Recently I was reminded why I really love what I do, and also what I need to continue doing to grow my brand. It came about because I was fortunate enough to be present at the birth of a new product created by a passionate, committed business owner who is totally uncompromising about her vision.
There in lies the difference between a good brand, and a great one. The passion and the effort businesses put into their brand, bringing it to life, can really set you apart from the competition.
The best brands have created amazing brand loyalty and it goes beyond the name, look or feel (which are also important) but there is more to it.
What’s more important is deciding what your brand stands for. What you are about?
Some great lessons can be learned from other businesses who don’t necessarily have the biggest budget, but definitely have the biggest and best ideas. Get the love flowing through your business by bringing your brand to life and engaging your clients.
Embrace what your brand is about
Anyone who has seen me speak before know that I love what Lulu Lemon do to engage their target market. They are a great example of creative thinking and embracing what their brand is “about”. Lulu Lemon is a growing retail chain specialising in athletic and yoga apparel. They deliver engagement and value by inspiring and motivating people with their in store events and exercise programmes. If you’ve run in a city to surf or other major event – you’ll see’ the LuLu’s in their tutu’s cheering you along the way.
They have a manifesto, and they engage customers with personal stories and anecdotes about their products.
So if your brand encourages a particular ethos- which can be anything from organic living, buying local, fairtrade, nurturing creativity, literally anything- think about different ways you can bring that to life.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
You don’t need a huge budget or long established brand to create raving fans. The small but growing health fast food franchise Grill’d provide a great case study when you compare them to larger brands in the same category such as Subway.
Subway have 1218 stores and 151 901 Facebook fans, while Grill’d only have 39 stores and 24,670 Facebook fans (at my last count). That means Subway only have 124 fans per store, with Grill’d accumulating a whopping 832 fans per store. Who do you think has the bigger marketing budget? Who has the most customer love?
Grill’d have implemented a few simple but engaging tactics which has made all the difference. Regulars at Grill’d would’ve seen the donation jars at the registers. When people buy a beverage, they pop their bottle top into the community jar they most want to support. Cash is donated by Grill’d in proportion to the amount of bottle tops in the jars. Local causes can apply to Grill’d to become one of the chosen charities.
Grill’d have also made great use of the mobile Airsteam van to get out amongst their community. They currently have the BLT (Burger Love Tour) going around to festivals and community events to feed the people.
Everything they do is simple, engaging, fun, and without a big advertising budget.
Leverage Your Star Product
If you have a particular product or service that is a huge part of why people are loyal to your brand, work through how you can leverage that loyalty. 7Eleven have done this with their Slurpee brand. Let’s face it they are a service station/convenience store chain – pretty boring business. However, Slurpee fans are anything but bored by Slurpee’s, they are obsessed with them. 7Eleven have really leveraged that – creating huge in-store traffic from young people via digital and social media activity particularly around Slurpee’s. You have 7Eleven day (where you get free Slurpee’s on 7th November) and recently they had a “Bring Your Own Cup” day where you could fill up any cup (within reason of course) for only $2.60.
Always Reward Your Fans
How will you reward loyal clients and fans of your brand? You need to give them a reason to be engaged and ambassadors of your brand. For us we’re all about helping small to medium businesses get smarter marketing. So providing free ways for business owners to improve their marketing knowledge like tour e-guides, webinars, and events allow us to reward people online. For loyal high value clients it’s extra consulting time and complimentary strategic reviews. We’re all about increasing marketing knowledge, and giving clients more bang for buck with the knowledge that they are getting.
Want to learn more about branding? Check out Michelle’s latest e-book ‘How to Create a Strong Brand,’ which is free to download.