don’t want me to have to hang out with smelly men.” When the end point is that you care about the customer’s lifestyle, they are more likely to hop on board.
How Can You Engage With Customers?
As you’ve heard before, the importance of social networking is key when creating an emotional connection with your customers. Engaging with them on sites like Twitter and Facebook is the quickest and easiest way to reach them. In addition to posting replies to their questions or concerns, you can also post things that appeal to them that don’t necessarily connect with your brand—simply polling your fans about what they’re doing over the weekend creates the idea that your company isn’t just an office full of computers, but comprised of real people. Make sure you’re providing what your customers want, and not just in terms of product or service, but in terms of the ethics and leadership as well as the way you market your product.
Making sure that the way you connect with customers stay consistent is important as well. You can’t be consistently engaging sometimes but then go through periods of radio silence. Your business or organization needs to be committed t o building a dedicated customer base, and that means letting your customers know you’re always there and thinking of what’s best for them.