In today's digital world, it's become easier than ever for businesses to reach their target audience.
People can connect with you through just a click of a button or a tap on a phone screen. However, sometimes it is exactly this reliance on technology that can cause a breakdown in relationships between brands and their potential consumers.
Even in this time of ubiquitous smartphones, computers, and other technology, people still need a human connection. This is why it is so important to build a brand relationship.
What is a brand relationship?
According to the University of Pennsylvania, a brand relationship is just like a relationship between two people. It consists of give and take and includes interactions that are repeated over time. Throughout the process, each party gets to know the other in a real, genuine way.
These relationships have the same traits as relationships between couples, friends, or family members: they foster intimacy, love, and a feeling of mutual dependence.
Simply put, this kind of relationship builds loyalty. It keeps the customer coming back whenever they need a new product, and it causes them to line up at the door every time their favored company releases something.
What makes brand relationships so important?
Recent studies have shown that there is a "strong positive relationship between brand image and loyalty intention."
Brand image is the way the customer views the brand when they are considering buying their product or service. It consists of everything they associate the brand with: family, humor, attitude, or a hundred other things. If these associations are positive ones, the reputation of the brand increases. Word will spread, causing the pool of potential customers to grow.
Loyalty intention, on the other hand, represents how likely the customer is to stick with a certain brand. Positive interactions with a brand on social media or its website, with a customer service representative, or with a cashier at a physical store are the biggest influencers of this factor.
It is all about the human connection, and people can't get enough of it.
Taking the time to build a personal relationship with your audience requires more effort than just tossing out ads. It is very difficult to ignore someone who has taken the time to get to know you. Ads can be scrolled past. People can't.
How to Improve Brand Relationships
The brand relationship marketing model is proven to lead to a more positive interaction between clients and businesses. This, in turn, leads to a large, loyal customer base. So what are some ways you can improve your own brand relationship with clients? Here are some examples:
1. Connect with consumers on an emotional level.
When establishing a relationship with a brand, customers should feel an emotional attachment to the brand itself, not just to an item they may only need to buy once.
A company that does this very well is Coca-Cola. The brand has been around for a very long time, but their main marketing goal has always remained the same: make people happy.
With Coca-Cola, customer happiness may come from adorable polar bears on television commercials, allowing drink personalization at Coca-Cola vending machines, or just the way the company spreads cheer over social media. No matter how they do it, this clear desire to make the customer happy makes millions who are loyal—not just to Coke products, but to the brand itself.
2. Share your customers’ values.
Consumers are drawn to brands that share their same ideals and values. One brand that focuses on this shared bond is Nike. Its famous slogan, "Just do it," encompasses the belief that anyone can achieve their goals if they just get out there and try. In this way, Nike is more than an athletic apparel and accessory company—its brand and image carries a principled, inspirational message that's reflected in the company's various campaigns.
This messaging is a resounding success. Nike sells its athletic wear to millions of customers, not because they love Nike shoes, but because they feel like Nike shares the same values as they do.
3. Give it a personal touch.
Whether on social media or in a physical store, consumers rely on conversations, socialization, and shared activities to make them feel bonded to a brand. This can be tricky for a big company like Amazon. Surprisingly, however, Entrepreneur.com considers Amazon to have the best brand relationship around.
Amazon interacts directly with its customers throughout their site, making sure that every shopper's experience is personalized. They do this by creating lists of items geared to each customer’s tastes. This type of personal touch has made Amazon successful, and it could make your company successful as well.
4. Use social media to humanize your company.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone today who doesn't have a profile on at least one social media platform. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social network, setting up a profile for your brand is a great idea.
Having a social media profile gives you a chance to interact with your audience in the same way that they interact with their friends and relatives. This makes it easy for them to feel that deep, genuine connection you are looking for.
A perfect example of a consumer-brand relationship is the Wendy's Twitter account. The fast food restaurant regularly trades jokes with its followers and engages in good-natured ribbing of other restaurants.
When literally anything would be better on a bun than their beef. https://t.co/YfTTrYrPDI
— Wendy's (@Wendys) February 18, 2020
5. Take advantage of content marketing.
While many brands have copywriters to write marketing copy for their websites, this will only get you so far. To develop customer-brand relationships further, invest in content marketing.
Content marketing places more emphasis on building brand-consumer relationships. It uses a variety of mediums to not only sell something on the surface level, but to also strengthen the bond between a brand and its customers. Popular channels for content marketing include creating:
- Blog posts and articles
Building and maintaining a brand relationship with consumers is one of the best ways to build a loyal customer base. As modern technology makes people feel more and more distant from each other, a human connection with clients is more important than ever.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Jessica Scott.