Marketers, you’ve experienced it before, marveling at a brand for how it’s connected with the marketplace. You feel a sense of respect and find yourself nodding because while it was unexpected, it was real, it was smart, and it made sense. Take for example the recent tweet from Sanofi in response to a tweet from Roseanne Barr. She tweeted “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting” in response to her highly criticized tweet previously and Sanofi followed up very quickly with this response:
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
This tweet alone generated a ton of press but more importantly goodwill about the brand. It showcased its smarts and relevance to the market.
Or remember the “most interesting man in the world” effort by Dos Equis. It captured the entire country’s imagination, lifting the brand to new heights. The challenge for Dos Equis is to continue to stay relevant and keep pushing for a true connection with their audience. Red bull has done a phenomenal job keeping in touch with their audience, elevating the brand beyond the energy drink category.
For any brand to be charismatic and develop true fans, they will embody some, if not all of these 5 traits:
1. Thoughtfully RESPONSIVE
Instead of hiding behind a corporate façade, Zappos embraces contact. In fact, their entire brand is built on customer service, using that critical touch point to spread awareness and grow brand equity. Their call center is not outsourced and remains their central branding arm. Their 24/7 phone number is prominently displayed on their website and their KPIs (key performance indicators) are “time to contact” (how long does a customer have to wait before being in contact with a Zappos representative) and “number of wow gifts delivered” (flowers, cookies, postcards etc.). How can your brand be responsive and instead of hiding behind a tedious user experience, connect and help solve problems for your customers?
2. Create delightful MOMENTS
The Magic Castle hotel in LA has been rated the #1 hotel in TripAdvisor for a number of years and have consistently been in the top 3. It’s a three-star hotel with no restaurant, bar or even an elevator, that’s beaten the fanciest hotels, like the Waldorf Astoria. How? They thrive by creating moments for their customers which is out of the ordinary and brings out an emotion, ingraining that moment into memory. They have a culture of providing the best experience possible for their guests. Free sodas and snacks 24/7, free laundry service, access to the Magic Castle Magicians Club next door and the cherry on top? A red telephone, where you can order up free popsicles by the pool, served up by a member of the staff in a tux and white gloves. Moments are powerful, how can your brand create remarkable moments? (as Seth Godin puts it, “worth remarking?”)
3. Grounded in VALUES
Why do we look up to Patagonia? Most of us will still remember the 2011 campaign where Patagonia bought a full-page ad in the New York Times urging folks not to buy their jacket during black Friday. They even wrote a blog post explaining why they did that and recognizing the potential for hypocrisy in their message as they are clearly part of the consumerism problem. However, the fact of the matter is that Patagonia is thoroughly aligned to a set of core values around the environment. Their love for nature manifests itself through different but connected ways. Remarkable pictures of adventurers and climbers in beautiful landscapes, providing full transparency on where they source and manufacture their products and purposeful programs like Worn Wear to help reduce consumerism and support repairing and swapping of their gear. They have developed and embraced a set of values that are real and meaningful, so they can actually make decisions based on them. Are you ready to ground your brand in values the organization is truly going to stand by?
4. CARE immensely
There are fans and there are Wegmans fans. If you have not been through the Wegmans experience, you need only do a quick research online or just talk to someone who has and you will immediately understand the power of brand loyalty. Fans of Wegmans swears by the private grocery chain and Wegmans simply loves food and it all starts with its employees. They spend several months training each employee about its culinary offerings and they do it in a deep experiential way. For example sending their butchers to different parts of the world; Uruguay, Argentina to learn about beef, cheese aficionados to Wisconsin, Germany and France to dive deep into where the cheeses in their stores were made. By caring deeply for their employees, it’s no wonder customers feel the love and have no problem returning it. Do you care deeply enough about what you sell and the people working for your brand?
Reasons why I’m excited to go back to Syracuse:
The big wegmans, my friends, pastabilities, the big wegmans, basketball, destiny, Sodexo workers, and THE BIG WEGMANS
— Sarina Russo (@SarinaRusso2) August 15, 2018
5. Perform REAL actions
Last but not least, brands who attract true fans deliver real value. From Zappos to Wegmans, there perform real actions, whether through their products, services or their culture and corporate programs. Building your brand never ends and even though the architecture of what you say, how you look factors into the full alignment of a brand, ultimately it’s what you do that makes it all real and stick to the minds of your customer.
Breaking through as a brand today has never been more challenging. Following any or all of these five tenants can move your brand from indifference to charismatic and propel it to new heights, garnering interest, respect and ultimately loyalty.