“Money isn’t as valuable to our organization as knowing who to trust.”
The above quote from the hit James Bond movie, Casino Royale, famously demonstrates the reality that without trust, everything else is insignificant. Even money. A foundation of trust must exist in any relationship in order for it to be successful. Business relationships are no exception.
What types of businesses are destined to build this essential level of trust? The ones that determine to bond with their customers. Sure, your business understands the necessity of building a brand, but do you understand the even greater necessity of building a bond?
While branding breeds transactional customers, bonding breeds genuine relationships.
When genuine relationships are cultivated, ordinary customer bases transform into loyal communities filled with connected members of a surrogate “family.” When customers feel more like family than a source of revenue, brand loyalty, and in turn, business sales, will soar.
Here are the top three results you can expect when your business determines to bond in order to brand:
1. You will build a community.
In communities, people feel an overwhelming sense of connectedness to one another. This is due to the fact that genuine relationships are at the foundation of all communities. Everyone is familiar with their surroundings, providing an overwhelming sense of comfort. Establishing this feeling of community means that people will feel their best interest is being kept at the forefront of others’ minds. Feelings of manipulation, or the fear of being sold to for personal gain, are nonexistent in communities where trust is safeguarded. This makes consumers feel more like family members who are able to have low defenses.
When your brand determines to bond with your customers, feelings of familiarity, safety, and comfort will belong to your business. Most importantly, trust levels will be significantly high, breeding a base of loyal customers who value their personal relationship with your business.
2. You will connect on a meaningful level.
Bonding is simply not a surface level activity. When businesses bond with their customers, they build meaningful relationships that go deeper than mere small talk. This causes customers to feel that they are being looked after and genuinely cared for. Businesses should show a legitimate interest in the consumer’s well-being. This will significantly heighten the chance of developing life-long customers and obtaining highly qualified referrals for future business.
When your brand determines to bond with your customers, meaningful conversations will become a staple of every business interaction. Personal and professional topics mingling together as one will put customers at ease, as they experience the feeling that they are genuinely heard and understood on multiple levels.
3. You will cause consumers to associate with your brand’s personality.
Genuine bonding gives people the desire to imitate. This means that consumers will feel the freedom to associate their personality with that of your brand. When consumers feel connected to your business on a personal level, they desire to possess the same traits as your brand. Roy Williams frames it this way: “We buy what we buy to remind ourselves – and tell the world around us – who we are.” When people purchase your product or service, they are taking on its personality and informing the world of the person whom they long to be.
For example, consumers crave Nike athletic shoes and apparel because they desire to be associated with the personality traits of the world’s greatest athletes. Consumers purchase Patagonia merchandise because they want to give off the same personality traits as brave individuals who dare to scale the sides of mountains.
When your brand determines to bond with your customers, you must be fully conscious of the personality that your products and services exude, knowing that consumers are deciding whether or not they will want to emulate these same personality traits themselves. Are you providing your customers with characteristics that they can be proud of and show off to others?
Start Bonding Today
In order to cause consumers to initially feel your brand’s strong desire to bond, you must employ intentional marketing practices that creatively and strategically draw people to your business. Your marketing should clearly present the idea that you desire a meaningful community of consumers who you are proud to share your brand’s personality with.
After your marketing methods attract these consumers, your business can turn them into life-long customers by providing them with a personalized, consistent customer experience that furthers the bonding process. Finally, retrieving referrals from these satisfied customers will start the bonding process over again, presenting your business with all-new members who you are ready to welcome into your community.
Remember, branding breeds transactional customers, but bonding breeds genuine relationships. These meaningful relationships are the key to successfully building your brand. Branding your business is important, but bonding your business with your customers is the only sure way to build a trusting community of customers who feel more like family than sources of revenue.