The marketing industry has been awash with terms such as “brand loyalty”, “trust and engagement” for many years. However, in the last number of years, the term “brand love” has also worked its way into our marketing lexicon. Are you thinking, “can people really love a brand?” or “do they really think about or care that much?” Well the short answer, is Yes.
Today, consumers have started to hold brands close to their hearts, those who pull out all the stops when it comes to engaging with them on a level other than price. In turn they have earned themselves devote fans and soaring profits.
And how do brands do that? By being brand led…
Being a brand led business means you completely align your business strategy with your brand strategy, based around your customers and their want and needs. You create an environment both on and offline that honours and communicates the sentiment, vision and values you want your customers and followers to have and REMEMBER about you without you having to tell them to. Unlike advertising, branding cannot be bought or sold. Branding is transformational.
Consumers then begin to recognise this tone of voice, and look and feel when you activate your strategy across the likes of social media, marketing campaigns, corporate communications, media and advertising, sponsorships and events. This consistency and cohesion becomes incredibly powerful in the consumers’ eyes and should tie together seamlessly and passionately.
At the centre of everything lies your values and without these how can consumers believe in your business, your products and your people? When you are led by your brand, you are also led by your values and with your company values front of mind you will always act with integrity in all aspects of your marketing and communications. For some time now, industry experts Binet and Field have signalled the over reliance on short term activation tactics over long term brand building activity and the detrimental impact on long term growth that this has. You can stand out by being brand-led, you don’t always have to compete on price.
The customers that flock to you at on the back of a new offer are the very customers who will dance away with your competition at first sight of a lower price.
When we look back at memorable campaigns and advertisements from brands there is a correlation between brand and commercial success. Do you recognise each of these well-known brands without their name or logo?
And this is down to super consistent branding – across all touch points and in everything they do. For them this has meant a successful brand and consumer following to match.
Research has shown that the connections people make with brands can be as deep and emotional as the relationships we have with other people, so much so that 75% of buying experiences are based on emotion. Therefore, brand love is an amazingly powerful thing and brands need to build strategies and campaigns based around this L word.
Branding is ultimately not what you say but who you choose to be, so choose wisely.
And the difference matters now more than ever because when the COVID-19 crisis ends, consumers won’t start to search for brands they hope they can trust, they will seek out the brands they already believe in and know they can trust based on previous actions.
Now more than ever there is a time to switch off sales messaging (unless you are fulfilling an immediate need: supermarkets, FMCG etc.) and focus on brand building and show brand motivations are not just based upon self-centred desires to increase profits, it is time to stand for something more, something more sincere, a commitment to customers, their families and their communities.