Updated: Aug 30, 2019
There has been a lot on social media and online lately about how customers buy into people more than corporate brands. This isn't a new concept and we shouldn't be surprised by this. Look at Richard Branson and Virgin. Richard Branson has 12.6 million followers on Twitter. Virgin has 242.6 thousand followers.
Now don't get me wrong - I am not trying to suggest that a huge social media following is crucial to success and should be your goal for your business (there's a lot of material to be explored in this area). I am highlighting the fact that people connect with people.
We are all human beings. We love to connect with people. We love to meet people who share similar interests to us. We like (and sometimes don't like) to be challenged by people who take a different approach to life than we do. We enjoy a bit of gossip. We connect with people who share our values and often learn from those who don't. We are social creatures who build communities based on interactions and relationships with others.
So why should we approach things differently when we are in business? We want to engage people in what we do to move them from being interested in our service or product to seeing the benefit in buying it. We want to develop relationships with our customers to create trust and build brand loyalty so they share their love of our company with others and continue to support us. And often as a small local business we want to be a valued part of our local communities adding to the local economy and keeping our high street thriving.
This is why it is so important that as a business we can share our stories with passion and personality. We must demonstrate our brand values consistently in all we do, whether this is across our marketing channels or in the personal interactions we have with people. It is so important that you reflect your personality, what you stand for and how you support your customers and community across all your communications and interactions.
Be the face and the voice of your business. Share content across your platforms (website, social media channels, newsletter, promotional products) that really shows people what you are all about. It's ok to be humorous if that's appropriate, it's more than ok to apologise if someone has had a poor experience, it's definitely ok to let people see you are an approachable, caring and passionate human being who believe in your product or service. And if you are a company with employees then get them to show their human side too.
Think about the brands you love and why love them. There is a reason you choose certain products and services over others - quality and price point are drivers but more often than not it's the interactions you have with the people who work for the company that really seal the deal.
My favourite local coffee shops (Fred and Ginger, Musette, Black Goo to name a few) are places I visit time and time again not just because the coffee is good but because the people who work there make me feel welcome, they are focused on providing a positive customer experience and they believe in how good their products are. The jewellers I love (e.g. Biagio the Jeweller, Alex Monroe) constantly demonstrate their expertise and passion in all their interactions whether I am in the shop or following online. My hairdresser (Grace at Lavish Hair and Beauty if you'd like to know) not only cuts the best French Bob going but she makes me double up laughing on every visit and gives me the best personalised advice on what my hair needs (and sometimes what my life needs!). I could go on but I'm guessing you've got the point.
So my advice - be you, be true to your values and reflect this in your brand. This will connect you to the people are your people - loyal customers who share your values and love your brand.
If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you with this take a look around the website and drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org