HOW TO INSPIRE FIERCELY LOYAL BRAND LOVE
Have you ever wondered why some brands inspire a fiercely loyal following, while others fight tooth and nail to make a splash?
Let’s talk about brand love.
The other day, I was passing through Ramp’s kitchen when I saw the latest issue of FastCompany on the counter. At first, I thought it was a really bad ad, but as I looked closer, I realized someone had tattooed the Taco Bell logo on their body, forever.
They must really love tacos, I thought, as I examined the permanent homage. But what’s even more shocking, is how much they must really, really love Taco Bell. This is an extreme case of brand love, but it’s not uncommon.
Most of us have brands we’re loyal to, brands we rally behind, and in some ways, brands we love. Have you ever thought about why you love certain brands and not others? How did these brands earn your affection?
Brands have power. According to the FastCompany article 25 Brands That Matter Now:
More than ever, companies have the power to connect deeply with people and bring about change. They can influence the direction of larger culture and make an impact on the way other businesses think and operate.
Brands like Tesla, Airbnb, Nike, Spotify, and fellow B Corp Patagonia made FastCompany’s top 25 list because they’re recognizable, have quality products/services, make a positive difference in the world, and lead their industries. Some drive disruption and whether we like it or not, they shape the future of our world. So what do these inspiring, loyalty-inducing brands have in common? These five notable characteristics can make a brand more lovable and inspire a loyal cult of followers:
A clear purpose
Simon Sinek does a great Ted Talk, Start With Why, bookmark it and watch it when you have an extra 20 minutes. According to Simon, it’s not what we do, it’s why we do it. To create fierce brand loyalty and inspire others, our audience needs to identify with our purpose, beyond making a profit. Communicate your purpose as often as possible. When you do, you can create an emotional connection and a brand that lasts.
Having a purpose is not enough. How you live by your purpose in your day to day interactions is what matters most. A Harvard Business Review study found that 64% of people have a relationship with a brand because of shared values. At Ramp we <3 our values: do what’s right, not easy (integrity), embrace “we” (collaboration), ignite greatness (passion), own it (accountability), see differently (creativity), be big-hearted (thoughtfulness) and become more (growth). They aren’t just words to us, we live by them daily. Whole Foods was a small company with strong values and it’s one of the largest supermarket chains in the world today. When your brand lives by its values it can attract the right employees, suppliers and inspire love and loyalty from people who support what it stands for.
We are loyal to brands we trust. According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer, only 52% of people around the world trust businesses. In today’s landscape of lies, fake news, and real-time information, building a brand people trust is more important than ever. To create lasting relationships with your stakeholders, be transparent, authentic and accountable in every aspect of your business. Because the truth always comes out, and if you aren’t honest, it won’t be pretty.
We love brands that enhance our self-image and help us showcase our lifestyle. It’s why travelers feel at home with Airbnb, music lovers get down with Spotify and fitness buffs sport Nike. When brands authentically become part of their audience’s lifestyle they attract a loyal fanbase of like-minded followers. Give your audience ways to show-off their identity and express themselves through your brand.
One of our most basic needs is the need for community. If you’re into psychology, you might remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the need for love and belonging. Brands that satisfy this need earn our loyalty and eventually our love. Lululemon uses free yoga classes and running clubs to build community among its customers and as a result, they are ultra-loyal to the brand. Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar home base, you can still use social media or events to build community, engage audiences and provide opportunities to belong to a group. And you’ll likely earn some brand love along the way.
Whether you’re building a new brand from scratch or trying to enhance one that already exists start with your purpose, identify your values, be trustworthy, become part of your audience’s lifestyle and create a community for your followers. You might not have people lining up to get your brand tattooed on their skin just yet, but with a creative strategy and a good communication plan, you can inspire a fiercely loyal love for your brand too.
Need help getting your brand the love it deserves? Contact us.