What is it that could have enabled Maggi stage such an epic comeback, despite being banned from the India market for over six months? What is it that enabled the brand attach itself to the sentiments of Indian consumers? How does Apple continue to set the standard for what it means to be a world-class brand and respond to the customer’s ever changing expectations?
To a well-informed and engaged customer in a digitally-connected world, brands that are able to genuinely strike an emotional chord with his/her identity and those that are able to engage at a personal level, have become the only way to get her/him to try the brand, use it, like it and probably think of continuing to!
Every brand and organisation strives hard to build this connect with their customers, to get their customers to fall in love with them and to retain their interest but only a disproportionate few succeed! What does it take for brands to be loved today? Is it possible to work towards building brand love?
Needless to mention, a great product or service is a must for any brand and this will remain the core. However, it is just the start! Today, organisations and brands are connected to their customers, not only at their purchase and brand touch points, but well beyond and 24X7.
Brand decisions are driven by customers, more than by marketers. Brand communication plays a larger, instrumental role, than most would imagine.
So, how do organisations ensure cupid strikes their customers? Here are seven must dos as part of your communication and PR strategy to gain love for your brand
- It’s all about your customer: With all the data and analytics that brands possess today, to help them market better, there are no excuses for not knowing their customers and their likes, dislikes, habits, needs and aspirations. And there’s no way you are going to connect with them if you don’t get into their skin to craft communication that resonates with their desires, identities and values, over your brand features and attributes. Make your customers feel loved if you want them to love you!
- Build engaged communities: Your customers expect not to hear from you more often but to be engaged in heart-to-heart conversations, their queries responded to, solutions to their pain points, celebration of their achievements and happy moments together with you. They expect communication personalised to each one of them! And the more you are part of their growth journey, the more they lend a hand to be part of yours! Building engaged communities of brand advocates is among the most effective ways to build brand love! Royal Enfield and the cult following that it has built in India among the biker community is a classic example of how love and camaraderie built for a brand can play a role in its sales growth, just what every marketer yearns for.
- Engage with compelling stories and experiences: Although it is hard work, brands built around an emotion have better, deeper and more meaningful consumer relationships. As much as data, insights and technology can enable a better reach to your customers, you need to invest in creating experiences that speak to who they are as people. For people are connected to, can correlate to and love other people & experiences with them! A relatively new brand such as Paperboat effectively leveraged its key product differentiation to create nostalgia that people could relate to, enabling it capture the attention of the market in a short span.
- Remain relevant: In a fast evolving market, you have to constantly align your communication to changing consumer trends, without losing the core value of your brand of course! You have to ensure consumers can continue to identify and associate with the brand. In working with a 60 year old brand, a market leader synonymous in the mattress segment, our communication efforts have been to retain the brand’s core value proposition of product innovation and quality, but to repackage these to address a younger, more informed consumer to whom ‘durability’ or ‘best pricing’, are not the key factors driving purchase-making decisions.
- Stay authentic: In all my years of helping craft the communication strategy and messaging, be it for new & unknown brands or established, big ones, one factor has remained a constant. No matter how much you communicate or how well you can package the messaging, you got to be authentic & true to who you are really as a brand and then build on that, so that you engage your customer in a seamless experience. There is no shortcut to building trust in a relationship!
- Dare to be different: Don’t add to the content clutter. Dare to be different and try new ideas that make your brand be seen as unique in positioning and execution. Periodical makeovers add excitement to love after all! Fasttrack effectively adopted tongue-in-cheek, bold and provocative advertising to break away from the perception of its parent company brand Titan and to establish itself as a fashion and accessory brand, not limited to watches.
- Define the purpose: In a socially-connected world, demonstrating and conveying care and commitment to your customers, to the society you operate in and responding to relevant events and happenings make you more humane as a brand, more lovable as a brand! The ‘Touch of Care’ campaign run by Vicks in collaboration with LGBT rights activist Gauri Sawant, brought to the forefront delicate issues on adoption and transgender rights, striking an instantaneous emotional connect with people. After all, the best brands make life easy, make life better.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.