WHO is your brand?
The world is a cluttered place, and there are more and more businesses and brands out there able to get in front of customers. Because of this very thing, consumers are more selective than ever with who they choose to associate with, and the ones which are going to stand out, are the ones which connect. I can personally relate to the fact that very little catches my interest when I'm online, which shouldn't be the case when there is so much opportunity to do just that.
"Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell." Seth Godin
Relationship building starts with creating a connection, and connecting with people is far easier and richer than anything else. People connect with people and what they believe in, so bringing a human element into your branding and marketing efforts is more important than ever. It sparks interest and builds trust.
So who is your brand?
Are you funny, rebellious, serious, polite, cheeky, charming, authoritative, aggressive, open? Giving your brand a personality is one of the most important elements of brand development.
Talk like a person, not like a brand.
Even better; is there an actual person behind the brand? The founder? The leader? Are they someone your customers would enjoy associating themselves with? If you are a one-man band, this should be a given. Make sure your name and personality is all over what you do, as it is you that your customers want to engage with.
If you are building more of a brand, many people will suggest that involving a founder will not benefit long-term goals if the founder has an exit strategy in place. However, if you're just starting out and this is something that is going to increase the ability for you to engage your customers, perhaps due to your personal story, or even just your character, do it. There will be no attractive exit without customers. Consumers enjoy engaging with brands that have a story, with a person behind it who they can actually connect with.
Who is your team? Who is making the brand happen? This is another great way to show your customers that you are not just another brand, and that there are real people behind it.
“There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.” Jon Huntsman
- Write in the first person. People connect with individuals, and if you are constantly saying "we", that connection is going to be more challenging.
- Display your heritage and timeline. This is a great way to show your customers where you have come from and where you are now, giving them a glimpse insight into your journey, and encouraging them to join it. Adding a photo of the founder is also a great way to show who is behind the brand, this is even more important if your company is B2B. Potential clients want to see the face of the person they're going to be working with.
- Be Open. Show clients/customers behind the scenes of your business and the behind the scenes of your life! Instagram is a great way to share this.
- Be honest and transparent. The more digital our lives get, the more we desire something genuine. Stay true to who you are and what you do. Stick to your values and constantly offer value to your customers. Be consistent, be accountable and be responsive.
- Customise your emails and make them more real. I don't mean your marketing newsletters, I mean your regular emails. Email with as much as interest as if you are talking to a friend. Sign the emails with your name. Introduce yourself properly if it is the first time. The way you email is marketing, and your personality needs to be consistent not just when you personally send an email, but across Customer Service, HR, Finance, Marketing, PR, and every other facet of your business.
- Use video. Post videos of yourself so your customers can truly get to know you.