The untold secret about your brand
Here’s a secret that your customers want you to know. Whether you’re a food service provider selling pizza, ice cream, donuts or the latest pastry craze, or you’re a service provider working as a salon owner, gym owner or dentist, you’re not special. Your hours are long, and the work is hard. That’s the nature of running a successful business. Regardless, at the end of the day, you’re no different than all the others like you until your customer thinks otherwise. The key to building a sustainable business is building a brand that customers love and feel passionate about. Passion breeds loyalty, repeat business and word of mouth which itself is more effective than any sales and marketing collateral could ever be.
What is a brand?
Simply put, what you do becomes your brand. This is the experience you provide for your customers and their perception of that experience. Your brand is represented in the relationship you build over time through these actions and your customers’ experiences. A brand is special in the eyes, ears and minds of a customer when they choose it.
Customers are “loyal” or “disloyal” just like any other relationship in their lives. Customers choose brands that represent their values and connect with them over point of view about the world. As marketers when we talk about switching costs, we’re talking about the friction created by a brand that causes a customer to challenges their values and their relationship with a brand when deciding if they should choose another. This brings us to loyalty.
A fiercely loyal customer will travel an hour to eat at their favorite pizza shop or enjoy ice cream their favorite ice cream stand. A relationship like this is only possible through a brand relationship nurtured over time. Think about:
- the accountant you’ve had for years even though you moved to a different town or out of state…
- the gym you go to even though you’ve switched jobs and it’s no longer on the way…
- the pizza shop that doesn’t offer delivery but you happily drive to to pick up your order
- the ice cream stand that you used to go to as a kid and now take your own kids to…
- Coke vs. Pepsi, Apple vs. PC and countless other brands we are connected with and choose over and over again…
We are our relationships and our loyalty is predicated on the strength of those relationships.
Customers remember how you make them feel. This feeling can be at the moment of service or as residual impact through reminders of your brand such as pictures they take with you, your business or product. When you change the dynamic of the relationship to focus on the customer and make them the star, everything changes.
Take a moment to acknowledge your customers either in-person, on social media or whatever channel you connect with them naturally. Respond to praise with thanks, and criticism with appreciation. Customers known when you care about them more than you care about making the sale.
Future posts will focus on building the relationship with customers that creates the strong connection they have with your brand, making you special because you’ve made your customer feel special.
Also published on Medium.