If you want your brand to be loved, you've to remember your brand-customer relationship is a RELATIONSHIP. Customer loyalty and trust don't just come out of nowhere. Just like your personal relationships aren't guaranteed without a little work. Thus, we can apply The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, albeit creatively, to how your approach connecting with your customers.
If you've never read Gary Chapman's #1 New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, here's what you need to know. Chapman argues there are five universal love languages and everyone has one or two that speak loudest to them. And the other languages don't translate as well.
The Five Communications of Love
- Words of Affirmation.
- Quality Time.
- Physical Touch.
- Receiving Gifts.
- Acts of Service.
So, how can we foster love and loyalty between your brand and your customers? By speaking their love language and speaking it well!
Words of Affirmation
Something often lost as you build your business is the concept “a brand is a story that is always being told.” From beginning to end, your brand is telling a story to your customers about the character of your business. The mark of a good brand isn't a catchy tagline or consistent color schemes. A good brand is one with a personality to which customers connect.
With the love language of affirmation, those who speak it as their primary language feel love when it's spoken to them. Compliments, encouragement, and of course the straight, I love you.
So what about your brand speaks directly to your customer that they're important? Where do customers receive literal love notes? Does your social media strategy think about how to communicate customer appreciation?
When you speak love to your customer, it's important to consider the authenticity of the message. This is often done by following words with actions. If the emotional storytelling doesn't line up with the functions and actions of your business, it'll forever communicate inauthenticity.
If you're on social media, chances are you've seen gift-giving done poorly at least one time. There's the non-gift gift or the click-bait gift.
These gifts may look like a brand making a HUGE deal about a sale their offering for their VIP customers. Except, come to find out, the sale is a whole 10% off and the VIP customers are anyone that'll bite. Or maybe it's a freebie download you get when you subscribe to emails that does not actually offer anything it promised.
When customer's feel the strings attached, it doesn't feel like a thoughtful gift for customers. Instead, it feels like a worm on a poorly disguised hook. If you're going to give a gift, make sure it's about your customer.
A good and string-less gift will spark loyalty to your gift-giving love language speakers. And as you know, customer loyalty breeds success in the long game more than any quick attention grab ever will.
Acts of Service
Speaking acts of service as a brand doesn't mean specifically doing service for your customers. Rather, it's getting involved in causes that are important to your customers. This can look like donating to charities, creating scholarships, putting together a group service project, or throwing a charity event. The more your customers can be involved in the service the better!
It's important to ensure any cause you involve yourself in aligns with your company values or, again, you'll read as inauthentic. Additionally, getting involved in community causes that don't align with your brand messaging can actually lead to alienating customers. So either avoid the contrast or be prepared and revaluate your brand story.
Regardless, acts of service are a great way to develop customer loyalty, especially in highly competitive industries. Two great companies may compete for the same customer. However, the customer's choice is made easy when Company A puts on a charity event for something they think matters.
Quality Time and Physical Touch
For the purposes of our brand and customer relationship, we're going to lump quality time and physical touch into the same group.
If you want your brand loved and you want lasting customer loyalty, build a community. Creating a sense of inclusion and unity in your customers is extremely important. This is especially true as many of us have spent the last year lacking quality time.
Inclusivity doesn't have to mean cutting out a certain audience. Rather it's creating passion in your core customer base. And this all starts with being crystal clear with who you're as a brand and what you stand for.
Like in other relationships, you can't be all things to all people.
How Well Do You Know Your Customer?
You can't speak love to a customer you don't know anything about. Your first objective in developing your brand may be to figure out your brand identity and values. But the second has to be understanding your customer. You're not creating a perfect customer or finding the perfect customer. You're looking at who your customers are as they are and speaking to them.
Need help creating a brand with empathy and authenticity? At StellaPop, we think about your customer every step and create a brand that customers love.