You know that a one-time meeting between people is not a ‘relationship.’ Building a relationship takes time, commitment and attention. Mutual affection must be experienced, as well as a common desire to stay together, and work together.
Most of us have a good handle on what it takes to build and sustain a personal relationship.
However, maybe you haven’t considered what it takes to build a brand relationship. It’s not just about ‘closing the sale’ and hoping the customer will return for future purchases. It is, in fact, about establishing deep emotional connections between the brand and the customer, as well as developing a healthy codependence, in which each party needs the other in order to operate at maximum levels of satisfaction.
That’s a lot, right?
Here’s each party’s responsibility:
- The Customer: Suffer from the problem the brand solves, appreciate the solution because it works for you, spread the word to others who might benefit, gladly pay for the solution because the benefits outweigh all costs.
- The Brand: Deliver a solution that is unique and effective, and that your ideal customer will consider valuable and beneficial. Communicate in ways that are relevant and meaningful, with focus on the customer’s emotional and practical needs.
The customer’s responsibilities aren’t often spoken aloud. That’s because if your customer is your ideal customer, all of these things will be accomplished naturally. If your brand is carrying customers that aren’t ideal, they won’t fulfill responsibilities to the brand, and can therefore be more harmful than helpful.
The brand’s responsibilities are more deliberate, in that you, as a brand-builder, must remind yourself at all times to adhere to these tasks…which should be no problem if you’re following your true passion.
Now that you have better grasp of what a brand relationship is, let’s talk about how to build great ones.
The Art of Building Strong Brand Relationships
The best customers are loyal customers—those who see intrinsic value in your brand, and who choose to stick around to continue enjoying its benefits. Here are some of the things you, as a brand builder, can strive to foster for better, longer-lasting and more profitable brand relationships:
- Trust: People trust you when they know what to expect…and when the things they’re expecting are good. You can build trust in a number of ways; however, one of the best things I can prescribe is consistency. Ensure that every decision you make is supported by, and indicative of, your corporate values. Make sure everything you say and do is uniquely ‘you,’ and that your audience and non-audience members alike come to expect what you’re delivering.
- Authenticity: This starts from the very beginning, when you list your corporate values, name your business, design your logo and more. You’ve got to be you. Create a farce, and you’re going to grow weary from pretending to be something you aren’t. People will see through the act. And as you know, relationships built on lies don’t work.
- Emotions: Your customer wants to have an experience with your brand. There are emotions they’re yearning to feel, and they will reward the business that figures out how to create those emotions. Most of your competitors are focussed on the sale. If you focus on the process (the customer journey / experience) instead, the sales will come on their own, in abundance.
- Patience: No relationship ‘starts’ at the time of initial contact. It takes time for a person to gather all the information they need to know about your brand before they decide to trust it. Understand this, and know that customer loyalty is worth the effort…and the wait.
- Little Things: You know, from your own personal relationships, that it’s not only the big moments that forge connections. Often, it’s the kind words and the simple gestures that cause us to become more and more attached to someone. The same principle applies to brand relationships. It’s not just about how you interact during the sales process. It’s also about the support you offer during hard times, the valuable information you supply on a daily basis, the gratitude you express, and all the others small things your brand does to prove that it’s capable of big things.
As you move forward, I trust that you’ll begin to feel the benefits that come with quality brand relationships. Your loyal customers will come to rely on your brand, and likewise, you will begin to recognise and cherish the work that genuine brand advocates do for your business.
Are your brand relationships strong enough? Are they creating as much visibility and profit for your brand as you would like? If not, there’s no better time than now to enrol in an upcoming B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp. In this one-day, exclusive How to Build a Brand event, you will learn how to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable…and who doesn’t want that? Click here to learn more.