What does it mean to build brand love, and why does it matter?
Nowadays, it’s not enough to have a cool product or service at a competitive price point. If your brand’s ever going to take off, you need exceptional customer experiences based on positive emotional connections.
Customer experiences are what people remember feeling during and after interacting with your brand. A staggering 73% of consumers say customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions (PwC). And 74% buy based on customer experience alone (Forbes Insights).
Creating the warm and fuzzies for your brand leads to loyal customers who make repeat purchases and recommend your company to others. That’s why these “fully connected customers” are 52% more valuable than even your most delighted buyers (Harvard Business Review).
So in this post, we’ll share eight tips for how to build brand love, form authentic relationships with your target audience, and get them actually to care.
How To Build Brand Love and Form Relationships With Your Target Audience
When you break it down, learning how to build brand relationships is no different than forming new friendships or romantic connections.
There’s an initial attraction based on common interests, values, or shared experiences. Then, both parties start to divulge more about who they are and how they may improve each other’s lives. Finally, when we feel a growing affinity, we introduce our new special someone to our friends and family.
This is exactly what happens when people fall in love with your brand.
Brand loyal customers lead to higher conversions and help increase your revenue. They’re also less price-sensitive and more engaged, often being the first buyers of your latest release. And since consumers trust reviews from people they know, fully connected customers might do some of the best marketing for your product or service.
1. Start Dating Your Target Audience
When you first start dating someone, your early conversations border on polite interrogations. You ask about where they come from, whether they have siblings or kids, what they do for a living, what they do for fun, and so on.
Intel like this is actually pretty useful for your brand.
Your product or service isn’t a good fit for everyone. So defining precisely who falls in your target audience is the first step to understanding how to market to these consumers, so they pay attention to what your brand offers.
So when sleuthing out your ideal customer, think about their:
- Basic demographics, such as their industry, role, location, interests, and more. If you’re running Google Ads for your target audience, you can select from various preset demographics to get your brand in front of the right eyes without wasting any budget.
- Biggest pain points. When you know what your audience needs help overcoming, you can position your brand as the answer to solving these issues.
- Online hangouts. Do they browse Instagram more than Facebook? Ask questions on Quora or Reddit? Wherever channels they frequent the most, target them.
Learning all this about your target audience helps you create detailed buyer personas or customer profiles. These will give you a roadmap for how to form an emotional connection.
Your target audience will believe you truly understand them, care about their needs, and want to see them succeed. These are all tenets of a healthy relationship.
2. Show Off Your Brand’s Unique Personality
The last thing you want to do when dating someone new is to remind them of their ex. And in the case of your brand, you want to show your audience what makes you special, unique, and unlike your competitors.
So conveying your authentic brand story and having a recognizable brand identity is essential for letting customers get to know the real people behind your company.
Your brand story should explain why you exist beyond making a profit. What’s your purpose for starting this business? Did you succeed right away or struggle with failures before finding your footing? What makes your team different from your competitors?
The more genuine and honest your brand story, the greater emotional connection you’ll form with people who hear it.
As recent statistics show:
- 86% of consumers name authenticity as a key factor when deciding which brands to like and support (Stackla).
- 81% of consumers say they need to trust a brand before making a purchase decision (Edelman).
Your brand identity should be recognizable and resonate with your target audience. Just like your voice and sense of style forms your identity, think of your brand as a person. For example, how would it talk in conversation? Would it use trendy slang words or a more formal tone? Would it dress in bright colors or keep a minimalist black and white wardrobe?
These all help create a cohesive vision of your brand, again, as if it were a person someone was just getting to know. This identity also allows you to stand out from the sea of other brands in your market.
Your identity must remain consistent throughout your website, emails, social media, business development, company culture, etc. Don’t give your audience mixed messages, or you’ll confuse them and come off as phony.
For example, some brands use the same Instagram filter for all their posts. This reinforces a consistent brand image, and cohesive aesthetic fans come to know, love, and associate with their products specifically.
3. Open Up About Your Brand’s Core Values and Beliefs
Just like a person, your brand should have a set of guiding core values, dreams, goals, and passions that help define its character and personality. These prove you’re not a faceless corporation.
So weave these into your brand story, company culture, marketing, product lineup, etc.
Sharing them shows your audience what you stand for and whether your brand’s values align with theirs. Once they see you’re on the same page, they’ll understand and trust you, making them much more likely to purchase. In fact, 77% of consumers only buy from brands that share the same values as they do (HavasGroup).
Stand with conviction on your moral code, and don’t worry about people who disagree. That only shows they weren’t your true audience.
4. Highlight Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to give their hard-earned cash to brands that care about using their platform and profits to give back to social and environmental causes. If you don’t do this, these young and influential buyers will move onto a brand that does (and they have no shortage of options).
However, simply giving back to the latest or trendiest cause isn’t going to cut it. Your brand must make a connection between your outreach and your core values.
For example, an environmentally-friendly yoga studio may want to highlight that their yoga mats are made from recycled plastic bottles plucked out of the ocean. And a lingerie company may wish to donate a portion of each sale to supporting women in underserved communities.
Align your brand with a greater purpose, and you’ll find others equally committed to supporting your brand and those causes.
5. Send Love Notes To Your Audience Via Social Media
It helps to interact with your existing customers and new leads on social media to stay top of mind. After all, when you’re having a grueling day at work, a fun message from a friend always seems to make it better.
Let your social media posts do the same for your followers. For example, a popular practice would be to connect Facebook custom audiences with Typeform so you can easily send feedback forms and notes to your audience on social media.
Your target audience should determine where you spend most of your social media time. A professional crowd is likely to interact with your brand on LinkedIn, whereas a younger audience may prefer TikTok or Snapchat, for example.
No matter which route you choose, try to:
Get in the habit of posting at least once or twice per week. Share tips and tricks, show followers different ways to use your product or service, and spotlight new features/products before the rest of the public hear about them. It’s easy to schedule social media posts to go out on autopilot using a campaign management tool. You can also tell followers when you’re booking new appointments or sessions. These all help build hype and encourage your audience to stay tuned.
Take advantage of Instagram Stories, which are photos and videos that disappear from your account after 24 hours. Like a limited-time sale, your Instagram Stories give followers an exclusive sneak peek at what’s going on at your brand. Then, they can quickly engage with a comment or emoji or start conversations with the rest of your community, just like they’d react if one of their friends did the same.
Over 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand, and 50% of users have made an off-platform purchase after seeing a product or service in Stories (Instagram). So this route is definitely worth pursuing.
Share user-generated content. Encourage customers to share pics or videos of them using (and loving!) your product or service. A whopping 79% of people admit that user-generated content “highly” impacts their purchase decisions (Stackla). And it gets your audience excited for the possibility of being seen and featured by your brand, inspiring more community involvement and participation.
6. Make Giveaways Your Love Language
Everyone loves unexpected gifts, and surprising your fanbase with them quickly builds brand loyalty.
Host a giveaway on your website or social media channels, and you’ll have a chance to grow your email list or follower count while engaging with your current customers simultaneously. You can give away a sample product, the first release of something new, or even a private Q&A session.
Entry for the contest should require:
- An email address
- A follow, like, or comment on your social media post
- Tagging a friend (and if the friend follows, they both win a freebie!)
- A picture of your customer using your product/service (to capture more user-generated content!)
Consider surprising customers with a free sample or discount code with every purchase, especially first-time buyers. Customers love surprises like this because it shows your brand exceeds what they expected (i.e., just their purchase).
They’ll be eager to share the positive customer experience and see what happens next time they buy. Bonus: If you send a sample they like, they may purchase the full-size version next time.
7. Ask For Feedback and Implement Good Suggestions
Checking in with your customers is just like checking in on your relationships. You want to ensure you’re always on the same page and making each other happy.
Asking your customers for their thoughts and feedback is the best way to see if you’re living up to their expectations. In addition, you can gauge their interest in your company and learn which features, products or services are more/less important than others.
You’ll then be better positioned to provide exactly what they need or improve things that aren’t quite working, building brand loyalty and keeping your offerings relevant.
To do this, you may want to:
- Create social media polls
- Email surveys, quizzes, or questionnaires. Offering an incentive for feedback will increase the likelihood of you getting more responses.
- Have a chatbot ask about their experience before leaving your site
- Send an email after each sales interaction and get their satisfaction score
Additionally, consumers love when the people behind their favorite brands hold honest discussions and listen to their suggestions in real-time. You can try this route by scheduling:
- Livestreams on YouTube
- A Q&A session on your private Facebook group
- Conversations on a special Slack channel
- Open forums on your invite-only Discord
Never ignore customer feedback, even if it’s negative. Failure to respond creates a separation between your customers and your brand.
In fact, replying to complaints on social media boosts customer approval rates by 25%, but ignoring them can drop your score by 50% (Convince & Convert Consulting). So, address the comments, own up to them if your brand messed up, then resolve the issue ASAP. And don’t forget to like comments on your social media posts to show you appreciate the support.
Take feedback seriously and implement smart suggestions. Customers will lose trust in your brand if you don’t acknowledge or take their ideas to heart, especially when they’ve spent their time and energy providing your company with helpful intel.
8. Always Be There When Your Customers Need You
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and your brand needs to keep a two-way line open at all times. That’s where your customer support team can step in and create better customer experiences that generate word of mouth praise.
Building a scalable customer support network means you may want to have remote agents available to answer social media comments, respond to emails, address live concerns on your website, and pick up phone calls 24/7 in every timezone your customers live.
Chatbots on your site can help address the most frequently asked questions or concerns in real-time, day or night, to create a more connected, intuitive customer journey. Chatbots are also great supplements to a live chat option you may offer on your website, as they’ll clear up the support queue for your agents.
Intelligent phone systems allow you to build better relationships with every customer, and they’re much more reliable than the traditional systems your business may use.
When inbound callers reach you, you’ll have data on them and their past interactions with your business – like how satisfied they are, survey responses, account value, and more. Each customer will feel this personalized service and be happy they don’t have to repeat their pain points from earlier interactions.
The Final Word on How To Build Brand Love
Research on consumer behavior proves that attracting your target audience and fostering brand loyalty takes solid relationship-building skills.
Consumers love buying from brands they like, trust, and respect. So you’ll need to show your audience what the people behind your company stand for. Make them see you actually care about your customers and worthy causes more than making a buck.
Follow today’s tips, and you’ll have customers who love your brand and keep coming back for your positive customer experiences. Their word-of-mouth recommendations will then boost your outreach, drive more sales, and lead to more happy, lifelong customers.