Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Where's the Love?

Recently we brought some loyal & committed customers ( who we term, our "raving" fans) into our business to share their stories and experiences with our team to showcase how they became the dedicated customers that they are. Through questions and conversation we essentially broke down 'why they were here'...and surprise, surprise, it wasn't the flashy water bottle or the expensive changerooms or the crazy marketing program. It was the emotional connection & vested interest we had in them....which is a perfect segue way to discuss the backbone of sales. The consumer connection. 
Features sell. Benefits sell better. But what makes your "fans" endure hours of crazy pain getting the logo of a brand tattooed on their backs? It’s not the next gimmick, a product’s features, or the base level service they agreed to pay for; neither is it the benefits. It’s the love.
Pure, simple love. And it doesn’t come without forging an emotional connection with the customers.
As examples, here are some scenarios we can relate with:
For years, Harley-Davidson has enjoyed the attention of its fans who have gone the extra mile to show their loyalty to the brand. What it did was simple: the brand created a story of spirited adventure; at the core of this story is the promise of youthful exuberance. Now, who doesn’t want to stay young forever? For many of us, when we think of the brand we might think of freedom and a sense of belonging, which its fans have created through a Harley-Davidson community that speaks of true loyalty.
Another example is Guinness, a brand that tells the story of the journey of becoming a man, which every male would relate to. The brand has consistently delivered its story through its very emotional adverts that tell the journey of greatness and belonging. At the core of its stories are pride and reward for hard work. As we know, Guinness enjoys a sizeable market share in its industry.
Of course there are many more examples like Nike, Apple, or any leading brands for that matter...but from the two above, it is clear that emotions are hard to buy but productive to sell. And one thing these brands have in common is this: they focused totally on the customers.
Which brings me to my next point: It’s not about you. It’s about your customers. The truth is no one cares about you. But they care when you care about them.
When building a brand or focusing on a marketing task, uncover the real benefits of your products or service, build a value at the core of your brand and then link it with your target market. After all, you need to get their attention and then their undying love. An emotional connection says you understand where they are coming from and where they are going. It says you know what keeps them up at night and what gets them up in the morning.
An emotional connection is the link that may be missing from your brand.
If you are successful in deciphering this link, you will successfully create a true story your audience will not only love, but buy. And that’s when you will see the dividends of brand loyalty which translates to sales, sales and more sales.
On a last note, this is not to say you should not focus on the quality of your product. No matter how great your story is, if it does not ring true at the point where your customers get to use it, you will end up shooting yourself in the foot. Ensure your brand is as good as you say it is first before calling in the Marketing Gurus. When they do come in with all their grand ideas they term ‘THE BIG IDEA’, when they finish with the jargons and the graphs, when they wow you with the extraordinary advertising campaign slides, be sure to ask ONE last thing:
“Where's the love?”

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