Have you ever tried calling customer service and, instead of a human voice on the other end, heard a long-winded automatic message that was unable to assist you? If you’re like most, you were probably considering canceling that company’s services and no longer using their products.
You might have arrived at your decision because the company’s customer service line wasted your time, but the real reason the company risked losing you as a customer is because it didn’t connect with you. People want to do business with other people, and not stepping up to the plate to foster those relationships can be deadly to your business.
People want to know what kind of companies they’re supporting—the mission and goals and the people running the show. Customers today want to be a part of your company's movement.
Show Some Personality
"People have so many options now and are relating to and connecting with brands the same way they do friends,” says Joey Gonzalez, chief operating officer at Barry’s Bootcamp. “It's imperative that companies find a way to differentiate themselves and leave a lasting impression with the consumer; not just of what they offer or sell, but who they are."
Gonzalez attributes having a “distinctive brand personality” to his company’s success and explains that no matter what the situation, his patrons know what they can expect. When you show your customers a healthy dose of personality, you’re giving them something to connect to, and that connection is hard to break even if you mess up. On the other hand, if you stay silent and anonymous, people don’t know what you’re about, so they could abandon you at the first signs of trouble.
To be something your customers can relate to, you need to be unique and stand apart from your competitors. Other companies can copy your product and price, but they can’t copy what you stand for, how you make patrons feel and the connection you have with your most loyal customers. If you are able to associate your business with a healthy personality, your competitors will struggle to copy you, and likely end up as the second best version.
"In this day and age, when consumers interact with a business across so many touch points, I think it’s more important than ever that they feel a company is authentic to gain their trust," says Darryl Rawlings, CEO of Trupanion.
A Case for Content Marketing
How do you show the world that your company has personality?
Many of the most successful businesses use content marketing to communicate with patrons through their websites. Not only can it bring more traffic to your site; it also helps communicate to people what’s on your mind and what you care about. It sounds simple, but blogging can have a significant impact on your business.
Corey Eridon at HubSpot discusses the importance of content marketing in one of her blog posts :
“Every new indexed page is one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines, and drive traffic to your website through organic search. Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you're creating content that people can share on social networks—Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+—which helps expose your business to a new audience that doesn't know you yet.”
Big and Small Efforts
Other companies show personality by associating their brands with things like ad campaigns. But things like content marketing and ad campaigns may take some time (and a lot of money) to show customers your personality. To step it up more quickly, many organizations are communicating with customers through their Twitter and Facebook accounts and putting a human face to the business through their Instagram accounts.
With the high competition in today’s business world, standing apart and gaining brand loyalty can be one way to stay ahead of the curve. When it all comes down to it, people remember how you made them feel rather than what you did or said. They also want to feel like they are a part of something amazing, so the more you include your customers as part of your team, the closer you may be at winning their business for many happy years to come.
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This article was originally published on September 8, 2014.