HOW TO BUILD A LIKABLE BRAND.
Likable brands are products of well-thought-out customer experiences; the experience starts from the moment the customer steps in your store and ends on their way out.
We, as marketers and entrepreneurs, care about building likable brands because they are marketable, people love to share something they like.
We also work hard to making our brand likable because it’s cost-efficient, in business, there are three ways to increase the revenue of a brand:
Attract new clients.
Increase the average value of a purchase.
Increase the frequency of the purchase.
While attracting new clients might sound exciting, the cost of bringing new customers might be very high, depending on the industry and marketing channel.
On the other hand, If I can keep my customers buying from my business over and over, visiting my store more frequently, then I might be able to increase the lifetime value of my customer and multiply my marketing spending return without increasing my budget.
Most of the newbie entrepreneurs that I met tend to be short-term-minded when it comes to building their businesses, they only think in terms of one transaction per customer instead of the developing relation and the lifetime value of a loyal customer.
Creating a likable brand is more an art than a science, it requires learning a lot of soft skills such as patience, empathy, listening, observing, forgiving, supporting, wisdom, put it, in other words, you must be good at communicating, dealing and working with people.
You should also be good at spotting different ideas from different places, seeing what works and what does not, what people like, and what they don’t, being able to take those ideas, adjust them and apply them to your business.
Nowadays, It’s not easy for you as an entrepreneur to compete only on ideas, quality, price, distribution, or marketing as a small business with a limited budget you can not afford to compete on things that require more spending.
You, as a small business can compete on three things, those things large brands can not adjust at speed as a small business can do.
A unique brand experience.
A deep relationship with the customer.
While product personalization would be an exciting topic to talk about, in this article, I’m going to only talk about brand experience, developing a deep relationship with the customer, and what makes a brand likable.
So, What makes a brand Likable? The fundamentals of what makes a brand likable are pretty simple to grasp, but a little difficult to apply consistently if you don’t have processes in place.
Likable Brands Are:
Offer a unique product with a personality, instead of being a commodity.
Offer theme-based experiences instead of being generic.
Focus on humorous interaction instead of a dull voice, be humanized, instead of acting like a corporate.
Reasonable, instead of throwing all risks at the customer.
Trustworthy, instead of over-promising and under-delivering.
Simple to understand, instead of being manipulative and overly complicated.
Have empathy, instead of being self-centered and ego-driven.
Respect people, their money, and time, instead of being rude, impatient, and unorganized.
Provide value and help instead of solely focused on promotions and sales.
Associated and partnered with social and cultural causes.
Respect and support diverse ethnic groups and human rights.
Demonstrate expertise, instead of lacking depth and knowledge.
1. Offer a unique product with a personality, instead of being a commodity:
Every brand starts from a product or a service; for your business to be likable, it needs to offer a product that is attractive and different from the market, a product that connects emotionally with a customer.
The likeability and marketability of a product must be designed or engineered inside the product, which makes it possible to spread the message through word of mouth, without the brand spending a large sum on marketing.
People are always curious about new stuff, things that make them look and feel cute, beautiful, smart, weird, or different, this could be developed through characters, themes, and styling, or it could be programmed in a personalized way that makes people better understand themselves and the surrounding.
– Most Instagrammable products. | Most Instagrammable ice cream.
– Most unique products. | Most unique burgers.
– Product in a specific place. | Coffee in Tokyo.
– Product with a specific theme. | Cute Cake.
The main point is not only to find a product similar to your product category but also to pull different ideas from different things and combine them to come up with something look and feel unique.
2. Offer theme-based experiences instead of being generic:
Likable brands focus on the overall experience rather than only selling the product; they understand that the connection with the customer and the money both are made in the interaction and the time spent with the brand experience.
Nowadays, many people visit stores, coffee shops, and restaurants not for food or clothing, but more to try new experiences and spend a pleasurable time.
Experience has to do with the overall feeling of your business and how it makes the customer feel, that includes your decorations, your atmosphere your selling process, your customer’s service, your after-sales service, and how you handle objections.
Tell yourself; I want my customers when they visit my brand to feel …………. (complete the sentence).
Let this question make you think about the entire customers’ experience from beginning to end, the whole look, and the feeling of your brand.
Once you get clear on the big picture, break it down into small steps and micro experiences, then design each one individually to work together under the whole overall picture.
Keep in mind that unique experiences could be achieved through different themes, styles, cultures, fantasies, and genres combined with unique products; this is something that people will always like to try, capture, and share!
– Most Instagrammble Places. | Most Instagrammble Coffee shops.
– Store in a specific culture or place. | Coffee Shop in Tokyo.
– Store with a specific theme. | Bohemian Cafe Store.
Remember, it’s not about spending tons of money to come up with something fancy; it’s about something unique and marketable, something that people are willing to take a photo, and share.
3. It focuses on humorous interaction instead of a dull voice:
Smart brands understand that the fastest way to win a customer’s heart is through humor; after all, we all like to chill out, so why all the seriousness when it comes to business?
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a business is to serve and make a profit. Therefore humor is not a priority and should never be overly exaggerated.
What matters is that your brand has a voice and a character; it could be nerdy, wise, funny, or creative, think of your brand like a superstar actor, she is charismatic and exciting, and she always tries her best not to be boring!
4. Reasonable, instead of throwing all risks at the customer:
Smart business people are generous people; they understand common sense; they realize that business is a matter of a transaction; they also appreciate that in every deal, the customer is taking a bet and risk on their product.
This is why they try to take the risk off the customer’s shoulders and instead force it on their competition; they always look for and act on behalf of the best interest of the clients.
This means better quality products, affordable prices, and better customers’ experience than the competition, they will put all the pressure on the competition to follow up and better please the customer.
Smart entrepreneurs understand that people love to buy a complete package deal that makes them feel intelligent, beautiful, and confident without taking the risk of feeling ripped off, forced into a deal, or financially pressured.
This will position the brand as a trusted and friendly partner rather than a greedy business.
5. Trustworthy, instead of over-promising and under-delivering:
Most businesses fail to obtain customers’ loyalty because they manipulate people’s expectations; they advertise for one thing and then offer something different.
Listen, people are pretty simple, they are visual creatures, and they set their expectations on what they think they saw or heard;
On the other hand, businesses get desperate to sell their products and services, so they apply tons of visual “make-up” to their offering to make it more attractive without being clear on what’s they offer. This will backfire the customer response and flag them as a scam.
Be clear and visually bold of what you offer, what they get, and what they have to pay for.
6. Have empathy, instead of being self-centered and ego-driven:
Likable brands understand that it’s all about serving the customer. Therefore, they focus on delivering value to the customer instead of only focusing on promoting their product offerings.
This means they invest more in their product quality, more into customers service and support, and a lot whole more into developing educational marketing content that solves a problem for their customer and educate them about how to improve their lives for better outcomes.
Study how brands such as Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Nivea UK build a massive social following on platforms such as YouTube through consistent delivery of educational content and value around the topic of beauty.
7. Associated and partnered with a social cause:
Nowadays, consumers have become more educated, sophisticated, and socially connected; they care more and more about sustainability, human and animal rights, and the environment.
Connecting your brand with a social cause will make your brand more purposeful and likable in the eyes of the customers who share and believe in the same message as yours.
Customers service and experience
Your customers don’t care about all the hard work that goes in the background behind running your business; to them, the formula is pretty forward.
Fulfill specific wants + Unique experience + Affordable price = Pleasant expected and desired outcome.
For the above formula to work out, two aspects you need to nail down perfectly:
How to make customer service work?
1. Start with your staff:
It all begins here, and the results will be reflected throughout your customers’ service.
Who comes first, customers, or staff members? Don’t tell me it’s customers if you don’t treat your staff right, how do you expect them to care and treat your customers right in the first place?
2. Polish your presentation:
Who is dealing with the customer? Dealing with people requires people’s skills, it requires a large amount of humility, patience, kindness, listening skills, being optimistic, and engaging personality, putting the right staff in the right place is essential.
Staff who welcomes customer, sales team on the ground, cashiers, and waitress should be trained professionally to serve a customer with the right attitude and manners.
3. Give your staff a small portion of your business:
When you give a portion of your profit and business to your staff, they feel like they are working and investing in their own business, don’t believe me?
Watch the profit and see how Marcus Lemonis fix broken companies by offering a small portion of the business to the people who work in and serve the business, remember, it’s not only about your gains, but it’s about growing and maintaining the business, so don’t be greedy!
4. Treat your staff with respect:
You run your own business because you don’t like to work for someone else.
You dislike how other managers treat you as an employee, so why do you treat your staff in the same way that you dislike to be treated? Treat your people nicely, and they have no choice but to treat your customers nicely.
5. Make customer service non-negotiable:
Employees get forgiven when they mess things up for many reasons. Customer service shouldn’t be one of them.
Some staff might be moody, rude, depressed, and unwelcoming; those staffs don’t belong on the customer’s service or sales floor, it’s not the responsibility of the customer to be mistreated, people spend money to enjoy, sometimes you just have to remove the staff altogether.
6. Set guidelines, not rules:
By now, you should know that serving your customers should be the priority of your business if you don’t then your competitors will, not only that, but an angry customer might damage the image of your brand.
Not every customer is a great customer, not every customer is a customer that you can satisfy, not every customer cares about your values, your hard work, your work ethics, your life stories, and your problems.
Customers care about one thing, and one thing only, themselves, the value they get in exchange for what they pay, period! No need to dramatize, over complicate, bitch or complain about it, just understand it, and accept it, it’s not personal, it’s just a fact.
Your goal should be focused on doing the following:
1. Attract the right kind of customers:
If you believe that you deliver a great business, but attract the wrong type of customers, then the problem relies on your business positioning.
You are sending the wrong message that attracts the wrong type of people, don’t worry, this is solvable, read this article on how to attract the right customers.
2. Find the fastest way to build trust between the customer and your business; How do you do that?
Smile and greet your customers: Don’t underestimate the power of positive behaviors when it comes to customer service; people are faced with bad attitudes from everywhere, at work, at home, at other stores, and so on.
If there is an issue with the product, make sure to understand the purpose of the issue kindly, and offer an exchange, return or refund as they wish.
3. Serve from a place of hospitality:
In other words, don’t be greedy, have you ever been to a restaurant, and the owner was generous enough to add a few extra free stuff here and there. How nice was that? Contrast that with a place that you are not allowed to touch a thing, and they try to squeeze every penny out of your pocket, which one would you visit again?
4. Always be sensitive:
There is one thing I’m pretty sure that almost most of the newbie entrepreneurs or the staff they hire are not aware of.
Do you know that almost 33.3% to 50% of the population are introverts? What does that mean to you as a business owner?
It means that you are dealing with an emotionally sensitive group of people, which means one mistake with your attitude, one stupid joke, one bad facial expression, or being sloppy and the customer is gone, forever, why?
Because this group of people, including myself, does care about the entire experience every time, I don’t care how nice you were in the past; it’s our last interaction that matters the most.
Most customer service staff or small business owners are friendly people; the problem is that under long working hours, the human brain just shuts down and becomes exhausted, always make whoever interacts with the customer in their best mood.
5. Don’t assume, ask for permission:
Throughout my life, I have been to different places, interact with different cultures, dealing with different types of customers and business owners, in my job people usually hire me to observe other shoppers' behaviors.
I have noticed one thing that is very simple to find, but most small business owners or staff get it wrong.
People are different; there are introverts, extroverts, poor, wealthy, open-minded, close-minded, optimistic, pessimistic customers, and the list goes on and on.
This means that there is no single approach, guidebook, or attitude that fits it all; your job is to be good at reading people then adjusting your behavior and attitude to match and serve that customer.
This is why customer service and brand experience are more than just hiring a couple of students to do the work; it’s about reading people’s emotions and adjusting accordingly.
6. Don’t argue with your customers:
Listen, the customer is not always right; I get it, but that is not the point, most customers think that they are right, it’s not what you think, It’s how they feel and what they want.
A customer mindset is pretty simple as well, I pay you money, and you give me what I want as fast as I want, it’s not logical, but it’s a fact, just acknowledge their needs, apologize even if you were right, and give them a refund or an extra service, just don’t get into an argument, it does not worth it.
When you are arguing with a customer, you are grabbing the attention of the surrounding customers, people at your store will start to talk, some will start taking videos and post all over the place, you don’t want to get into that.
Instead, you want the conversation to be like this, “Wow.. that customer was pretty unreasonable, but those staff handled it with professionalism,”. You see that is a better story.
7. Stop treating customers as them being dumb:
Listen, don’t lie to your customers and don’t rip them off, don’t talk to them like they are not smart enough to understand your idea.
When you have this mindset of your customers, it will show up in your attitude while you are talking and selling to them; if you have a great idea, that does not mean they are obligated to believe you or buy it in the first place.
8. Have patience:
Customers are people, and people typically are fussy when it comes to making up their minds or making a decision toward spending money.
I know you want to grab that $100 bill, but you have to be gentle and patient; once you become impatience, you show a lack of security, which might scare them off, or have a wrong first impression, which will get you fewer sales in the long run.
9. Build it right, and they will come:
This idea applies to offline stores, why do people go to a Church? Mosque? Or a Temple? The church does not ask people to come, yet people go, those temples are designed to be generous, they don’t force you to pay a thing, they don’t force you to come, but most people want to be there.
You just go there and sit, you meet people, talk, sing, cry, relax, ask for forgiveness, and more, they welcome people from all religions, and they offer you all of that at no pressure or cost unless you feel obligated to do so.
Heck no, you can sit there all day long, play all day long, and no one would bother you, but once you decide to buy, it’s a premium price, that is reciprocity, liking, and social proof at their core, and that’s why they can keep their customers coming back to their store over and over.
Inside The Apple Store | Dubai
10. Simplify, simplify, simplify:
Ordinary people are simple, marketers and business owners make things complicated, they overthink, over-analyze, over display information which adds more processes and frictions to the buying process.
The human brain is a pretty lazy machine; show me what it’s, show me how I can benefit from it, and then tell me how much I should pay for it.
Make it clear and easy to navigate through your website and store, feed them with the necessary and only necessary information to make a purchase.
Be it clear and bold images, clear product benefits description, clear offer, clear risk-free guarantee and returns policy, clear frequently asked question, clear shipping policy, clear contact information, and clear call to action.
11. Answer questions, concerns, and reviews:
Whenever a customer sends a message to your email address, leaves a comment on social media, or gives you a call, he is probably facing a specific problem, and he is expecting an answer from you within the next 24 hours.
Make sure to keep a frequently asked question on your product page and support page.
If it’s on social media, don’t let their comments or questions hanging there without clear answers, educate, and give your staff permission to take complete responsibility for taking care of the customers and making it right.
Also, make an effort to thank the people who leave beautiful comments and feedback on your page; you worked very hard to build this customer base.
They took the initiative to write something nice about you; your audience would perceive a nicely written reply on their comment as you being humble, responsive, and appreciative.
12. Ask for and accept feedbacks:
Different people have different tastes, some will like your stuff and some won’t, some will buy it and thank you, and some will buy it and humiliate you, don’t take it personally, chill out and take it easy, it’s okay if some people don’t like it, that’s mean it’s not for them.
When you ask your customers for feedback, they will sense that you care about them, and you are working hard to improve the overall experience.
13. Send handwritten greeting cards or small gifts:
You have no idea how many businesses I work with like to keep working with me because I remembered them with a bouquet after a deal is done or a handwritten gift card on their birthday.
Most of the time, they don’t expect it, but I’m looking for an edge to nurture the relationship.
Listen, my friend, if you get only one thing out of this conversation, it’s that humans are emotional creatures, the lifeblood of a profitable business is about building relationships and human’s interaction, it does not matter if it’s online or offline you still have to treat people right.
You can have an average restaurant, but if people are happy doing business with you, they will come all day long, however, you could have the best restaurant in town, if they don’t like how you treat them, you won’t see them come back or refer friends to your business anymore, it’s that simple!
Remember, most customers don’t care about being super delighted as you much as you might think; they just want to get something relevant to their expectations and outcome.
If you do an extra great job, then that’s great, if not it’s fine, but at least don’t mistreat or under-serve any customers, regardless of their nationality, ethnic group, skin color, or religion.
All customers like to be treated with attention and respect, without the feeling of being ripped off, I bet you like such a feeling as well, that is not a lot to ask if someone will take the risk and try your stuff, am I wrong about that?