We all know of the golden rule, right? Do unto others as you would have done to you. It’s a great mantra for all of humanity, really…but wait. What if your brand strategy were built around this tenet? What if you used everything you wish brands would do to create your own, customer-centred brand?
At How to Build a Brand, we happen to think that’s a brilliant idea. After all, you can’t be the only person wishing for better service, more authenticity, honesty...in general, a return to the basics of great service.
A Brand Strategy Based on Reciprocity
You’ve probably heard of reciprocity. It’s a sales principle that says if you go out of your way to provide something to a customer, that customer will feel an obligation to return the favour (usually by purchasing something). That’s one reason to follow the Golden Rule. There are a number of others, including
A) To feel connected to your brand and its mission
B) To spur support for your brand that will cause it to ‘go viral’
C) To build a stellar reputation for your brand and the people behind it
D) Just because you’re that kind of person, and it makes you feel good
It would be lovely if everyone around the globe endeavoured to be a kind, giving person…and if every brand had only the satisfaction of the customer in mind. However, as we all know, that’s not the status quo.
What does this mean for your brand? It means that if you employ the Golden Rule in your brand strategy, you will be that brand that consumers have been hoping for; you will be that brand that rockets to the moon because your approach is so refreshing, so welcomed, so long overdue.
Of course, now you’re wondering about the best ways to go about enacting a Golden Rule Brand Strategy in the 21st Century. Here are some pieces of branding advice that we believe in and use in our own brand strategy:
- Acceptance: Your brand will not appeal to every consumer (and it shouldn’t). However, all should feel welcome and those who choose to join should be welcomed with open arms and with jubilant celebration (as is appropriate).
- Kindness: Always interact with the public in a professional manner, but beyond that, always try to do more than is expected in the realm of kindness. Listen intently, commit details to memory, follow up, and make it known that you care. When you treat people with kindness, they will never forget it.
- Recognition: We all crave recognition (whether we’d like to admit it or not), and your customers are no different. When a new customer comes on-board, an employee reaches a milestone, or a loyal client deserves a reward, be certain to publically acknowledge what they have done and how thankful your brand is to be associated with them.
- Concern: Involve your brand in worthy social and humanitarian causes. Express concern and offer help when you hear of an employee or a client who is going through a difficult time. In short, show the human, empathetic side of your brand.
- Emotion: Your brand strategy is charged with stirring the emotions that will cause conversion in your target audience; however, it doesn’t have to stop there. Express reciprocal emotion – mirror it back to again demonstrate that your brand has an intrinsically human element.
- Observation: Pay close attention (or delegate employees to pay close attention) to your accounts and to periodically check to make sure clients are satisfied. When competition is fierce within an industry, it’s too easy for customers to pack up and head to the next brand. Let them know that you care about what’s going on with them (and their relationship with your brand), and they’ll be more likely to come to you with problems than to find a solution somewhere else.
- Honesty: If you’ve ever wished that a product’s label would be more straightforward or that a salesperson would tell you that a product just isn’t right for you, then you understand the hunger for honesty in the open marketplace. Give it to them straight, even if it’s not the most desirable answer. I promise you, this will not be overlooked…and will likely be rewarded with purchases and/or referrals.
- Customer Service: This is an area in which every brand claims to thrive, but one that very few demonstrate regularly. I promise you: if you are the brand that consistently over-delivers customer service – and I mean goes far beyond what is expected – you will not only shock the public, you will reap the benefits of being unusually successful.
This might be the simplest brand strategy principle we’ve every presented. Feel free to keep these brand strategy tips handy if you’d like, but really, all you’ll need to do is ask yourself, at every turn, What would I want? Answer that question honestly and then commit to doing whatever is necessary to deliver. Your brand will reap the benefits of The Golden Rule and its back-to-basics, common sense philosophy.
For advice and tips on creating your best brand strategy, visit www.TheBrandBrains.com, where you’ll find simple, daily steps for building your brand. And don’t forget our FREE 6 Step B.R.A.N.D. Leader System.