Brands that win are brands that create a great conversation.
We want positive vibes – the strength of those vibes will determine the strength of your brand.
You see a brand is more than a logo, it’s more than colours on a page.
It’s more than a unique typeface or the “money shot”.
Your audience determine the brand narrative. When you understand them and show them a valuable solution that can impact them positively you get in on their conversation.
You can try and control the narrative but people are not stupid. When you try and manipulate the response you lose trust. It’s hard to get trust back again, especially in this generation that has witnessed so many scandals. Your audience is looking for transparency.
So let’s apply this to conversation (feel free to comment).
You have a surname. Whilst growing up in school everyone knew your surname and if your older brother or sister was great at sports their was a high expectation that you would be. If not, what strengthened the family name is you when you excelled at what you were good at. Whenever that surname was mentioned it was clear that this family were heroes!
Your name is what people say about you, not what you say about you. Your actions add to the narrative positively or negatively. If a member of one family had a reputation for stealing cars, your parents would not take kindly to you dating their sibling!
How do you get in the conversation then? Do great things – purpose is powerful.
Brands with purpose create community. Brand advocation comes when you solve someone’s pain point.
So brands are not what you say, they are what others say about you. Your part is to tell an authentic story, offering empathy and adding value.
Getting people talking positively about you starts with the impression you leave them with.
It’s often said that first impressions count and yes, they do, but what builds advocacy is what you leave people with. That final interaction, an unexpected discount or that extra gift to go with an initial purchase. As well as a friendly hello, how about an even nicer goodbye that feels like a “see you later”.
The reality is believing a false narrative and repeating it often can actually do more damage to your brand in the long run. I remember Liverpool FC were taken over by Hicks and Gillette who promised to put a spade in the ground to rebuild a stadium within the first few years of their ownership. Models were made, pictures posted and yet players started to be sold and not replaced. The brand was damaged, the fans divided as the evidence didn’t align to the story that had been told.
Liverpool FC were days away from going bust. Remarkably, a stunning turn of events saw a new ownership (FSG) which, slowly but surely, created quick wins, admitted mistakes and recruited people that shared the values of the club. Today the brand is stronger than ever, the stadium has been renovated, a manager and team united with the owners and now Liverpool are European champions.
The difference was the conversation. The owners admitted to their mistakes and trust was built.
Difficult choices were made but behind the talk was visible action. A club went from trying to doing.
If you want to get in the conversation you need to match a strong brand image with equally strong actions. When your actions back your words in a positive way you will be the talk of the town. Everyone knows that word of mouth is the golden ticket for any brand!