They’re outrageous. They’re personable. They’re silly. They’re insulting. They’re unique. They’re engaging. Importantly, they’re all companies who relate profoundly to their audiences. Coincidentally (or not) they’re also kings of their respective industries.
But it doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, it’s one of the most carefully-orchestrated, deliberate elements to creating a successful brand. Your voice is important. And what you say to your audience – it’s everything.
Keep reading for some actionable, no-bullshit tips on connecting and relating to your audience.
When your prospect is engaged with your brand, it is as an individual. Not as a collective – no matter the situation. So why would you communicate with them in an impersonal manner?
This is a problem that’s rife. Companies spend infinite time and money gathering data and statistics about their customers. Thing is…this puts the focus on the collective. It averages data and evens out the most important subtleties and eccentricities of your target audience. It limits the very thing you should be focussing on – the individual.
Think long and hard who your ideal customers are – and learn from them – individually. Talk to them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them what they like. What they hate. Find out about their individual lives. In the process, you’ll learn the most valuable thing possible – how your brand can be a relevant part of it.
Yeah, it couldn’t sound any more clichéd if it tried. It also couldn’t be more correct. Will you be successful towing the line, following the herd, and copying from previous trailblazers?….Yes. But you’ll be forever limited by your own derivativeness. Some of the most ridiculously successful companies thought outside the box. They took risks. They bared it all to the world.
Because your prospects can relate to the trailblazers. The people who think outside the box to solve their problems.
Look at the origins of ‘Think Different’. Apple. One of the most successful, respected tech companies in the world. Their very existence embodies ‘think different’. And people love them for it.
But should you ‘follow their lead’ and ‘copy’ their model for success? NO! Being different doesn’t mean being the same as those who are different. It takes true guts and innovation. Could it fail? Definitely. Are there risks to being different? Sure. But it’s the most worthwhile risk to take in the world.
Humour works. Like, really, really well. But it takes a profound understanding of your audience – and humour, for that matter – to get right. And when it goes badly?
Tip: Laugh with people, not at them.
Good brand humour is a careful calibration between your audience’s sensibilities, your brand’s identity, and timing. Taco Bell. Old Spice. Impact Design. They all know their audiences profoundly. And they know precisely where their audience’s sensibilities overlap with their brand identity.
Next time you’re trying to be funny…think a little deeper. Who is your audience? Who’s your brand? Double-check your attempts. Or the consequences will be disastrous.
There’s nothing more human than imperfections. And what – if anything – are you trying to connect with? Humans. From the houses we buy to the supermarkets we choose, us humans choose things that reflect our identity. Just look at Victoria’s Secret. They advertised perfection. Perfect people wearing perfect products created by a perfect brand.
People went crazy….they hated it. Why? Because Victoria’s Secret were advertising a lie. People simply don’t look like that. In fact, the entire fashion and beauty industry is slowly, slowly coming to this realisation:
People desire self-improvement. But more importantly, people desire to be loved. To feel a sense of belonging. To feel they’re worth something – not despite their mistakes, but because of them. And brands who can offer that? They’ll win their customers for life.
Look at Dove. Their advertising is based on rejoicing in the differences (and imperfections!) of their brand and their audience. And their customers love them for it.
“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.” – David Ogilvy.
There’s a reason why we love wonky, imperfect artisan pizzas. Silly, tongue-in-cheek brands. The companies who speak to us as individuals. The companies who make us laugh or leave us awe-stricken.Because all of these things are inherently human. And in a world becoming increasingly sterile and technological, the value of ‘being human’ is an ever-inflating commodity.
Want to share your thoughts on relating to your audience? Jump head-first into the discussion. Add your comment below!