Cultivating Connection: A Guide To Better Branding

March 10, 2014 | Branding, Business

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Customer ConnectionA successful brand is more than just a pretty face. This probably isn’t news to most of you—it’s pretty obvious that building a business takes a bit more than a well-designed logo and the demand for your product or service offered. But did you know just how important it can be to back up your brand’s beauty with an amiable and compassionate personality?

Today’s world has become increasingly emotionally driven, and that is certainly reflected in the business world. Consumers don’t only expect their needs to be fulfilled by a great product or service, but for their experience with the product or company to be emotionally stimulating. Whitney Greer—successful author, speaker, and brand strategist—explains, “Many communicators forget that great messaging begins with their audience’s core values, not their product.” When a company neglects the emotional desires of their customer and focus solely on what they believe to be the perks of the brand, they lose out on a valuable and lasting bond with a potential consumer. Such a bond can inspire trust, encourage loyalty, and motivate your clients to become word-of-mouth advocates for your brand.

So why are these seemingly simple brand-building opportunities missed out on? Well, they’re not always simple. Just like creating lasting relationships on a personal level, achieving a deep rooted fan base takes time, attention, a lot of listening, a bit of schmoozing, and the flexibility and willingness to make changes for the better. But, business developers (often working with a limited budget and an unbounded task load) know best that it can be easy to write off brand building in exchange for other needs. Just remember, by getting personal, you have the potential to not only devise a unique and memorable experience for your consumer, but boost revenue and referrals while you’re at it.

Try taking a step back and analyzing your brand with these three tips.

1. Connect with your customers emotionally.

You’ve probably heard that quip about thinking with your head, not your heart, a number of times. However, when it comes consumers, it’s implausible and almost impossible that an individual puts together a list of pros and cons, comparative costs, or long term benefits for all product/service options every time a need arises. In our busy world, consumers simply don’t have the time or energy to be so thorough. Thus, in making a choice between brands, hearts do tend to do a lot of the thinking.

Emotionally charged “gut-feeling” thinking often determines the way a consumer feels about any given brand. Neurologist and author Donald Calne observed, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” While marketing to rationale may lead a potential client to agree with your logic, it’s the genuine appeal to their emotions that drives decision and immediate involvement with your brand. The more your customers are emotionally connected to your brand, the more likely they are to seek it out, recommend it to friends, and not be swayed or tempted by your competitors.

2. Back your intent with clear, distinguishing messaging.

Defining your brand and staying true to it can be some of the most challenging, but rewarding work. It requires simplifying a very generalized idea of who your company is into a tangible, authentic voice that your audience can see, feel, connect with, and consistently recognize. In building your brand, it’s crucial to take the time to understand the ideals of your audience and align your own goals through direct communication.

Individuals tend to choose, whether consciously or subconsciously, brands that reflect their own sense of identity. It is through your brand’s messaging that consumers are able to find your common goals and begin to put trust in what you’re offering. You want to be sure that the consumer believes that by buying into your brand, you’ll be working together to achieve what’s important. In William McEwen’s book, Married to the Brand, he states “Whether a company is marketing hamburgers or microprocessors, there’s an impressive financial return that results from emotionally engaging consumers – and there’s a substantial cost that results from disengaging them.” Examine the message that you’re putting out – is it made for your brand, or for your audience?

3. Take advantage of technology.

Today’s social media frenzy can be entirely confusing, but somewhere in the mix lies easily accessible and powerful ways to connect to your consumers. Clear and approachable representation on an outlet such as Twitter can make for honest dialogue between brand and consumer. In addition to your audience feeling like they’ve been heard, the feedback provided allows for you to make important and progressive changes to your message and goals. While shifting the focus to your consumer, know that it’s imperative to take advantage of all brand touch-points that can aid in building a lasting relationship.

In a recent interview with Fast Company, Cecelia Wogan-Silva, Google’s director of creative agency development, stated, “Something extraordinary is usually something that touches consumers and tells a story, it’s not just technology alone that builds a brand.” As you continue to fuel the brand you’ve built, take the time to consider what can be done to build a stronger connection with customers. Find ways for your brand to go beyond what’s expected when it comes to customer relations. Strive to shift from being a brand that simply fulfills a need toward one that inspires trust and relations that can stand the tests of time.

This post was written by Devon Clough a terrific new addition to our staff here at Visible Logic. She is the newest designer on our staff.

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