Customers want to buy into a brand that they identify with. One that gives them a feeling of belonging, that really understands them and their needs. One that makes them feel like they care about them as a human - not just a bank balance. Increasingly, they also want to buy into a brand that makes the world a better place - not just for them but for others.
We’ve talked before about being brave enough to show your humble (or otherwise!) beginnings and your vulnerabilities. But another excellent way to prove your sincerity to your customers is to talk about the future of your relationship together.
Sharing your plans to continue to be their hero - and perhaps an even better one (more Iron Man than Ant Man) - helps them understand your purpose and gets them believing in your brand.
You want to show you genuinely care about your customers and their use of your brand. But how can you do this in a sincere way?
Well, the first secret is to share. Share how you (or someone that’s important to you) battled the villain of the story, and how the hero of the journey was born. Prove to the customer that you’ve been there, and that you’re continuing to show up for them. Be audacious in sharing your dreams for the future of your brand – and how they’re included.
Consumers want to know more about your goals and aspirations, and how they fit into it. A recent Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers globally showed that only 8% thought brands should stop advertising. But 78% also believed that brands should be helping them in their daily lives – and 75% said brands should inform them of what they’re planning.
What does this mean? It means that customers generally welcome marketing – but it needs to feel inclusive, relevant, and have a purpose.
This is backed up by the former CMO of Procter and Gamble, Jim Stengel. In his book, Grow, he shared the results of a 10-year study of 50,000 brands. They showed that the 50 highest performing businesses were ones driven by purpose – these grew three times faster than their competitors.
It’s all well and good to have a founder that buys into the importance of sharing your future, but if the company’s larger team isn’t on board, you’re fighting a losing battle.
Help your team understand your brand and why it exists. It’s unfortunately easy to get so lost in growing your business that the reason for it all gets forgotten. This can particularly be the case as your brand grows in size and new team members come on board. Make it a company ethos to share your journey with new joiners and get them understanding the power of bringing the customer into your brand community.
So how to get your whole team singing from the same hymn sheet?
Bring them into the hero fold. Explain to them why the company exists, who it exists for, and how you’re making the world a better place. Share with them the company dreams for the future and why the customer is integral to their plans. Cultivate the “Us” attitude and it will pervade from the inwards, out.
Showing your customers you care starts with forgetting about their money. It might be the obvious reason, but it’s not the only reason.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What you’re offering must improve the lives of the people you serve. Visually, it looks a lot like this:
As a brand, never forget who you are and where you came from. You’re here for a reason. Be sure your customers know about it through your messaging, your campaigns and, above all, your positive action.
By doing this, you’ll engender brand loyalty from your customers and build lasting relationships that boost your profits.
Nothing says “I care” more than taking customers’ opinions into account when building your brand and product. And nothing shows it more than backing up your actions with data and insights learned from the customers themselves.
Getting input from your audience helps you understand their values and whether they align with yours. And when they do, well, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when you start to win hearts and minds and build that connection. Shouting those aligned values in your branding crosses over from saying you care, to proving you do.
Ben Crowther, Global Brand Director, InterContinental Hotels Group puts it well:
But how do we apply this useful marriage of minds in your day to day?
Use it. Weave the message through into every social media post, press announcement, customer service interaction product label – even every business decision you make. Let it show up as often as you can in real, tangible ways.
Using your customer’s thoughts on your past, helps you bring them into your future.
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