As a marketing consultant, my role is to explore opportunities that help to build individual brands, creating greater targeting and traction in front of specific target audiences. The goal is to build a much stronger buy-in around those brands, what they stand for, and importantly WHY a prospective client or customer should choose that brand above their competitors. You may relate this process to household names, or things we buy every day. However, it applies to every business on the planet, from micro businesses through to multinational corporations. To achieve mediocracy in marketing is to follow the status quo, and those that understand the concept of thinking differently and challenging the status quo will experience greater success. It’s an evidential concept and proven!
Although there is still a wide sense of the ‘my product / service is better than yours, because it has this’ approach to advertising, with products and services being continually reinvented and indeed branded in a bid to capture the minutest part of our conscious and subconscious thoughts, there are also plenty of TV advertisements all vying for our attention by being as disruptive as they possibly can and changing our perception of how an insurance company should present itself, or a washing powder should be sold [for example], and we are beginning to experience the peak of disruptive media representation, with each and every brand or business who adopts this process looking for that minute gap in our subconscious and conscious thoughts which can or will influence greater exposure around their brand and so lead to increased sales.
None of this is untypical of a marketing direction that has been adopted, and proven successful, for decades. Businesses or brands (they are one and the same) continue to look at influencing buying decisions based on what their services and products do above their competitors, emphasizing features, offers, service differentiations and promises, but very few elaborate on WHY they exist and what their beliefs are that perfectly correlate with their target audience. It is actually very difficult to do, and sometimes to comprehend! Hopefully, I can help to make this tangible.
Apple is an absolute master when it comes to creating belief and desire in front of its audience. It creates a sense of belonging rather than a sense of requirement, and this of course all stems from the vision of one man who created Apple from a domestic garage in the US, to now become one of the largest businesses in the world today. The difference between Apple and other computer companies is customer trust and loyalty.
When I talk about loyalty to clients, a common answer I receive is that it’s short lived, and I do agree most of the time there is a form of loyalty based on who is giving the best price or has an offer that is difficult to refuse. However, there is another form of loyalty which is based on expressing your beliefs, and creating an atmosphere around your brand that makes it difficult for customers to move away, with the bi-product of greater retention of business and that magical word, trust.
The analysts amongst us will recognize the tangibles in this statement. If you can retain more customers as well of course increasing your customer base, that can mean significant marginal gains for your business, so loyalty based on long-term trust is hugely powerful.
Trust is the keyword and common denominator of marketing and business success, and you might be reading this now and understanding the emotions of this buy-in process, but how can you reflect the word trust and create long-term loyalty based on a sense belonging from your customers?
The marketing process, and putting emotions into tangible operational marketing activity!
I mentioned how businesses focus on features and benefits, and of course that extra feature or benefit will correlate with a potential customer, but it doesn’t exude a reason for trust. Trust is about demonstrating the reasons why a person or business should buy from you, why they should choose you or your company above the competition. Features, benefits and explaining what you can do as the leading part of your marketing campaign doesn’t carry anywhere near the strengths of an emotional buy-in.
One of the areas I focus on in marketing is based on third party endorsement. In fact, if you study website analytics you will discover that visitor interaction is based around seeking that element of trust, or reasons why they should choose you. Case studies, testimonials and reviews are commonly the most visited elements of content on a website, so building trust is not about what you do, it is about exampling why people choose or have chosen you – third party endorsement builds that initial trust and it creates a sense of comfort, ticking the subconscious decision-making boxes based around making an informed choice. Now add an element of demonstrating your beliefs, and using this content to lead your campaigns with the reasons why you should be the automatic choice, and you have a winning formula.
This is also the kind of formula that doesn’t require constant promotions, sales and continuous product or service evolvement to create something that goes one better than your competitor, only to be outdone once they get hold of that fact. It is a formula that is based on a much stronger buy-in process, creates greater client retention and builds stronger business relationships. Breaking the status quo with disruptive methods of getting noticed is important, why follow the rest, but do this with empathy, confidence whilst demonstrating a high degree of trust is the ultimate winning formula
“If I have thrown in far too much emotion, let’s demonstrate this with a tangible comparison”
You now own a company that sells fabulous cake making skills to the consumer. You want to place an advert on Facebook and boost it to a wider audience. A version of your advertisement that has no emotion or lacks in reasons to gain trust might look like this…
A second version creating that human touch and emotional interaction might look like this…
The first advert informed the audience what you can do, and yes it showed what a great and clever cake maker you are (or you told them you were), but it had no emotional attachment, and didn’t correlate with the audience demonstrating the reasons why you created such a stunning masterpiece for your cake making business portfolio. It lacked the passion and influence to create a desire to click in comparison to capturing the emotion of the moment. The second advertisement demonstrated your passion, and the reasons WHY you do what you do, and your audience wanted to explore and share your joy in what you created for David and Sarah.
“But I don’t make beautiful cakes, I run a Precision Moulding company making components for electrical devices. It is really difficult to find emotional attachment in what we do”
Actually, it is pretty straight forward! Demonstrate your skills and passion in providing such a great service by utilizing what your clients say about you. A testimonial that states I use ABC Precision Moulding because they always deliver on time, and the product is perfect. I always TRUST them to do a great job for us, and they continually deliver! If I was in the market for buying this service, this kind of testimonial is enough for me, why go anywhere else? Why would I risk going anywhere else and getting an inferior product or service, or why would I want to waste my time doing so? It’s on my head if it goes wrong and a potential break in manufacturing product is much more-costly than a few percent off…
Every business has the ability to create emotional attachment with prospective customers by utilizing incredibly important assets that demonstrate what others think of their products and services or indeed react as David and Sarah did. Once you create the desire and trust to gain long-term loyalty, repeating this model to grow a business makes perfect sense! These pieces of third party content are gold dust to businesses, and using them to promote your services and products are a great deal more powerful than explaining what you do. They know what you do, but they really want to know why they should choose you. Show them!