Choosing to use a specific search engine, buy a certain smartphone, or even eat a particular cookie, often has less to do with the actual product or item than with the implications behind it. We as humans give extreme thought and attention to what the choosing of the search engine, cell phone, cookie or anything else we’re choosing at that time will say about us. We care more about the brand and the company behind the product, than the product itself.
The reason for this is that consumers look to develop deep connections to brands; ones they feel they can stand behind and support, and the brands that successfully lure consumers in benefit from their loyalty. So, what is the secret behind building a brand everyone loves and one whose consumers will stand behind them?
Build a Brand that Evokes Emotion
You might think that your favorite Oreo cookie really is the best cookie out there, but you might also happen to really like the story behind the brand.
In December 2015, Mondelez International (the guys behind the Oreo brand) decided to reinvent their 100 year old business model by directly promoting their products to consumers. They wanted to enhance the customer experience by offering their customers the chance to digitally customize the traditional Oreo packaging according to their personality, mood, occasion etc. This might not seem like a big deal, but for a company that relied on a B2B enterprise infrastructure and weren’t even able to accept payment information online before launching this new campaign, let alone support individual package customization, it was.
So why did the Oreo brand decide to reinvent their business model, which was working perfectly fine before, and sell their product directly to consumers? They did it because they were intuitive. The brand recognized the importance of building a brand based on emotion and offering their customers more than just a cookie. Oreo’s is a brand built around their consumers; because of their ingenious and original campaigns, they are viewed as a brand that always has and always will be right there with their consumers.
At the 2012 Gay Pride Celebration, Oreo showed their love with multicolored cookies (a campaign that sparked some controversy) and when the 2013 SuperBowl experienced a 34 minute blackout, Oreo had its 15 person social media team on the ready and created their epic “you can still dunk in the dark” campaign. Oreo showed and constantly shows the world that they are connected to their clients, and their clients in turn (and marketers around the world) quite obviously, love them for that.
Build a Brand that Marches to the Beat of it’s Own Drum
Love them or hate them (most people love them), you have to respect the brand loyalty that Apple commands. They consistently top charts as being the coolest brand in town and whether you are a small startup or a large enterprise, you have probably turned to Apple to learn a thing or two about brand loyalty.
So, what does Apple do right? A lot of things – but the most important thing that they get, is that if you march to the beat of your own drum, you will end up the leader of the entire band.If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford Click To Tweet
For example, the recent abandonment of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and USB port in the latest Macbook are part of a long tradition established back in 1998 by Steve Jobs, when he decided to remove the floppy disk from Apple computers. At first, the world gasped in shock, but Steve Jobs didn’t bat an eyelid. Fast forward to just a few years later, the floppy disk is dead and everyone hails the CD-drive. Ten years later, consumers were on board the CD-Drive-train until Apple made the decision to release the 2008 Macbook Air with its slim and sleek CD-drive-free design. As expected, the initial panic subsided quickly and CD drives have since become a thing of the past.
Simply put, Apple builds products that they love. They don’t listen to their consumers, they aren’t afraid to set trends and they recognize that their expertise, although feared at first, ultimately paves the way.
Build a Brand that Deserves To Be Loved
The most obvious example of a brand that everyone loves is Google. As a brand that built an entire corporate culture around sharing knowledge, Google is a brand that people not only love to love, but that deserves to be loved. Google has invested more time, energy and money improving the very basic things that we as consumers cannot live without. They constantly improve their products and add features based on what will make their users’ lives better and easier.
Beyond being pioneers technologically and gaining the support of their users, Google invented a corporate culture focused on employees and recognizing their contribution to the company as a whole. To do that, they have a transparency strategy in place where the entire workforce is aware of the direction the company is going in. Google also works hard to make their employees feel connected, no matter their role or rank in the company, hiring intelligent people and paying and treating them accordingly. This means letting 28% of them work from home or telecommute, respecting their opinions and giving them a work environment that maximizes efficiency (think bikes, free food, ping pong tables – you name it, Google has it!).
More than anything, Google is a brand with meaning – for their employees and their end users – and that is the true way to build a brand everyone loves.
As brands grow, it’s important to remember that their power lies in the connection they make with their consumers who are people; powered by emotion, driven by compassion, and in search of connection.