First thing’s first – it truly doesn’t matter what you are selling or who your desired customer base might be. Sometimes a brand that sells necessities to pretty much everyone has a far greater trouble establishing a meaningful, emotional connection with its audience as opposed to the brand that sells items which are a subject of sheer desire and prestige.
In fact, selling is not an issue, loyalty is. No brand wants to be a one-time hit, as they all strive to attain as many return customers as possible and protect their well-earned reputation. But how can brands utilize the power of emotional attachment and make themselves a loved commodity their customers will see as a reflection of their own identities?
Refine your identity
Even if your product is a clothes detergent, it will need to distinguish itself on a rack filled with similarly designed and priced items and grab your customers’ attention with much more than practicality or a cute logo. While a strong visual design truly is one of the staples of solid branding, what do those visuals represent? Are they in line with the messaging of your brand? Do you even have a unique message?
This is where you need to employ all of your creativity, as the world is now brimming with options, and your brand cannot afford to be just another name on the shelf. People will be intrigued and impressed by a well-presented brand, but they will emotionally connect only with the one that resonates with their values. Define your brand’s purpose, present it in an authentic way and you’ll start reeling in loyalty instead of curiosity.
This doesn’t only refer to cross-channel consistency in the presentation of your brand which is, of course, another essential segment of enabling a strong connection, but it mainly refers to your brand’s promises, customer expectations and what your brand actually delivers. No brand is merely a product, and no customer will settle for one.
Modern shoppers crave for an experience that is fully branded from the moment the idea of buying the item springs in their minds to the moment they leave the store. If you promise peace of mind while making your prospects smile with the right tone of voice and images, and you deliver an equally soothing shopping environment, and even exceed their expectations – they’re hooked. Otherwise, your brand is on a self-destruct route to make room for customer-oriented businesses.
No brand boasts a foolproof business plan with long-term expectations that cannot succumb to change. On the contrary, every brand is a malleable concept that has a strong essence and well-defined purpose and values, but the way it presents itself to the world needs to change from what you learn along the way. You need to sharpen, adjust and refine your emotional strategy by delving deeper into the emotional motivators of your customers.
More often than not, it’s not enough to simply ask your customers, because what creates a satisfactory customer experience doesn’t necessarily impact their emotional bond with the brand, as it is often affected by subconscious desires and needs. Targeting both, their explicit expectations and subconscious emotional motivators, a brand can truly flourish.
Differentiating between the two notions by applying a strategy that makes use of both allowed a single apparel retailer to boost their same store sales by 50%, and that’s just a one-time measurement. Imagine the long-term implications for the said brand when those satisfied and emotionally connected customers spread the word to their friends!
Fine-tune your actions
As tempting as it is to apply the tactics you see other brands utilize to their benefit, every brand has a unique persona and there is no guarantee that the same strategy will work for two different brands. Those actions that are customer-oriented have a huge effect on your brand perception, and making sure to do everything in your power to keep your customers happy and engaged will allow you to build a high return rate.
Depending on your brand’s promise, you need to assure your customers that your brand will deliver, every single time. Sometimes this requires a formal promise, such as a specific performance bond to give an investor a peace of mind that the contractors will finish the job in accordance with the given contract. In other cases, a warranty on a product or a service can be more than enough, provided that the promise is kept.
Such efforts put your customers’ minds at ease even before they make their first purchase – from a transparent online presentation, clever loyalty programs, an omni-channel shopping experience tailored to reflect your brand, to a friendly customer service agent, every touchpoint can be a make or break moment of the emotional bond with your potential long-term customers.
To Wrap up
The emotional connection to the brand transcends even an impeccable or imperfect customer experience. It’s this form of brand-customer engagement that allows for true commitment, and enables a brand a learning curve along with mistakes, adjustments and growth.
The bottom line is, emotion-driven customers are a safe bet against invisibility in this already over-saturated market, so make the most of your emotional assets, humanize your brand and let it grow on people in order for it to grow at all.