Creating an Authentic Connection with your Audience

Millions of brands across the world are fiercely competing for a slice of our mind share, but we acknowledge only a few. The ability to connect clearly with the target audience distinguishes great companies from the good. An overwhelming majority of Americans planning to buy a phone would think of Apple or Samsung first while an overwhelming majority of Indians would think of Xiaomi or One Plus. In a crowd of millions of companies competing for our attention, only one will have our loyalty and attention. This is the power of an authentic connection, it simply places a brand above its competitors.

This connection is not a one campaign function. It is based on disciplined grooming of multiple factors right from the inception of a brand to finding a voice, defining the target persona, selecting the most relevant mediums, and telling an engaging story.

 

Understanding the brand: 

Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room: Jeff Bezos

When you think of Apple your mind wanders to innovation, quality, class, commitment to service, and an intriguing logo, before you are overwhelmed by the beauty of an iPhone. Contrary to the popular belief a brand is not just the logo, image, name, or advertisement. It is a collection of all the assets that define its personality. 

As per HubSpot “A brand identity is made up of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your concepts, and the emotions you want your consumers to feel when they interact with your business. Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your consumers.”

A brand connects with its consumers at an emotional level building an intimate relationship based on intense loyalty. A brand loyal person will always prefer and promote his favorite brand unless proven to him that his favorite brand is less worthy of appreciation, which is never an easy task!

As an owner you always understand your brand but to convincingly communicate it to the consumers, you need to find the voice of your brand that may be in form of texts, images, or better if in the form of a video. This is branding or brand storytelling. This is what people should discuss when you are not in the room.

 

Understanding the persona:

A story may not ever be warmly embraced by all. Every story is written keeping a particular audience in mind, based on age, sex, strength, mother tongue, dialect, source of information, their response to certain events, and many other similar factors that may convince them to believe in the story. These set of factors that can evoke an emotional response and influence the opinion, collectively form the consumer persona. Defining the persona is essential to generating an authentic connection with the target audience, as to convince someone enough to make them trust, we first need to know who they are.

For example, a brand dealing with pregnant women should know they need moisturizers frequently, get most of their information from YouTube and Google, spend time on TV, and are in a highly emotive state which makes it easier to convert into customers. Now that most of the variables are defined, the brand just needs to outline its utility in an encouraging way that makes them feel comfortable because pregnancy is tough. Given that they are emotionally more interactive, the focus on the call to action could be much lesser or may be ignored completely.

Understanding the persona makes it easier to effectively communicate with the target audience.  

 

Recognizing the voice of the brand:

Before you begin with storytelling, you need to define your voice. This voice will be the personality of your brand. If you are a B2B Company, your voice should be professional. If you sell Energy Drink, your voice should be energetic, assertive, or aggressive; but if you are selling a mattress or a recliner, your brand’s voice should be soothing. Once you have determined the voice of your brand and have defined your consumer’s persona, it is finally time to wrap the brand message into a story that provokes an emotional response. For a pregnant woman, this story should be reassuring. A lot of things may be weighing down on her recently, so the brand should be a friend and not just a solution. If she loves this story, she would repeat to others every time they fit this persona.

 

Mediums:

Now that your story is ready, let us find it a medium. It should align best with your brand message. Just think where your target audience spends more time. If you are a B2B brand your target audience is on LinkedIn. If you are a B2C company then your target audience is on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest. If your target audience would spend time researching, then you should be found on the top of Google. If they spend most of the time on YouTube then get busy making a video for them.

In case they are too old to be on any such platform, book a few slots of prime-time show. If they are to spend more time on the go, get a few slots on the radio.

 

Story:

Storytelling is up to 22 times more memorable than just highlighting the facts. Once you have finalized the mediums, tell them who you are, the solution you offer, the challenges you eliminate, and the assurances you provide. Don’t just throw in facts, testimonials, and statistics, your focus should be on making your brand memorable, highlight what you don’t want them to forget.  The story has to win their trust, this loyalty is very rewarding in the long run.

 

Like trust, brand loyalty also comes after multiple assurances, some spoken and some unsaid. A story has to be told repeatedly on multiple platforms for creating a brand recall value. Sometimes it has to take a few different forms before it can find a place in the heart of the consumers, but once it does, the consumers turn into brand ambassadors.

Given the endless possibilities that the digital world brings, any brand can make a decent profit but not many would find a mention in drawing-room discussions, except the ones that are a class above the rest.