You know how important it is to build trust for the success of your brand. I’ve written repeatedly about ways to use onsite content, thought leadership strategies, and social media to do just that. Trust keeps your customers coming back time and time again.
But there is something beyond trust that will turn those clients into ardent supporters, even if there are problems in your relationship. By “hiccups” I mean things like when it takes longer than usual to deliver a product, or the product has a defect when they receive it. Going beyond trust means winning the deep respect and generous approval of your customers. In a word, it’s ‘admiration’.
Admiration for your brand is the ultimate in customer engagement. You deserve it among those who see your brand as a solution to their problems, a company they are proud to work with and a community builder. These customers are not only loyal to your brand. They love it.
You can have confidence without admiration, but you cannot have admiration without confidence. If you’ve invested in gaining your customers’ trust as you build your brand, take the next step. Pull them firmly into your brand’s orbit by earning their admiration. Here’s how you can.
Give them freedom of choice
Customers buy products and services that solve their problems. Take Gabriela, who wants to replace her old kitchen faucet herself, but can’t get the nut loose to remove it. After some Googling, she finds out that she needs a water wrench for the job. She buys an Acme sink wrench, which promises to do the trick.
But to gain admiration, more is needed than just offering solutions. To earn it, your brand needs to empower your customers by giving them freedom of choice. Let’s go back to Gabriela, who can’t get the water key to do what it’s supposed to do. Rather than leaving her frustrated, Acme’s website offers a video tutorial showing her how to make it work. She unscrews the nut, replaces the old tap, feels good about herself and shouts it into the world.
Acme gave Gabriela freedom of choice, not only by providing the tools she needed, but also by showing her how to use them. As a result, Acme not only earned her trust, but also her admiration. In a world where so many people seem out of control, giving your customers freedom of choice allows you to take some of it back.
Engage their senses and win their hearts
The way to win the admiration of your customers is to arouse their curiosity, awaken their senses and give them a sense of delight. I know that this tantalizing talk makes the leaders of some brands roll their eyes. But remember, you are trying to win the love of your customers, not just their business.
Sensory marketing is based on the principle that customers make decisions based on the involvement of their senses, whether they realize it or not. Look for ways your brand can appeal to as many of them as possible, such as a scent of lavender in your packaging or a wrapped chocolate with the pillows you sell. Or create high-quality video content with sounds and images that customers will forever associate with your offering.
Depending on what you’re selling, you may need to get creative here. The good news is that the possibilities to create content that grabs the hearts and minds of your customers are endless. Just remember that what you’re doing to leave a lasting impression on your audience isn’t just to give them what they want, but what they didn’t even know they needed.
Build a community
Everyone wants to feel like they belong, whether they’re buying a membership, an apartment, or a pizza. Building community makes people feel less alone in an increasingly fragmented world. Plus, having a team is the stuff that persistent brand rivalry is made of: Mac vs. PC, Pepsi vs. Coke, Star Trek vs. Star Wars.
To win customers for your brand, use content and social media to make this building project easier than ever. Respond to customer comments, ratings, and reviews to let them know you heard them, and use platforms to encourage dialogue and user-generated content. Reward and encourage loyalty to your brand, and you can turn adoring customers into brand ambassadors. If you make a mistake somewhere, not only will these customers be fearless, they will stand up for you.
Community building also requires involvement in activities and events beyond your products and services, but true to your brand’s values. Doing good for others and for the world gives your customers another reason to love your brand.
You may have thought that building and maintaining customer trust in your brand is the ultimate achievement. But to create truly ardent customers, you need to earn their admiration. It won’t be easy. But winning their hearts will create a relationship built to last.