There is a big difference between having a connection to your customers and connecting with your customers with 1 amazing branding strategy. A connection suggests having direct access to your customers because you have secured a name, a mailing address, an email address, maybe even a cell phone number for those precious text messages.
With this information, you can contact them in a variety of ways and at times of your own choosing. And that is very valuable. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to be a brand, the representative of that thing that you make or that service that you provide. And that takes 1 amazing branding strategy.
The goal is to find your people and make a connection with them that is so strong that they purchase and wear a shirt with your logo on it, just because it has your logo on it. Better yet, they have your logo tattooed on their chest – literal branding. Or they name their child after your founder. They arranged to get buried in your car. They get married in costumes from a movie you made.
Every business owner will tell you that dependable customers are the key to their success. They are those percentage of customers that you can rely on to buy your pizza, signup for your income tax service, or come to your fundraising dinner. If only they bought from you in a given month, you could survive.
Passionate customers though take you to that next level. They buy regularly and get their friends to buy. They praise you across social media. They leave awesome reviews on Yelp and Amazon. They leave you $1 million in their wills. But how do you turn a good customer into a passionate one?
It doesn’t matter where your product falls on the price spectrum, bottom, middle, or top, each of these areas can have its passionate customers and you can make a connection with them for life. Big Macs are $4, Five Guys burgers are $8, and Outback’s are $12 and there are people who swear by each one of them and think that the others are vastly inferior.
Men buy shirts and some purchase theirs from Brooks Brothers, others Carhartt, and some are happy in Fruit of the Loom tank tops. Somehow the man has made a connection between that brand and themselves. And the brand has reinforced it over and over again to the point that neither the Brooks Brothers shirt wearer, nor the Fruit of the Loom tank top wearer would be comfortable going out in the other guy’s shirt.
And yet they are all just hamburgers, they are all just shirts. They are made of the same basic ingredients and yet their passionate customers can scarcely see any similarities
Create Your Story
Your story could be somewhat fictitious like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. “We’re a hippy-dippy company, and we create delicious ice cream with wacky names; we’re fun.” A shopper with a choice between ten ice creams will self-identify and pay the extra $2 for a pint.
Your story could be real like with Paul Newman’s dressings. and your identity is wrapped up in charitable donations. Your story involves your values and the type of company you are or want to be. You need to identify your story through brand attribute workshops. These can help you to distill down to your essence and find your niche in the marketplace.
Who are you and what makes you special? Special at least to a segment of the overall customer base.
Find Your Customers
Once you self-define, you need to find your people and make a connection with them. Why do burly men drink lite beer? Why do they self-identify with a watered-down version of the real thing? A story was written long ago using athletes who screamed that such beer was “less filling and tastes great!” Why do couch potatoes need something that’s less filling?
They don’t but the narrative suggested that they might be called on at any moment to substitute for Terry Bradshaw in the big game and so they’d better hold back in their beer drinking.
NASCAR has passionate fans and it’s not based on the location of any team but on the suggestion that “We are you! We like to drive fast while hauling moonshine too.”
Starbucks suggests to their customers that they are a notch above other coffee drinkers. Would a millennial on their Mac be comfortable maintaining their Etsy website sipping a $1 McDonalds coffee from the McCafé? Probably not.
“We are you, and we belong together” is the message that passionate customers have received and believe.
1 Branding strategy across channels
Once you find your people, you can’t deviate from the script. Remember that their identity is connected to yours. If you are Brooks Brothers and start a line of black silk shirts, a metaphysical crisis will erupt in the minds of the faithful, “But that’s not who I am; how can I be associated with them any longer?”
There must be a consistent voice to tell the story of your brand. The faithful might be catching a message on network television, YouTube, through your website, within various social media channels, on the radio, billboards, on the side of buses. Does each interaction with your people reinforce the message that “you are us, and we are you?”
Is the customer experience the same along the way? Does each interaction with your brand solidify the meaningful connection that has been established?
Once you get a clear picture of who you are and who your ideal customer is, make that connection and just keep making your Big Mac hamburgers the same way each time.