Businesses must work harder to persuade consumers to fall in love with their brands if they want to get ahead of the competition, a leading entrepreneur has advised.
At a recent conference held at Google’s UK HQ in London, a gathering of marketing and retail industry professionals heard from key speaker, Matthew Hayes, the managing director of brand agency Champions (UK) plc.
Looking at the digital revolution facing the fashion and e-commerce sectors, he told how building brand love with customers is essential to future success.
“Today, it’s no longer about people who ‘like’ your product, it’s about those who love your brand” said Matthew, whose Midlands-based agency has an impressive track record of building digital marketing strategies for hundreds of successful brands.
“Over the years, we have seen certain brands excel in this area and now, thanks to building strong relationships with their consumers, the likes of Apple, Disney and LEGO have mastered brand love.
“Their consumers are truly invested in their brand and in turn, they have continued to dominate their markets.”
He said that 75% of buying experiences are based on emotion and explained there were six key factors to help instil brand loyalty which are:
- Exceeding the customer’s needs
- Building trust
- Setting trends
- Sharing values
- Elevating experiences
- Having respect
It is also essential to identify and understand your customer’s journey, so that you can engage with them consistently using the right number of touchpoints, said Matthew.
“Once you do that, you can create positive experiences that embrace all of the things needed to develop brand love.
“Whether it is via social media, on your website or through your after-care service, you can incorporate the six factors that make consumers fall in love with your brand into your marketing strategy.”
“Brands need to earn customer affection and loyalty – then need to show them that they are loved first”
And he added: “In the simplest terms, we need to take into consideration that we are all looking to belong. We are pack animals and want to find the place we belong, we are understood – our tribe.”
As well as the importance of branding, the event covered a range of topics, including customer acquisition and the need for unified e-commerce strategies going into 2020.
It was hosted by software provider and premier Google partner Diginius, with other presentations from the likes of Google, software company VTEX and Influencer Matchmaker agency, which is headed by young entrepreneur Amelia Neate.
Her team partners brands with authentic and leading influencers across the globe and has access to more than 2,000 influencers and celebrities, running successful campaigns with Hotels.com, Amazon, eBay and Arsenal in the last year.
The agency has matched brands with lifestyle YouTuber Misha Grimes, Love Island’s Jack Fincham, singer Jessie J and parenting influencer Giovanna Fletcher, among many.
When selecting the right influencer, you need to ensure your values align and they are going to reach the right audience, said Amelia.
“The number of followers they have can be deceptive and often irrelevant, so the key is understanding who is following and, more importantly, the level of engagement with them. Are the people engaging with them the kind of people you ultimately want to reach?
“Identifying your objectives and goals early on is key to understanding and measuring your return on investment – what is it you are hoping to achieve? Brand awareness or direct sales?”
Research has shown that 82% of consumers said they were ‘very likely’ to act on the recommendation of an influencer they follow.
Highlighting the importance of a well-specified brief, Amelia said: “There needs to be a balance of the influencer having creative control but also making sure they get across the right brand messaging.
“These briefs help to ensure a campaign is legally bound and complies with Advertising Standards Authority regulations too. Campaigns work best when they are honest, being more of a friend’s recommendation to their audience”
The event’s overriding message was that brands must offer something unique, meaningful to their customers if they want to stay relevant in these constantly changing times. Most of all they need to learn more about the needs of their consumers and service them, whilst genuinely appreciating their custom.