When I studied Social Entrepreneurship, it clicked very early on just how important it is for businesses to develop a brand that gives people a reason to care.
In many of the fashion houses I’ve worked with, I’ve noticed this is the one thing that allows your brand to sing above the white noise of vanity based brands; ones that cater to rigorous discounting and relentless promotions for the sake of making a sale and padding out profit margins.
On average, people are exposed to anywhere between 3,000 and 20,000 brands each day. Think about it… from that first glance at your phone in the morning to your spoon hitting the cereal, you’ve already been bombarded without even realising it. Brands are everywhere you look.
Here are 7 steps to building a lust-worthy brand that your customers will truly love following.
- DITCH THE DOLLAR SIGNS
Creators of lust-worthy brands are never driven by dollar signs. They’re motivated to create a product or service that will change the lives of their customers for the better. Brands who have nailed this have created everything from computers that you don’t have to be a genius to operate (Thanks Apple!) to gym gear so styled up you can wear it to social events (here’s looking at you, Lululemon!).
Brands like these build an emotional connection with their customers through many different ways – whether that’s through humour and personality, authenticity, making them feel like an insider, supporting a cause they believe in or just having a really great story to tell.
The result? Brand loyalty so strong customers do your marketing for you, (our clients TradeMutt a prime example of this) and won’t even consider alternative products. So as far as the dollar signs go – I know you need to make a living – you’re running a business after all. But if you build a brand that people love, the profits will follow.
- GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
Lust-worthy brands all seem to have one thing in common – and it’s usually not about them. A recent study by Sprout Social showed that two out of every three people want their favourite brands to support a cause, champion change and use their influence for good.
Customers want to see their preferred brands doing something for the greater good because it makes them feel good too. Whether it’s a commitment to a specific issue, attendance at an event or simply advising consumers on how they can support a cause, it’s an effective way to strengthen your brand – and feel great about it too.
- WHO ARE YOU AS A BRAND?
Knowing who you are is one of the most important foundations in creating a lust-worthy brand. Many start-ups make the mistake of overcomplicating it. If you look at some of the world’s most loved brands, you’ll see they can summarise their strategy in a word or two. Chanel: luxury. Louis Vuitton: exclusive. H&M: accessible.
Brainstorm words and ideas that represent – that really nail – what you want your brand to be for your customers. The more you can whittle this down, the more clear and strong you are going to be on who you are as a brand. Everything else stems from here. If you’d like to read up on Fashion Branding Unraveled it introduces and explains the concept of brand and the process of brand development.
- WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
When you’re in the exciting first stages of creating your lust-worthy brand, I can’t stress how important it is devote time to identify who your customers are.
Ask yourself: who is going to be living their best life using my product?
You can’t be everything to everyone – and you shouldn’t want to be. Eliminating those who won’t benefit from your product or service allows you to focus on the needs and wants of those who do. You’re going to be more clear on who you’re speaking (and listening) to, and how you need to engage with them.
So do your research. Understand what your customers want. Keep speaking and listening to them. The more you invest in your target market, the more you’ll get out of it. If you’re inquisitive and are ready to deep dive into why people buy what they buy then check out Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being a study of consumer behavior into an investigation of how having (or not having) certain products affects our lives.
- HAVE A STORY TO TELL
What’s your point of difference as a brand? Are you funny? Inspirational? Aspirational? Exclusive? Inclusive? Organic? Sustainable? Vegan-friendly? Cruelty-free? We can’t get enough of Sans Beast!
Your brand story is one of the easiest ways for your customers to form an emotional bond with you. It needs to capture their attention while explaining your values and intentions. It needs to mean something.
Find your point, or points, of difference and a way to tell your story that resonates with your audience. Is the story personal, and coming from you? Is it told through beautiful photography, vintage sketches or hilarious memes? Have you hired a brand ambassador who embodies your brand and can command the attention of your audience? Jess Ewings from But What To Wear has beautiful imagery but also a witty sense to her tone of voice.
- ENGAGE IN COM-VERSATION
Never forget the importance of listening to what your customers are saying, and ensuring they feel heard. Social media communications has put the power with consumers – they won’t hesitate to give their honest opinion on your product or service if they feel things aren’t up to scratch.
Getting this right is really simple: be honest.
Be honest about who you are as a brand and be honest when things go wrong. If you’re creating thousands of identical garments, don’t try to pass them off as limited edition. If you’ve created something that is defective or has offended in some way, recognise your mistake, own it, apologise and move on.
Being honest with your customers builds trust and loyalty – two things that are essential to lust-worthy brands.
- COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Strengthen your brand by making sure all messaging that goes out – whether it’s a press release, an advertisement, a social media blast or an email to a customer – all have the same tone and style. Maybe you’re sending everything out in a pink font, or have a cheeky greeting like Benefit’s ‘Hello gorgeous!’. Whatever it is, keep it consistent.
And if you promise your customers that any queries will be answered within 24 hours, make it happen even if it means taking your laptop to bed with you.
If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd with snap up a ticket to our 1:1 Masterclass where we can refine your brand and give you the edge you need to grow your audience and increase sales!
#wearethenewgarde | @the_new_garde