inspiration

The importance of brand “appeal”

More and more, I like the word “appeal” and its implications for marketing and facilitating the building of relationships. The definition of appeal” (according to the World English Dictionary) is “the power to attract, please, stimulate, or interest.” So, if we apply that to marketing, it means that brands that think in terms of “appeal” are more likely to try to attract, please, stimulate, and provide interest for the consumer -- all behaviors of engagement, which is the foundation of relationships.

Appeal” speaks to much more than just what consumers like…  "appeal” is about what draws them in, then keeps them returning and sharing the experience with their networks. This has important implications for creating Advocates, who in turn create sales.

  1. What does it take to attract someone to your brand / product / service?
  2. What does it take to please and stimulate (inspire to action) your consumers?
  3. What does it take to provide interest for your consumer?

These are all questions that marketers need to be asking not just when creating an overall marketing strategy, but also every day and with every task.

When you focus on attracting a consumer, you are constantly paying attention to their preferences and their needs, catching their attention by offering something they will LIKE/LOVE and/or something that addresses their needs. Remember, it is all about them, not you.

To truly please a consumer, you need to reach below the surface and connect with what is important to them. What do they believe in?  What do they long for?  What do they see as the answer to making their daily lives easier?  Find those answers, and then determine how your brand/product/service fits in.  If your brand doesn’t fit here, it’s time for re-work and innovation!   You need to be able to get “underneath their skin” so to speak (but in a good way!).

Stimulate in this case means something like “inspire to action.” You have attracted and pleased your consumer, but if they do not take action, your marketing efforts see no ROI (Return on Investment).  What you need here is to invest in the relationship so you can experience a significant ROR (Return on Relationship).  Use social media to engage with your consumers: ask them questions, clarify their answers, find out what they need, and keep the conversation going.   The more you inspire your consumers, the more likely they are to take action – like buying your product and telling their friends to do the same!

Then keep your consumers interested. Innovate, don’t stagnate. The marketplace is lining up behind you waiting to catch your consumers’ attention the second they lose interest in your brand.  You can’t afford to keep pushing out the same content day after day, so focus on the relationship and the conversations will naturally stay fresh, engaging, and interesting.

Don’t settle for mediocre.  Strive to appeal to your consumers and watch your brand thrive.

-Ted Rubin, Social Media Strategist

Step aside, Aspiration… INSPIRATION is the way to go

Forget Aspiration in the years ahead… the new challenge is to give customers INSPIRATION for your brands and products. I’m not suggesting we throw away our sales and marketing goals (aspirations), just that we give more value to the concept of INSPIRING our customers as a valid marketing tactic.

If your organization’s internal focus is on easily-measurable metrics, that’s the message that will leak out to your customers – that each customer is just another number toward your goals.  If your focus is instead on INSPIRING your customers, they will feel that difference and want to engage with your brand and your products.

I state this as a challenge because it is not easy to inspire someone, especially when the digital atmosphere is overloaded with competing messages now that brands can so easily share their messages through social media.  Your brand needs differentiators now more than ever, but if you can INSPIRE your customers, you will get - and keep - their attention.

Inspiration doesn’t just happen, and is even more of a challenge because it requires a different focus and skill set than most metrics-based achievements do.  In order to inspire your customers, you need to provide the following:

  1. Authentic relationship. You can’t assume that just because you have a good product your customers will be excited about it. Inspiring your customers requires your ongoing enthusiasm and creativity, but even more importantly, your attention and interaction with them around what they want and expect from your brand.
  2. A fantastic customer experience. You need to have a great product and fantastic customer service and use social media to actually engage with your customers.  Customers can afford to be picky, so you can’t afford to give them anything less than a fantastic experience.
  3. Trust.  Trust happens when you do exactly what you say you will do, and when all messages and actions and conversations associated with your brand are consistent, timely, and genuine.  Without trust, your customers won’t have confidence in your product or your brand.

So why put all this effort into inspiring your customers?  Because inspiration naturally wants to be shared … so inspired customers make powerful Brand Advocates. They are the customers who want that experience again, and can’t wait to tell their entire social network about it.

Take the INSPIRATION CHALLENGE – your customers will love you for it!