Why do we choose to buy Levi’s jeans over another brand’s jeans? Why do many choose to buy an iPhone over the Android alternative? Why do we aspire to own a Ferrari and not a Ford? Why do we buy one piece of software over another? Why do people buy what they buy? There’s a simple reason for this: for the most part, people buy things that help them get jobs done. They might also buy things that help them fit into the way they see themselves, to be who they aspire to be and to enact the things they believe in.
As marketers, this gives us an opportunity to enable and empower our customers to live the vision they have for their own life. But first, we have to focus on the core functional job. Fundamentally, we are emotional beings, but the product has to serve a purpose. The reason we hire that pair of Nike trainers over an alternative was down to the power of brand and its ability to offer customers an opportunity to be closer to their true selves – or at least who they aspire to be. Functionally, they do the same job as other trainers, but the power of brand made the decision an emotional one.
When building a brand, you need to consider not just how people buy, but why people buy.
What is it that makes your customers buy? How are you empowering your customers? How are you giving them that sense of freedom to express who they really are? How do you help them get jobs done better than any of your competitors (either the direct ones, or the indirect ones who are currently doing the job for potential customers)? To create brand equity and meaning, you have to position your business as the oasis in the desert – a place where your customers are free from pain and inspired to truly be themselves.
Giving your brand feel good factor ensures people buy
Branding is about making your customers feel good – often by simply caring more than your competitors, but usually on an even deeper level than that which comes down to being authentic in everything you do. How have you changed (or considered changing) your brand or customer experience to enhance this?
How have you innovated along the process of product adoption, when your customers are enacting consumption jobs? Is your onboarding experience better than anyone else in the market? Not because you think it is, but because it helps your customers become effective at getting into your product so they can get their jobs done faster.
In defining your target audience and focusing in on a tight group of customers, you give those customers a voice. This inspires them to want to buy from you because you’ve proved to them – almost immediately – that you understand the story of their lives.
Think about the brands that enable you to be true to yourself – and how they fit into the story of your life. There are clues here as to why we gravitate to certain brands every time we buy – they mean something to you, and you mean something to them. And, what’s more, it’s that feeling is authentic and goes well below the surface of your skin.
Does your brand mean something to someone?
This might seem like a long-winded way to define your brand – and the playground in which your patrons play when they buy from you – but it will enable you to stand out and inspire your market in a deeply personal, and meaningful way. It’s OK if people don’t love you – trying to appeal to everyone is the worst possible thing you can do, because you end up meaning nothing to everyone.
What’s better? Meaning everything to someone or nothing to everyone?
It’s pretty obvious which is preferable, but it’s amazing how many brands fall into this trap. And guess what? It doesn’t cost a thing to ask and answer these questions of your business, but by doing so you are connecting with your audience on an emotional level. They’ll have no choice but to love you. You help them get the job done better than anyone else, and you do it in a way that makes them feel warm and fuzzy.