With so many options available, consumers are turning to brands that they can connect with and trust when they need to make a purchase. While the giants like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify can provide this by creating complex systems to show what you’re most interested in, these systems are often out of reach for smaller businesses.
However, this doesn’t mean that smaller brands can’t personalize their businesses to attract customers. By focusing on a few key areas, brands can cultivate their identity and build lasting relationships with customers, giving themselves a competitive edge and build lasting customer connections.
Communicate Your Brand Identity
To start personalizing your business, you have to create and communicate your brand identity. Who are you as a company? What do you believe in? How can you solve your customers’ problems? These are vital questions that you have to answer in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Adopt a company slogan or motto and use it frequently. But don’t just choose any old motto because you think it sounds flashy or trendy. Choose one that speaks to your values and goals. Whenever someone sees it, they should instantly get an accurate idea of who you are as a business.
Use language that speaks with your ideal customers’ values and needs. Use words like value, low prices, quality, or premium that will connect to what your audience is looking for. Describing your services as “a better way to” do something or being faster or easier can communicate that you’re trying to help them solve a problem they have.
Similarly, if you have a specific cause or charity that your brand believes in and supports, regularly communicate this. Letting your customers know that 10% of your profits go to a specific charity can not only set you apart from your competition, it can also humanize you, making you seem less like an emotionless corporation. Plus, knowing that their purchases support a good cause can give customers a sense of satisfaction that encourages them to return.
Shape Your Brand’s Personality
The process of humanizing your business can be enormously beneficial, and there is no better way to do it than by building a strong social media presence. And as with choosing other communication channels, carefully consider how you want to position yourself on social media.
Create a personality for your brand. Are you going to be witty and humorous, constantly quipping about pop culture and current events? Are you going to be the definitive expert in your field, positioning yourself as the go to resource for high quality information and knowledge?
Craft a persona that you use across all social media channels and that your customers can begin to build a relationship with.
Connect With Your Customers
Speaking of social media, there is perhaps no better way to create genuine connections with your customers through the digital space. Don’t fall into the trap of only using social media to broadcast ads or try to amplify your content marketing efforts. Yes, those are valuable uses for social media, but the intention has always been first and foremost communication and building relationships.
Have genuine conversations with your customers. Respond to comments both positive and negative. Try to steer discussions to deeper levels that provide true value for your audience. By communicating with customers as you would an old friend, you can build a powerful relationship that drives loyalty towards your brand.
But connecting with customers is not just limited to social media. If you have regular customers coming into your brick and mortar store, start to learn their names and get on a first name basis with them. Provide amazing customer experiences. You might not be able to build the complex automated systems that Amazon has, but you can learn your customers’ preferences to give customized recommendations when they come into your store.
And finally, differentiate your brand from others. Figure out some little gesture that, all else being equal, can set you apart. Perhaps it’s offering an unparalleled level of customization or throwing in some sort of little extra with purchases. You don’t need something complex or expensive (though that might be appropriate for premium brands), but including something surprising that will make your customers smile can bring them back.
Personalizing your brand can be incredibly complex, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple approaches can help you to humanize your brand, building relationships with your customers and fostering loyalty that can keep them coming in the door on onto your site for years to come.