If your brand was a person, what would it be like? Warm and friendly? Caring and trustworthy? Easy to talk to? More importantly, would it be someone you want to do business with?
One thing we’ve learned over the years working closely with brands across many industries is that developing and maintaining an authentic and consistent brand persona across all consumer touch points is just as critical as offering the latest whiz-bang features and benefits for driving sustained growth over time. Why? Because brands do have a personality, and whether you as a marketer creates it or the consumer does, you must make sure consumers love your brand.
One example of the importance of brand love was seen in research conducted for major financial institutions by marketing insights firm, Coherency. It showed that “consumer love for a bank – yes actual love, can be a powerful driver of engagement, preference, loyalty and word-of-mouth for the brand.” This applies to any brand that seeks to bond with consumers. The decision to choose one brand over another stems from a combination of emotional and rational factors, and brand personality is often the tipping point in the consumer decision-making process. Brand personality is the perception you create in the minds of your customers and prospects. It’s a direct reflection of how your customers feel as a result of interacting with you, what they perceive you stand for, and whether or not they find your brand proposition to be believable. Emotional reactions to a brand occur in people’s subconscious – their immediate, gut-level reaction. From there, consumers begin rationalizing their actions.
According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman’s How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, 95% of purchasing decisions take place in the subconscious. That’s because consumers perceive similar personality characteristics in brands as they do in people. As a result, they’re naturally attracted to certain brand personalities more than others. That makes it even more important to:
- Clearly communicate your brand personality through all customer touch points, including face-to-face, online, mobile, social media, and other technology-based interactions.
- Deliver a consistent brand proposition across audiences, product lines, and services.
- Come across as genuine, believable, and authentic to all stakeholders, including customers, prospects, shareholders, business partners, and employees.
While it can be easy to lose sight of continuously maintaining a strong brand personality in the mad dash to bring new products or fancy apps to market, failing to do so can quickly undermine your client retention and growth strategies. Emotional connections push people toward action. That’s why the strongest marketing and advertising strategies focus first on connecting people with brands through developing relationships, not selling products. Products and services are rapidly replicated by competitors, but your brand persona—the emotional connection you make with customers that drives loyalty, referrals, and raving fans—is yours alone.