Customers want more than an experience. They want emotion.
Customers want a brand that they feel they need in their lives, according to the “The Brand Gap” by Marty Neumeier. The definition of a “brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company,” Neumeier writes.
According to Neumeier’s definition, all that digital marketers have to do is connect to customers on an emotional level and brand presence will grow — or continue to grow.
Easy, right? Well, not so fast.
First, consumers’ needs and wants are constantly changing, so businesses must keep up with change to keep up with the competition. You have to stand out.
Building your brand — into a business that customers will feel emotional toward — starts with being more present and engaging online.
Why is building your brand online important? ‘They expect businesses to earn their dollars’
Consumers will interact with your brand online and offline. Make sure your brand message is clear and that you are exceeding customer experience expectations in both the online and offline world.
To create a brand message, combine your business’s values with what your customers want, and where you want to position yourself in the marketplace.
“Buying just about anything, whether it’s a $20 shirt or a $20,000 car, is more of an emotional act for them, [consumers], than ever before. They expect businesses to earn their dollars; they won’t just hand them over.” That’s according to the June 2014 State of the American Consumer Report by research and consulting company Gallup.
When a business does exceed customer’s expectations, 23 percent of the customers who are fully engaged “represent an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer,” according to Gallup.
A large part of customer engagement comes with defining a strong brand promise and delivering on that promise. You define the brand promise based on the customer: the customer defines your brand. Without customer feedback, you can’t define a brand promise.
“A brand promise tells the world what a company stands for, what makes its products or services different from the competition’s, and why it is worthy of being chosen by customers,” according to Gallup.
1. Connect to your customers.
An online review is content for your brand. This means they play a role in how Google ranks search results. Customers have a better chance of finding your business when there are information-filled online reviews to read.
And that information is full of customer insights. There’s a method you should use to understand how customers feel about your business: sentiment analysis. What are the trends you see? What are customers saying about your brand? These questions can be answered with a sentiment analysis tool.
Increase your presence on online review sites and social media.
2. Be consistent.
Your organization should be consistent in everything including brand voice. Consistency in your brand voice will turn purchasers into loyal, committed customers, while inconsistent messages will just confuse your customers.
One of the methods you should use to help you create your brand voice is sentiment analysis. This tool will help you understand how customers feel toward your business, which will help you hone in your brand messaging, and in which direction you should take your brand’s voice.
Let’s take a look at Coca-Cola as an example of a successful brand. Yes, there have already been authors of blog articles who reference Coca-Cola — as they should — it’s one of the greatest brands of all time. The beverage company is a good example of consistency across its entire organization: emotional appeal, social responsibility, products and services, its performance financially, workplace environment, and vision and leadership, according to Rich Duprey at the Motley Fool. That consistency is one of the reasons the historic company has been successful.
Another reason? “By forever investing in its brand in ways that matter to consumers,” Duprey writes.
3. Create content for a blog.
A blog is a great way to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. Write a blog for your website and get customers to find your business with meaningful and useful content.
Don’t know what to write? Ask yourself what questions your customers ask and answer them in a public-facing blog post, or conduct keyword research and create content based on the most popular search keywords related to your business.
Make sure your business has a strategy to connect with customers on an emotional level, consistently.
This article first appeared in www.entrepreneur.com