Consumers prefer to do business with companies they identify with. The true work of branding, then, is about making your company relatable to your audience.
Branding is more important in certain industries than others. Everyone appreciates the work nonprofits do, but the same can’t be said of companies in every sector. Consumers who don’t feel a connection with a brand are all too happy to take their business elsewhere.
What if you’re in an industry that many consumers take issue with? To build relationships, you have to be intentional about how you position yourself. Here’s how to do it:
1. Share your story.
Every brand needs a story, and chances are, your company already has one.
A brand story isn’t complex. It simply recounts the beliefs and events that led to your company’s creation. Just as with any other story, your brand story needs conflict, rising action, and a solution.
Take Airbnb. The problem that led to the company’s creation was that its founders couldn’t afford rent in San Francisco. So they hustled, turning a two-person operation into a tech giant that made it easy for users to rent out their loft to strangers.
Airbnb’s story is relatable, and that’s part of why it’s so popular. What’s your brand’s backstory?
2. Use content to your advantage.
To create a connection, you have to reach out to your audience. Whether you’re developing content for your website, blog, or social media accounts, what you’re saying has to resonate.
Every conceivable interest has an audience. Keep that in mind, and you’ll find it that much easier to be authentic and create content that actually delivers value to the reader.
If you still aren’t sure where to start, poll your customers. Insights from real users will help you make better decisions.
3. Always share your “why.”
Your “why” is different from your brand story. It’s not about how your company began; it’s about what keeps you working hard every day.
Are you the first female-owned tech company in the country? Are your products the only eco-friendly options in their space?
Your “why” is what’s going to make consumers say, “I want that!” It needs to be visible: Make sure your “why” is on your website and social media accounts. Say it loud, and say it proud, because your “why” is what’s going to make you successful.
4. Show your social conscience.
Consumers want brands to help the world, just like they do. Nearly nine in 10 consumers expect the brands they do business with to act on social and environmental issues.
Whatever your industry, you can find a way to do good. You have employees: Could you lead the charge in boosting workplace diversity? And those employees likely drive to work: What about a campaign to reward them for commuting to work in low-emissions ways?
Your brand doesn’t have to get political to make a difference. Everyone wants clean air and water. Everyone wants a level playing field at work.
5. Be authentic.
Relatable brands have the courage to be themselves. As easy as that sounds, many companies struggle with it.
Authenticity starts with the people you hire. If your employees don’t believe in the brand, they aren’t going to represent it in natural, honest ways. It’s essential to hire people who are as committed to your brand’s mission as you are.
Once you have the right teammates, you have to keep them motivated. Set the example: Work hard, and treat people well. Pay generously, provide unique benefits, and support employees’ own growth.
Even in sectors like healthcare and tech, there are popular and unpopular brands. Those in certain industries simply have to work a little harder than the rest.