February is the month of love, however it definitely shouldn’t be the only time of the year you should be thinking about sharing, caring and falling in love.
Your brand requires you to give it love and attention as much as you need customers and your target audience to fall in love with, it. It is very much the same as a personal relationship. You’ve got to do more than start your business and wait for your customers come to you. You’ve got to find them, build the relationship, keep them interested, make them feel special and only then…will love blossom.
Here’s 5 steps of the journey along with insights and opinions from a handful of experts from various industries on how you can fall in love with your brand and get your customers to fall in love too! After all sharing is caring!
1. Knowing who you are
If you don’t love your brand, your customers aren’t going to fall in love with it. Just like any relationship you have to know yourself and believe in yourself before anyone else will. When you do, you will come across more authentic, confident and approachable. You should believe in your brand and everything it stands for, as your customer will be looking to see if they can resonate with the same values and passion that you do. What is it that makes you stand out, or makes you, you.
Create Stand Out Brand Values.
It’s really hard for you (or anyone else) to fall in love with a vanilla brand that looks the same, acts the same and smells the same as everyone else. So ask yourself… are you just playing ‘follow the leader’ with your brand?
We believe great branding starts with knowing your brand values, however when we talk to business owners about their brand values we tend to find they have values like this: professional, friendly, caring, quality.
Now… these are all well and good, but we call these ‘baseline values’ – important to have BUT everyone has these values and it’s impossible to build a STAND OUT brand on them, that people can fall in love with.
So push yourself… what really makes your business and how you operate unique? It takes some work, but here’s 3 questions to ask yourself to get you going: What do clients love about you? What’s the experience like of working with you? How do you want to be described when you’re not in the room?
Andrew and Pete, Andrew and Pete
“For me, the key to falling in love with your brand is making sure that your brand is you. The phenomenon of ‘personal branding’ has enabled us to allow our businesses to reflect our personalities, our values and what we care about. Aligning your business with yourself means that selling and doing business will always feel right.
When I first started out, I had a black and white, very corporate, quite masculine-looking website. Since I established my brand values and worked out the kind of people I can best help, my website is now much more feminine and addresses the problems and questions of the type of client that would be a good fit for me. Don’t be afraid to be yourself in business and you’re sure to rekindle that passion for what you do.“
Natalie Hailey, Hot Content
LinkedIn: Natalie Hailey
2. Finding a match
As in relationships, you have an idea of who your perfect match is. As a brand, identifying who your ideal customer is, is the starting point to building long lasting relationships. Getting to know them, their needs, their pain points and their lifestyle allows you to see the fit between them and your brand. Finding where your target audience hangs out, talking to them and listening to them are the first stepping-stones to taking the relationship to the next level.
Why you should fall in love with …. Sharing your story
Public Relations is all about sharing your story – who you are, what you stand for and what you do.
It’s about building a connection with your audiences in a way that makes them want to buy from you. BUT when you’re managing a team or your own business, this is something that can be difficult to get right when you have a million other things to do.
So how can you share your story in a way that will attract new custom? Here are some tips. Know:
What you want to achieve.
What your audience wants to receive from you.
What key messages you want to share about your brand.
What channels you need to use to talk to your audiences.
How you’re going to measure your activity.
If you follow this 5 step process you’ll create a PR strategy that will not only share your story, but make your audience fall in love with your brand.
Kathryn Dishman-Baird, KD Communications
3. The first date and keeping up the appearance from there on in
Just like first dating, the customer will be attracted to the initial appearance i.e. your logo, colours and images, however after that your brand goes way beyond what you can see on the outside too and goes much deeper into your customer service and the communication you have with them. How you are with your customers, what you offer to them in terms of products, information or services and the manner in which you do is ultimately what builds loyalty to your brand. How you present yourself from the first touch point, from your consistent appearance through to your messaging is important to get right and be aware of. Customers will take note and remember, so to avoid losing potential custom from the start, make sure you present your brand at your best!
The old saying “People buy from people” has been used to death. And there is a problem with this saying, anyway. It is only half-true. I believe “People might buy from people they like” is more accurate. And to increase the probability of them buying, I like to aim for getting them to love my brand.
The only way I know to create this type of “love” is to use the four pillars of successful business: Plan, Process, Tools and Team. Have a strategic plan with solid processes and the right tools in place. Then let your team (videographer, graphic designer, copywriter etc.) do their magic.
Tiana Wilson-Buys, Talking Business
Linkedin: Tiana Wilson Buys
My recommended small-business tool needs no technical mastery, complements every touchpoint of small-business practice – particularly content marketing – and is completely free. It’s the smile!
I put mine on my website, my social-media profiles, my blog-post thumbnails, and in my business videos.
Smiles don’t just depict our own mood; they evoke emotion in others too … a sense of being welcomed, of being shown kindness, of being engaged with. Evoking positive emotions is a powerful draw when wrapped around a solid business skill set that solves a client’s problems. Say cheeeese!
Louise Harnby, Louise Harnby, Editor & Proofreader
LinkedIn: Louise Harnby
With the surge in Personal Branding, everyone is trashing out those generic results driven type business names and beginning to group what they deliver to the world underneath the most original title their mother gave them… Their Name! This gives you way more flexibility to bring out that cookbook in 5 years time, then flip on over to launching an app, and what about that T Shirt line you always wanted to do? With your name as a Personal Brand you can do all of these things with fluidity.
What’s more as things get personal, people are putting their faces on everything too. That means a LOT of photography. Great! Let’s shoot! But hang on a minute…
Getting yourself into the right frame of mind when you absolutely HATE a camera for a full scale Headshots Session is like jumping off the back of a ship Titanic Style, when you can’t swim! Even if, Leo is there with that floppy persuasive fringe.
Why not use some of my condensed years of experience on yourself in secret with this free selfies tip download. Only share them onto your social media when you feel ready.
Download Laura’s Photo Selfies Tips here.
Laura Pearman, Laura Pearman Photography
4. Make them feel special and build trust by sharing & listening
Everyone wants to be made to feel special and your customers aren’t any different. They want to know you care about them, just as much as you care about their custom. As in any relationship, listening and sharing are the two most important ways of communicating. As a brand, listening to your customers and sharing information or content with them shows you care and helps to build trust and loyalty. It has been said that connections customers make with brands can be as emotional as the ones we have with people and it’s those long-term relationships that we aim for but which may take longer to build.
They say ‘sharing is caring’ so for 2018 show your customers and prospects how much they mean to you by (re)launching a YouTube channel with the best and most relevant video content which has been carefully and lovingly curated by you!
Take full advantage of the Playlist feature and come up with great names to group the videos you have found around questions and issues close to their hearts. Once you have done that, go on Canva.com to create attention grabbing visuals to promote each of your playlists on social media.
Voila! The best ‘thinking of you’ message. You have given your client proof that this relationship is not taken for granted.
Pascal Fintoni, Pascal Fintoni & Associates
LinkedIn: Pascal Fintoni
When you’re in love, you’ve have got eyes for your beloved. When you’re in love with your brand, though, you’re missing out if you don’t acknowledge other brands you love and admire!
I help IT companies to grow, and so I keep an eye on the content produced by other experts and even (gasp!) competitors who share content that might help my clients. I freely share this content with my own clients and credit the source of the advice directly.
Rather than diminish my own reputation, my clients appreciate the fact that I’m bringing them advice from all sources — I’m spreading the love!”
Richard Tubb, Tubblog
A lot of business owners are getting results by posting interesting text-only updates on LinkedIn.
Don’t just share links to your website. Almost no one will see this because LinkedIn’s algorithm doesn’t like that kind of content.
Instead, try writing status updates of up to 1300 characters that show you’re a human being and that you know lots about your industry.
Practise this at least a few times a week and you’ll slowly start to build authority.
LinkedIn is a great place to find new business leads, so give it a whirl.
John Espirian, Espirian
LinkedIn: John Espirian
5. Grow old together and keep the love alive
Once you’ve attracted your customer and built up brand loyalty, you want to keep the love alive. Just like a relationship, if you stop showing you care or showing attention, it will start to deteriorate and the worst outcome would be that is potentially comes to an end. This is important with every aspect of your brand. Always look your best, remember your values, listen to your customers and make them feel special. However the world around brands change and the ways you can communicate with your customer’s changes all the time. Be up to date with your ideal customer and how they buy and how they like to be communicated to and adapt. There’s many way to communicate but keep your brand including your tone of voice and values the same on every medium and at every touch point. Your relationship will grow together and be kept alive if you adapt along the way by being open minded and aware.
Use Schema for Better Voice and Text Search Results
You might have noticed changes in content displayed in search engine results and you’ll surely be aware of voice search. Welcome to Schema.
Schema is descriptive data included in websites that allows search engines to provide better results and better understand context while allowing users to engage with content from search result pages without visiting a website.
Voice Search as used on virtual assistant Google Now, makes use of Google’s search algorithms via its natural language processing (NLP) technology.
Schema.org is the result of collaboration between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! And can be added to WordPress websites with the help of one of these plugins: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/search/schema/
LinkedIn: Gerry King
Remember a relationship is a two way thing, which needs building and nurturing. Look after your customers and make them feel special and they’ll show their love too! Keep true to your brand and target your perfect match and you’ll soon see love blossom.