This post is part of a series on brand management, which will be published every Friday.
In Florida, I met a guy from Atlanta that had a tattoo of the Nike swoosh.
“Why?” I asked, more curious than amused.
“I just really love Nike,” he replied.
He was not very chatty, but I doubt this guy was in love with the corporate behemoth that has suffered many scandals in the past. And no matter how great the products are, I doubt that had inspired the permanent ink.
It’s not a unique case, even WordPress boasts a few tattooed followers, but it sparked my analysis about the intense loyalty to a brand that would inspire a customer to tattoo the symbol.
This love is like that found in cults, the difference is in business it means strong loyalty, a personal connection and even a voluntary brand ambassador.
So how can a small business owner inspire the kind of loyalty and love for their own brand?
Target the Ideal
The way a customer views themselves (self-concept) can give your marketing a direction or purpose. Customers will use certain products or brands as a way of showing who they are to others. These brands personality traits that have been socially established. By customers linking themselves with the brand it provides a way to show the world who they are.
So the challenge is to figure out, who your customers want to be. In other words, how do they wish to be seen? In psychology, there are 6 ways people view themselves (self-concept), 4 of these can help your branding efforts:
1. Actual self: This is who I am
2. Ideal self: This is who I’d like to be
3. Social self: This is how others see me (the reflection in the mirror)
4. Ideal social self: This is how I want other’s to see me (the flattering reflection in the mirror)
By giving your brand a personality traits of the “Ideal Social Self” you can speak to a desire in your customers, that would inspire a personal connection and customer loyalty.
Be a Flattering Mirror
Target your messages, visuals, and elements of your business to speak to the ideal self. How would your customer want to see themselves?
Case in point:
In Victoria’s Secret case it’s sexy, glamorous and feminine. The brand has succeeded in creating such an overall experience that communicates this ideal (a quick Google search for the word “Sexy” places them at no.7 at the time of this post). In a recent study customers who walked around the mall for an hour with VS shopping bags felt more sexy, glamorous and feminine compared to those with regular shopping bags.
So if your brand is trying to speak of luxury, or being tough and macho, or even feminine how do you communicate this?
Establishing a particular character for your brand is the key to starting a conversation with the ideal social self, and being a flattering mirror for your customers.
- Figure out what the ideal self tor your customers is and describe your brand in a way that relates to this: (Company name) is ___________.
- Describe how you get your customers to that ideal, but instead of talking about services, refer to the benefits (expect a post on this topic next Friday)
- Craft your messages to cater to that characteristic.
There is probably more than one answer, but your target can’t be everybody because that would mean you have no personality. Aim for a distinct character trait that fits your target audience, but understand that you can’t appeal to everyone (Click here to see an earlier post on brand personality).
Need help? I can work with your business to figure out who you are, and how you should communicate that. In other words, brand strategy, contact me.