Brands don’t have it easy these days: increasing competition, globalization, fast paced social media trends, empowered and choosy consumers certainly make it hard for brands to get noticed and liked. And I mean really liked, not just getting a lame Facebook like.
A brand feels liked and popular if it gets your repeat business and sales increase. To get there, many brands feel like they have to pretend to be your friend and many social media consultants recommend this approach. But friendship does not involve money changing hands (unless you have a weird friendship) and most consumers (including me) are not very keen to call a brand my friend. That’s just sad and it is much better to have real friends but also most brands have nothing to say and don’t converse well.
Okay, so brands and consumers are not friends but they still have some kind of a relationship. There is mutual interest in what the other party is up to. This interest is expressed in form of consumer surveys for example and in turn consumers demand more info about manufacturing processes, social responsibility, etc. The tricky bit for brands is to read the information and put the consumer back into the consumer journey.
The other tricky bit is of course that consumers don’t care about consumer surveys much. What they care about is good products at the right price. But many brands feel that it is no longer enough to offer good products at good prices. Consumers want more- but what do they want? What does a brand need to do to be liked these days?
From experience I know that the following (basic) tips increase a brand’s reputation and likeability but also personally I find that I am more loyal to a brand I genuinely like:
- Be human- own up to your own mistakes and use empathy. Consumers know that things sometimes go wrong but they need you to make them right! Be transparent and don’t promise anything you can’t keep.
- Don’t talk about yourself all the time- it’s boring. Consider others for a change and get rid of your consumer surveys. If you have a question, just ask on Facebook or Twitter. The insights may surprise you!
- Show your swagger- add a bit of character into your brand communications and use humour. Sex may sell too but I prefer fun and witty brands. That’s because fun brands don’t take themselves too seriously and seem to understand points 1+2 very well.
Crapola: This cheeky granola breakfast cereal made from you, guessed it, Cranberry, Apple and Granola has not been around for long but is quite famous already. No wonder with marketing slogans such as “Crapola is high in fiber. Just ask one of our regular customers” and “Makes Even Weird People Regular” it has won over many people. The brand really knows not to take itself too serious. And it is a great product with pure and high quality ingredients. Watch the brand’s story here and check them out on Facebook too.
Census: Another great example to mention here is the “boring” Census Australia collecting info from us to “plan” better. Anyway, it is something nobody looks forward to but in 2011 the people behind Census made it all worthwhile for us by entertaining us with the most random and hilarious tweets! Although they have stopped now, it was a great way to converse with Australia over a very dry subject. Check it out here: http://twitter.com/2011Census