Ha… love that term, “brand bond”. I jacked it from this white paper I just read called Engagement of the Future.
It was a bit over my head, I tend to like simple and straightforward information, and when you start talking number crunching, metrics, and acronyms my eyes start to glaze over.
However I did walk away with a few of the finer points, and what struck me most was this excerpt.
Without actual “engagement,” advertising and marketing efforts are just that; forays of creative and communication attempts aimed at what brands have identified as being appropriate audiences. They do not, unfortunately, guarantee that any positive behavior for the advertised brand will result from the marketing exercise, i.e., that the “target” will neither pay any attention to the message, nor will become a “customer,” no matter how many times the commercial is run.
OK so let me break that down in BGB/Cori speak. 😉 Basically if you’re a business marketing a product and/or a service, and you’re not actively and appropriately engaging those folks you deem to be your “right people”… you can hammer them with cool products and services till the cows come home but they won’t give a lick until they know you give a lick about them.
Give and take between you and your audience.
That’s what it takes to inspire loyalty and build a brand people trust and are willing to spend their hard earned money on.
To borrow a line from Webster engagement means emotional involvement or commitment. When your people are engaged with you it means they are invested in you and what you have to say and offer.
They CARE, and it’s likely they care because they’ve realized YOU care about THEM. It makes for a warm and fuzzy circle of happiness between you and your peeps. You give, they take. They give, you take. Around and ’round it goes in a nice little love fest of “brand bonding”.
5 Rules of Engagement
1. Adopt a “How can I serve you?” mentality.
Again, people don’t give a flying fig about you or what you need or want, until you’ve proven to them they’re important first. As Jesus says- For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Now, that’s not to say you gotta give up your life for your people, that’s mildly extreme. (OK, a lotta extreme… we’re talking branding people… no need to die to do it!) But if you want to create a loyal following, that is emotionally involved and committed to you, you’ve got to think about yourself a little less, and think about what you can do for others a little more.
2. Be kind and welcoming to new fans and customers.
Do your best to make them feel special and included in something slightly bigger than just themselves. That’s why blogs are so awesome when it comes to branding. You have room to grow and the ability to foster a sense of community with your readers. You can help them feel welcome and like they are part of something enjoyable that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
You can engage them with your content, get to know them with your comments, and learn to love them by learning more about them and connecting on a more personal level, via both your blog and other social networks like Twitter and Facebook and even email.
Immerse them in the total experience that is you and the brand you’re trying to build and they will walk away feeling glad to know you and happy to work with you and/or refer you to their friends. They will become the ultimate in brand ambassadors.
3. Pay attention to the smallest details.
I know it’s tough sometimes to do that, for me too. I’m a big picture kind of girl, and smaller details will often escape me until someone slaps me over the head with them. But details matter, and can matter big to some people. Details like offering a fond farewell to a customer or client who no longer needs your services.
Just because they no longer have a need to work with you, doesn’t mean you should stop engaging them and making them feel special. Let them know you appreciate their business or their patronage or what have you, and that you hope someday to work with them again in the future.
The absolute best clients and customers are repeat clients and customers and referrals of repeat clients and customers. And they don’t become repeats and referrals by saying “Hey, thanks for your business but don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!” Just sayin’.
4. Remember what’s important.
Sure it’s great for business to foster loyalty and build a “brand bond” with your audience. But it’s also great for you. It’s a feel good about yourself kind of great. You can sleep easy at night, knowing you are making a positive impact in the lives of the people you touch, even if it’s in seemingly small or irrelevant ways.
You’re building trust, loyalty, and rapport with your people. They can come back to you again and again, secure in the knowledge that their experience with you will be just as good as the last time, if not better. They know they can count on you to deliver on what you promise and that is the ear mark of a kick ass brand in the making.
5. And the final rule of engagement?
There are no rules! Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal is to throw the rule book out and do what feels right in your gut. Sure there are suggestions and benchmarks and milestones you can look for, but that’s all they are really. They aren’t rules.
So don’t be afraid to break a few so-called rules when you need to, if it helps you to connect with people and build valuable relationships.
Now… are you creating a “brand bond” with your people? Are you engaging your audience in a way that inspires their emotional involvement and loyalty? And are you following the rules or breaking them? Either way, there’s no better time to start bonding than now.
As always, please drop your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it with all your peeps. They’ll appreciate it and I’ll appreciate it. Win/win!