A Modern Romance: Dating Advice for Your Brand
By Ngozi Assata
Love is in the air, and smart brands are getting in on it. Social media affords organizations unique opportunities to engage with consumers on a personal level, so why not use social platforms to their fullest — to build long-lasting and impactful life partnerships? Whether person to person or brand to person, following the sacred order of relationship building is crucial for survival.
Break the Ice
Let’s face it, brands have huge crushes on their audience — like full-on heart eye emojis and butterflies-in-the stomach crushes. But target audiences are a hot commodity and passionate infatuations can potentially be short-lived. In competitive markets, making a first impression that will stand out to consumers is vital for brand survival and building a lasting relationship. An ideal first move? Using social media to break the ice and facilitate intimate engagement across all relevant platforms. Breaking the ice with the audience by publishing original content produced just for them, or mentioning them on socials when engaging in relevant dialogue, promotes personal engagement that’s authentic — and it goes a long way in making a lasting first impression. Compelling storytelling is the principal quality that consumers seek in digital spaces. Brands mustn’t be afraid to put themselves out there and share with the audience. Showing consumers that they share common beliefs and core values, and aligning narratives with those beliefs, is precisely what separates brands from their competition. Make an impressive first move and win the audience over.
Seize the direct message — A.K.A. the modern day, digital love note. Contacting a consumer personally and creating a space for private conversation makes them feel like you’ve only got eyes for them. Brands should engage with the audience first through public interactions on their feed — it can seem jarring and random otherwise. Leaving an insightful comment on their page or retweeting their content are little things that can create great impact in the long run. Using this strategy puts brands on consumers’ radars, planting the necessary seeds for relationship building. People are more comfortable with things they are familiar with. If a consumer recognizes a brand, they are more likely to feel comfortable supporting them. The benefits of personalized engagement are proven, and brands should adopt the power of the DM to further grow their relationships.
The First Date
After breaking the ice, brands might look attractive to the audience, but at this stage it’s imperative for them to show that there’s more than meets the eye. Brands must woo consumers. Oftentimes first dates can be awkward, slow moving, and uncomfortable. During the early stages of digital interaction with the audience, the brand’s responsibility is to obliterate any discomfort the audience feels by being an open book. After all, first dates are about getting to know someone. 66 percent of consumers want social media to be a two-way communication platform, but some brands still aren’t doing it. There is a certain distance between brands and consumers that often results in an overall disconnect. Brands shouldn’t be the person who buys dinner and expects to hop into bed the same night. They must view the audience as a potential life partner — someone they want to grow with. People need connection to feel compelled enough to support an organization. Sales pitches are transparent and turn the audience off from a real relationship. Consumers are valuable, so consistent time and effort should be logged to gain their interest. Brands must hang out with their audience, get to know them, and understand them. Most importantly, they must adopt the art of being a good listener, because there is nothing worse than going on a first date with someone that is solely focused on selling themselves.
A significant part of building trust is through transparency and honest communication. Consumers like to see the brands they support engaging in actions that align with their core values and beliefs. Brands like Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes thrive because they consistently act on what they believe in. The audience has no problem supporting these brands because they have proven their loyalty through consistency. On Twitter, Tom’s frequently updates followers with how many pairs of shoes have been donated through partnerships with like-minded organizations. Recently, they shared that 2.7 million pairs of shoes have been donated to refugee and displaced children since 2011. This type of content-sharing strikes an emotional cord that consumers feel good supporting — honest statistics and undying commitment to morals. Organizations that identify “the why” behind their brand’s existence and strive to align themselves with it are the ones that effectively build long-lasting relationships with consumers.
After a brand has broken the ice and gone on a few dates with the audience, building trust is what takes the relationship to the next level. At this stage, the brand’s story is shared and the audience wants to believe in it. The brand’s duty becomes to live up to their identity by remaining steadily true to the values expressed in their narratives. Consistency builds trust, and trust propels brands into long lasting, meaningful relationships that, in turn, reflect lucrative sales. Publishing original content that adopts the brand voice and curating content relevant to the audience’s interests effectively heightens a unique relationship with consumers — 62% of millennials feel that online content drives their loyalty to a brand. Producing and sharing compelling content on social media can achieve considerable success for a brand’s relationship building efforts.
Tie the Knot
At this point, brands are not just organizations that provide products and services to consumers — they are lifestyle partners. The audience has now become a committed part of the brand’s narrative and is ready to tie the knot. Once the consumer commits to loyalty, all future interactions become about supporting each other. Although brand advocates are loyal, it is crucial to maintain relationships by staying true to the core beliefs that initially prompted them to fall in love. Brands must constantly value their audience by never compromising their story.
Audience loyalty isn’t achieved overnight. Just like a relationship between two people, it is important to practice honesty and consistency. Brands must keep things fresh by wooing the audience with compelling content and engagement through digital media. Listening to the audience’s needs and building trust are fundamental methods to building a lasting relationship — and relationships are imperative for brand survival in a sea of story-sellers.
Ngozi Assata is an associate at Woden. Whatever your storytelling needs may be, let Woden help. Read our free StorytellingBlueprint, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help tell your story.