There is a lot that goes into developing a brand. I deal mostly in the corporate branding space but have spoken or presented at various venues to parents, individuals, schools and other places about developing their own brand.
It could be a brand for their new company, a rebrand of an existing product, or a personal brand. Pretty much everything I will talk about in this post relates to all of them. Branding is universal and it’s much more than just a logo.
We all have the desire to be loved. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, after physiological and safety needs are met, we strive for belonging and love. Love is that thing that completes us (according to Jerry McGuire). Once we’ve reached that point, we make the purchase, marry that person, or visit that favorite restaurant over and over again. To achieve this level of love, here are the 6 things that need to take place.
1 // POSITIVE INTERACTIONS
This is where it all begins. Those first interactions you have with a brand are going to set the stage for what’s to come. Then, as the relationship progresses, those interactions are what will shape every stage that comes after. I love using the research of the Gottman Institute when presenting anything about communication or branding. John Gottman talks about the “magic ratio” of 5:1. For every negative interaction you have with someone, it takes 5 positive interactions to balance out those negative feelings.
2 // CONSISTENCY
If you have kids, then you’ve been bombarded with the council you need to remain consistent in the routines of your children. For example, what time they wake up, what time they go to bed, when they eat dinner, snack times, where they put their dirty clothes, etc. If not, they will break down into uncontrollable tantrums (kind of like adults, when we go to our favorite pizza place and they’ve changed the crust recipe), or just leave your house a mess (kind of like adults…).
3 // CREDIBILITY
I don’t believe this is something you can make happen. I think it happens because of having those positive interactions with your customers and remaining consistent. It’s the first checkpoint in the relationship – the time when the customer lets their guard down and puts a little more trust into you and what you have to sell them. When doubt sets in, you’ll have work to do to appear credible again.
4 // AUTHENTICITY
Don’t mess this up! You’ve just made some good headway. You’ve become credible. Your customer has invested a little more into the relationship. Inauthenticity will destroy everything you’ve worked on until this point. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how, but we all have this crazy ability to spot someone that’s inauthentic, and we don’t like it.
5 // TRUST
When we feel that sense of trust, we’ve come a long way. In a relationship, trust is that thing that says, “I’m committed to trying this thing out”. It’s the green light, the thing that knocks down all barriers, sometimes that big sigh of relief. It helps us let go of that thing that was holding us back from making the purchase or getting hired. They have now built up enough trust in your brand to let go and see where the future takes them.
6 // LOYALTY
Once someone is loyal, logic has taken a back seat. Logic was working really hard in steps 1 through 3. During steps 4 through 6, emotion takes the reigns. Logic lays the foundation for how we are going to act and what we are going to do. Emotion confirms everything that’s taken place and moves it to the next level. Loyalty is partially what makes Apple customers ignore the fact that the iPhone may be technically inferior to other smartphones on the market. It makes us do irrational things. When we love something or someone, loyalty is how we show that love. A customer that is loyal will love you despite your flaws. They will stick around during the hard times, and be the first to congratulate you when things go well. Loyalty goes both ways. If a customer feels that you are being disloyal to them, they will leave.
The love someone has for your brand will be what helps you succeed. Every one of these steps will determine that journey to brand heaven or brand hell. If you’ve taken a wrong turn and begun that journey to hell, it’s going to be because one of these things was taken for granted or not executed the right way. Branding is the essence of who we are. Through it comes the success or failure of every relationship, be it a corporate or a personal one.
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