Building Brand Relationships with Customers

“Perhaps the most salient factor for the most successful brands is the promise of consistent quality. Whether it’s a business or a consumer making a purchasing decision, they want to be sure in this world of endless choice that their decision is the right one”.Rosi McMurray

By increasing awareness of why and how people make decisions to choose a brand, companies would be better equipped to build brand relationships with customers. The decision to buy a brand is possibly both planned and instinctive. In order to build brand relationships with customers, it would be imperative to understand how best to ensure that the company’s brand becomes the ‘chosen one’ for both types of decisions. Every company would have a brand – irrespective of its popularity and duration in the market – the fact is that a company cannot hope to grow it without focusing on building brand relationships with customers. Consistency and passion would be the prerequisites to ensure that people remember your brand. In order to build brand relationships with customers, the brand must ‘speak’ of the company’s values, culture and display a focus on the customers.

The best brand relationships with customers are created when the brand stands out as unique and distinctive. There are so many brands in the market now and without the ability to grab the attention immediately of the target audience, it would be tough to sustain a brand, let alone build its relationship with the customer. As mentioned earlier, the decision to buy is usually a mix of both planning and an involuntary action. If your brand is not easily recognizable and does not connect with the audience, people usually would not instinctively buy it. The more time they take to plan and consider, the higher the chances of their business going elsewhere. The importance of brand distinctiveness, therefore, cannot be underestimated. For example – A clothes brand has become so popular with teenyboppers (my friend’s daughter and her friends) that if they see anything that even remotely resembles the brand’s logo they squeal in delight and instinctively feel the need to shop at the store of the brand. This is possibly one of the best examples of successful brand relationships with customers.

Brand relationships with customers go beyond just the products offered under the brand – the relationships are the result of all the experiences that customers have with the brand. It could be the logo shape and colour, the promotional advertising, their personal interaction, the experiences of their friends and family and other such experiences that lead to a relationship and a buying decision. If a company succeeds in creating strong brand relationships with customers, their brand would become the obvious choice repeatedly, thereby increasing the revenue, profits, market share, and reputation of the brand.

The human mind is conditioned to associate things every time it encounters a piece of information or recognizable ‘stimuli’. These ‘associations and connections’ are what increase recall and enable people to remember something more vividly than others. In order to be successful in creating brand relationships with customers, the branding must be such that it stimulates the mind of the customers and enables them to recall a past pleasant association. The memory of even the shortest pleasant interaction or tiniest happy detail about a brand can immediately enable a customer to buy. It is therefore extremely crucial that when attempting to promote its brand, a company creates pleasant and memorable customer experiences, such that these experiences make customers buy the brand instinctively.

In creating brand relationships with customers, companies must however, understand that now customers have a huge number of options from which to choose. Their decisions to buy therefore, would not always be instinctive but they would deliberate and decide before making a choice. Customers want to understand why a certain brand would be better for them than others, and how it would help to make their lives simpler. If companies do not make concerted efforts towards ensuring that their brand becomes the obvious choice, the chances of customers moving to other brands would increase. Positive and motivated associations lead to robust brand relationships with customers.

We have mentioned several times in the past that customers are rushed and have a plethora of things to deal with. They actively seek out ‘business partners’ who will make things simpler for them and companies must ensure that they ease the decision making process for customers. In building brand relationships with customers, companies must focus on creating familiar and pleasant conditions that would trigger an instinctive positive reaction in customers, leading them to buy repeatedly. Once a brand is able to achieve this level of instinctive buying, all the company would need to do is to sustain the interest and positive feelings for the brand.

To ensure that your brand is the most obvious choice and the decision to buy remains instinctive for customers, a company would require to keep pace consistently with the changing needs and expectations of its customers. As soon as a customer’s ‘situation’ changes, their requirement of a certain brand / offering could also change. These changes could lead customers to then deliberate and argue about the effectiveness and utility of a brand, which increases the chances of ‘voting’ in favour of another brand. Even if your customers were more likely to buy something after making a careful assessment, if the brand offers something meaningful, unique and stand out – the brand would still be the most obvious choice. This is probably one of the main reasons that some brands grow faster than other brands and their salience increases enough to overshadow the others.

To build robust and long lasting brand relationships with customers, it is important that the company can reflect its passion and commitment towards customers through the brand. The branding strategies must consistently focus on the positive attributes of the company and brand and the many ways by which customers can benefit by using it. The keyword here is consistently – doing so will ensure that the benefits of the brand become firmly entrenched in the customer’s mind. Each time they face a similar problem, they should instinctively be able to recall the brand and its utility. The company must ensure that the brand creates an indestructible context in the mind of the customers with relation to a specific need. For example – if they feel hungry and need a quick bite, a company’s snacks, and ‘eat on the go’ brand should be triggered instinctively as the solution. This is what making a brand identifiable is all about and is what will build brand relationships with customers.

There are many things that companies could do to ensure that their brand has high recall value and remains as one of the top choices for customers. The efforts to increase brand identity and advertise its role in alleviating certain problems for customers, must remain consistent and relentless. Building brand relationships with customers is about portraying the brand as an indispensable tool and asset. Strong identification as a ‘problem solver’ will ensure that choosing the brand becomes an instinctive decision rather than something that customers would need to deliberate or meticulous plan before they use it. To build brand relationships with customers ensure that your company gives customers reasons to use it repeatedly and get others use it too.

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