These days, customer choice is nearly infinite. There are multiple ways to get almost anything - so why should a customer choose you? Some may say “Because I have the best product!” or “Because we’re the most affordable!”, and those are reasonable answers. Businesses have been built on less! But they only go so far. Today, brands need to connect to their audience.
What’s your favorite toilet paper? Deodorant? Would you rather pick up Kleenex or Puffs? Most people have their favorites and tend to stay loyal. If you’re lucky and good, your brand may become a part of someone’s identity. Some people are “Coke people” while others are “Pepsi people” and they’d be insulted if a friend offered them the other option. Their brand preference is part of them and this is behavior you should encourage. Customers who feel a connection with you will welcome you into their home over and over again. They’ll tell their friends about you and post about you on social media.
So how can you make connections? Here are two examples: cause marketing and brand personality. These are strategies to help consumers make a personal connection to you as a company. Thinking about how you can apply these in your business can help bring you to the next level of customer engagement.
Modern consumers care a little bit more. It’s great that your product is cheap - but I’d rather pay a little more and know that I’m contributing to something good. Tom’s Shoes have been successful because with every purchase, they also provide shoes to someone who needs a pair. Etsy is successful because consumers can connect with individual creators. It means a lot more to me to know that I’m helping pay someone’s grocery bill than it does knowing that I’m buying Jeff Bezos another yacht. If you’re able to provide a tangible way that your brand is helping the world, young consumers will flock to you.
Gone are the days of brands policing their every statement. We’re in the days of brands leading viral content by giving themselves a personality. Wendy’s went viral in 2018 when their social media account began roasting people online. Always in good humor, the fast food Twitter account became an overnight sensation. Of course, it was funny and interesting and it was a sensation that can’t be immediately replicated - but it can be learned from. What made their Twitter a sensation was that it made it clear that there was a real person behind it. It wasn’t just some monolithic corporation parroting brand slogans, there was a human person with thoughts and feelings. Speaking of, hi there, I’m Steve, a video editor at Flow!
This isn’t the definitive answer for every brand. Some will have an easier or harder time making these connections. The biggest takeaway, however, is something that can be implemented by every company immediately: treat your customers as people. Treat them as people that you’re serving, not simply dollar signs coming in your door. If you treat customers with respect, they’ll respect you in turn and you can flourish together.
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