Apr 4, 2013

Brand Relationships Start With A Conversation

Every relationship has to start somewhere, and that’s usually with a conversation.

An introduction doesn’t mean anything until you get to know the other person. You need to talk with them, experience them and find out if you like them. You need the time to decide if they’re really worth knowing.

The same is true for brand relationships. Your customers won’t buy from you unless they like you and trust you first.

A purchase without rapport is a commodity

If your customers select your products and services without any foundation of a relationship, you have to wonder. Are you a commodity?

A defined customer relationship helps you rise above the clutter. If your customers don’t care to know your company and what makes it unique, then really they’re just shopping on price and availability.

Without relationships companies become interchangeable. Customers aren’t selecting your company, they’re selecting the category.

Avoid getting lost in the category

When consumers buy wine they usually shop for a category. They select based on price, region and grape.

For example you might be looking for a South African Merlot in the $20 to $25 range. You go to the South African section of the wine store, consider your options and select one that fits.

In this example, you weren’t selecting based on a brand. You chose the product based on its category, price and availability. When customers shop by categories the products become interchangeable.

The phenomena is not unique to wine and spirits. Shopping based on categories is prolific across industries, especially where the competitive forces are very high: industrial products, staffing services, realtors or IT components.

Relationships break categories

The goal for a brand is to be its customers’ first choice.

Instead of duking it out with all the other companies in your category, build a relationship with your customers first. Purposefully engage them long before you’re needed so they get to know you and like you.

When the relationship is established your clients will seek you out first. They’ll avoid shopping based on a category, because that takes more time and has higher risks.

Choosing a known quantity is always the easiest option.

A relationship starts with a conversation

We live in the golden age of conversations. You not only have the ability to create and share content tailored specifically for your market, you can use the content to create engagement.

Email newsletters, social media programs and videos that don’t spark engagement are lost opportunities. Take a look at each of your content channels and ask, “How can I get my audience to respond? How can I get them to participate?”

Small interactions are the seeds of conversations online, and each has the potential to sprout into a relationship.

How can you use your marketing to create more conversations?

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