Words & imagery courtesy of Smack Bang Design
On a recent overseas trip I splashed some cash and stayed at a topnotch resort, just to mix things up from my usual camping-on-a-soil-surface-with-no-pillow kind of accommodation.
This resort was next level. I believe the bungalow would have hugged me if it could – puffy, fluffy towels that made me feel I was wrapping myself in an actual merino lamb, high-end bath products that yes, of course I stole, crisp linen bed sheets that I, to this day, want to die in… Everything was five-star. And I felt five-star.
Cruising down to the breakfast bar in the morning, I wasn’t going to settle for my usual fruit salad and peppermint tea. Hell no, I was queen now – I sat down to a buffet spread of berry pancakes, freshly baked brioche, brandied butter and a side of spoilt-bloody-rotten. Why? Because I was spoilt-bloody-rotten. The resort branding radiated ‘You’re Worth It’ and I was buying into that culture like a kid chasing an ice cream truck.
It was all about one thing – branding. The bed-sheets were branding. The brioche was branding. Hell, even the butter was branding. And that my friend, is the power of a brand. When it’s done right, it spurs your people to create an emotional affinity with the culture of your business, and that, in turn creates customer loyalty. And if you ain’t heard – loyalty is pretty much like candied gold in the biz world.
So how do you do this if your business isn’t bed sheets, brioche and all things resort-life? Well, I don’t claim to know how to win the hearts of every single customer out there (would I be writing this blog post if I did?!). But I do know a few things that have worked a treat for me. These are my go-to dance moves when luring my dreamboat clients to the dancefloor:
#1. Be genuine
I’m a strong believer that great brands aim for customers’ hearts, not their wallets. Establishing a genuine connection between you and your dreamboat client is the only way to engage with them at a high-quality level. The trick here, is genuinity. Don’t go chasing hearts if you don’t genuinely, 100% care about and care for those hearts. People can see right through the sleaze and it will send you to sorry town faster than you would run away from a bad pickup line. The whole experience you offer your customer should stir something in them, move them, excite them, make them proud to be a part of your culture and brand.
#2. Share your story
By sharing your story with your customer, you take them along for the ride. Through as many channels as you can, show them your behind-the-scenes, your personality, your triumphs and your trials (as much as you’re willing to share). People buy into the story of the brand far more than they buy into your products or services. Customers no longer want to just know what you do, they want to know why you do what you do.
#3. Looks really do count
Us humans are a superficial bunch. We like things that look good and are naturally drawn to things that are easy on the eye. Exhibit A: Ryan Gosling. Visual storytelling is the key to successful branding, but this doesn’t mean we (or our business) need to be the best dressed or look like something we are not. It does mean making sure our image reflects who we truly are.
When you’re trying to emotionally connect with your dreamboat client, you’ll never form a true connection if your brand style isn’t a 100% true representation of you in all your sparkly-underpant glory. Ask yourself – how do you want people to feel when they engage with your brand? What emotions do you want to stir within your dreamboat clients? Does your current brand identity convey these emotions, or is it failing to connect with your dreamboat in some way? Maybe you need to invest in a rebrand, or maybe you can make some small tweaks to speak more directly to the heart?
#4. Brand Voice
If old mate Shakespeare taught us anything, it was that perfecting your prose is the fastest way to win hearts. Nailing your brand voice is a key ingredient to making an emotional connection with your dreamboat client. Your brand voice is how you write and speak, and across every touchpoint it should make the listener feel a certain way. Don’t get us wrong, not everything has to be full with emotional angst or extreme feels, but even a simple Instagram caption should express a piece of your personality or stir just a subtle smile from your dreamboat’s face.
#5. Brand Consistency
This world runs at the speed of light, with to-do lists coming out our ears and a seemingly never ending smorgasbord of choices and distractions threatening to run us off course. There is clutter and noise and colour and beige – so what is your brand doing to scream the loudest? Your dreamboat client needs to notice you and trust you, so they will be looking for consistency in your offering. Again and again. Capture your essence (values, beliefs, uniqueness) in a glass bottle and set it out to sea so no one can mess with it. Every single element of your brand should shout the same message – your logo, website, copy, products, packaging, social media, language – everything.
#6. Deliver simplicity
It’s as straightforward as this: the simpler the brand, the clearer the message. The clearer the message, the better the emotional connection. Simplicity allows for faster understanding and better decision making. When your brand communication is crystal clear, your message goes straight to your dreamboat’s heart without them having to think too much about it. If your brand message is diluted, convoluted or confused, then you may as well be the seven-hundredth rerun of a daytime soap on free-to-air TV… ie. easy to ignore.
#7. Authenticity, always.
Always strive for a brand that reflects your values and your vibe in all its shiny glory. Your dreamboat client is clever and savvy, and they can smell a phony in their sleep. Meanwhile, sincerity is just as fragrant as inauthenticity, only it smells beautiful and evokes connection and familiarity rather than a scrunched up nose. If what you’re dishing out isn’t in line with the menu, then people simply won’t pick up what you’re putting down. It’s not rocket science that you must practice what you preach if you want dedicated followers. Of course, don’t preach either – just be real and genuine, okay! Creating a brand that’s got you written all over it should be numero uno on your priorities list.
#8. Listen, Really Listen
It’s easy to stare at someone who is talking to you while being entirely immersed in thoughts concerning dinner or your next overseas holiday – I get it. But, you surely realise that’s entirely slack and sloppy if you want to keep up a real relationship like the one with your dreamboat client. Actually listening to them tells you all the secrets and insights you need to know in order to meet their needs and fulfil their desires. On the flip side, when you truly listen, and your responses assure your people of this fact, they feel welcome, comfortable and valued.
If you value listening, and know how to hear feedback from your people, you’ll be amazed at the rewards.
“Buyers make most decisions by relying on their two-second first impressions based on stored memories, images and feelings.”
-Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking