Building Brand Connection is Important

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you will face will be building your brand. The ultimate goal is to set your company and your brand apart from the crowd. If you form a strategy without doing the research, your brand will barely float – and at the speed industries move at today, brands sink fast.” – Ryan Holmes

Referring to the quote above, companies face challenges while building brand connection and very often do not meet with the success they desired or expected. Sometimes it would seem like nothing they do works – the products, sales pitch, advertising and other efforts fall flat. There is probably no single reason but there could be a plethora of barriers to building brand connection and it would be wise to do away with these barriers before your competitor steals your customers. Does your company face issues / barriers in building brand connection? If yes, what steps have you taken to remove them?

We have mentioned several times that one of the major reasons that customer buy or don’t buy a brand, is emotions they feel or do not experience when thinking about a brand. It would be the prime responsibility of the company / brand promoter to ensure that when displaying and promoting the brand, they are successful in building brand connection. The brand must evoke strong positive feelings in the target audience. These feelings do not remain confined to just one brand of a company but would become the popular belief about the company, thereby encouraging more people to associate with it. A friend’s teenaged daughter feels so strongly about one particular lifestyle and clothing brand, that irrespective of what other brands offer, she makes it a point to first shop at her ‘favourite brand’. The fact is that the brand has built a connection with her through a number of aspects – great products, awesome service, emotion inciting branding and in-store placements and other such aspects. She refuses to shop anywhere until she has visited one or more store locations of the same brand. This is true of a large number of other teenagers too. We think that the company has done an awesome job in building brand connection by inciting positive emotions each time and this is the reason for their sustained success.

While some companies strive hard to connect emotionally with their customers and target audience, there are others, who fail miserably because they are unable to build such connection. The customers at such companies come and go, which essentially means that there is no loyalty in play. We know that building a loyal customer base is extremely crucial for any company but without stirring emotions and building brand connection, loyalty would be a distant dream. Before the attempt at building brand connection, companies must understand their customers – a crucial element that most companies forget. Without an understanding of the needs, wants and desires of the customer base, companies would not be able to appeal to the emotional or even rational side of customers. A company’s brand must display clearly, what it stands for, what customers would get from it and even what they must not expect from it. Another example is a very famous clothing and lifestyle accessories brand. The message they convey is clear – the brand is for the elite and rich. Despite such a brand image, the company has been successful in building brand connection with people flocking to the stores irrespective of whether there is a sale on or not.

 The other point that companies must remember when building brand connection, is that the customers of today are more aware and realize their responsibility towards causes and values. They are more likely to feel emotionally connected to a brand that supports some social cause and stands for traditional values in whatever it does. The customer’s loyalty is towards these values and when a company is able to connect its brand with them, attracting and retaining customers becomes a lot easier. Woven together with this aspect is the fact that it is not enough to support a cause and have a culture built around values. A company must be able to convey this successfully and forcefully to the target audience in order to get their attention. Many companies have a representative to convey their beliefs and values – this person must be chosen carefully. She or he must have a reputation and image in the business world that would support the messages to be conveyed. The demeanour of the person must align with the messages for them to have the right impact on the target audience.

In building brand connection, it is imperative that everyone in the company provides a uniform and consistent message. Every touch-point must provide the same consistent and top class experience for customers – inconsistency is a major put-off for customers and makes them distrust a company. If customers do not have faith in the company, it would be unlikely that they would associate with the company’s brand irrespective of the quality and pricing. The fact is if your brand intends to stand for something, this must permeate the entire organization for it to become embedded in the minds of the customers. Consistency, as mentioned in other expositions, is the keyword in customer service and for a company to be known for particular traits and values. Customers tend to believe and stick with a company that remains consistent in all it does – this trait would then be perceived as being part of the brand and connection the company hopes to build.

The leaders of the company have a major role in destroying or building brand connection. Their actions, decisions and overall demeanour would reflect on the brand and hence they must remain mindful of how they conduct themselves. If the leaders of the company appear arrogant, rude or lacking empathy, people tend to believe that the entire company and the brands would be the same. The image, that the leaders of the company project will be the unsaid impression the customer gets about the brand. Building brand connection is therefore the onus of the company and leaders – they must set the example of positivity for others in the company to follow, which then would reflect in the brand and messages.

Customers know the power they wield in making a brand successful or not. They expect companies to interact and inform them regularly on the happenings of the company that would affect them. Not doing so, can make your company and its brand appear aloof, uncaring and proud. Active listening and open communication are extremely important in building brand connection. Customers expect a company to be responsive – both when they complain and praise. Ignoring either would be detrimental, since customers would just as easily walk away to a brand that actually cares about what their customers say. Failing at building brand connection would lead to a negative image and market reputation – and from experience, one knows that bad news travels faster than good ones. Customers are as it is hard to come by – losing one customer could set off a tidal wave of negativity and your company could end up losing more than the one customer and prospective ones.

It is important that companies and their brands do not assume that people know about them. In fact, unsuccessful attempts at building brand connection could be because a large section of target audience may not even be aware of your company / brand. Spreading awareness through proper channels, messages and promotional activities would need to precede the attempt at building brand connection. The communication strategies if accurate would be the first step towards building a connection with customers, making brand penetration a lot easier.

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