Good brands build loyalty, great brands build confidence

A Guest Post by Tony Richards:

Effective brands seek to build brand loyalty. Consumers that will choose your brand over others time and time again. Much of this is developed with the understanding that the brand must be able to make a mental connection with their consumer. However, while good brands build loyalty, great brands build confidence.

Most companies don’t understand the potential their brand has to boost the confidence in their consumers. Nor do they realize the value it can bring to their bottom line. Since the start of Dove’s “Real Beauty” self-esteem marketing campaign in 2004, their sales have increased from 2.5 billion to 4 billion. Coincidence? I think not.

As consumers, we all make purchasing decisions based on our intuition. Our emotion. And our sense of connection to the brand. But how are those connections created? Or better yet, how can your company influence your consumers emotions to create those connections?

Through Image

Our shopping habits reflect and enforce an ideal version we have of ourselves. According to Yuksel Ekinci, a Professor of Marketing, research shows that the act of purchasing a specific brand can be emotionally rewarding because it can bring the consumer closer to their ideal image. The person they aspire to be. When a brand mirror’s an attribute they aspire to be (sophisticated, hip, beautiful, etc), the act of purchasing alone will raise their self-esteem. Making them feel valued.

An emotional bond then builds between the consumer and a brand that constantly reinforces their self-image. How can your brand build your consumer’s self-image?

Through Function

Function tends to fall under the tactical aspect and is rarely thought about in the strategy phase. However, function is a necessary strategy to building a connection to your consumer through their confidence.

Research from the VCU Brandcenter has found that brands can play a significant role in the lives of their consumers, especially when it comes to skill. The perception of their own skill and abilities can be affected by the usage of particular brands. Noting that some brands make them feel more confident in their skills when performing certain tasks. This feeling of increased confidence in their own ability can also create a connection between the user and the brand.

What function does your brand have that will make your consumers more confident in their own skills?

Through Action

Some companies have launched campaigns targeted to raise the self-esteem of the viewing to earn an emotional connection in the process. We’ve seen that with the current marketing Self-Esteem Movement.

Companies, like Dove, have targeted women, encouraging them to embrace their natural beauty. One of the most successful campaigns created by Dove, Dove Real Beauty Sketches, has over 68k views on YouTube. This method creates a strong emotional connection by boosting the confidence of the viewer which they will then associate with the brand.

But it’s not just about the message. That’s tactical. That’s branding. The brand strategy behind this is with the action. The follow-through. Dove has created the Dove Self-Esteem Project. An initiative that works with parents, mentors, teachers and youth leaders to deliver self-esteem education to young people.

Whatever connection you try to make with your consumer to build their confidence and encourage brand loyalty, make sure it is genuine. By building up their self-image, giving them the tools they need to be successful, and following through with action, your brand can reach the level of greatness.

About the Guest Contributor:

Tony Richards is an Organizational & Executive Development expert & CEO of Clear Vision Development Group, a leadership & strategy firm in Columbia Missouri. He is one of INC Magazine’s Top 100 leadership speakers & thinkers. His firm’s website is Follow Tony on Twitter @tonyrichards4.