In an era of seemingly endless possibilities to connect with audiences, it’s easy for companies to be overwhelmed and miss the mark on creating brand belonging.
We see it all the time: brands spread themselves thinly across every platform of engagement, sharing seemingly disconnected content, in the hopes of making any connection.
Should we be on every social media platform? Hop on every hashtag trend? Send out a weekly newsletter? Blog? Vlog? Host a clogging contest? (Who doesn’t love a good Oktoberfest clogging?)
A quick scan of social media content reveals what a brand is doing but gives no indication of who that brand is, and instead, reads like that desperate friend who will like anything to be liked in return.
When your brand takes the try anything approach, you’re doing more damage than you think. Audiences can always tell when you’re contributing to the constant barrage of meaningless noise instead of adding value. And ultimately, the customer experiences aren’t creating a sense of belonging.
10,000, 8, and 21
We hold these three numbers up as a constant reminder of what we’re dealing with in communication today.
- The average consumer receives exposure to 10,000 brand messages per day.
- Attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds in the last 15 years.
- Audiences switch between screens up to 21 times per hour.
With so much distraction, it takes more than a traditional brand connection to change habits and capture hearts, it takes brand belonging.
Brand Belonging Grows from the Inside Out
Creating a sense of belonging starts by giving voice to the value system your company holds.
That voice will become the most valuable communication you will create. It will guide your actions and instill purpose into everything you do.
When your value system becomes the foundation of your communication, you’ll move beyond repeat customers. You will create true customer experiences leading to brand advocates. Stay consistent, and your customers will become brand champions who are real believers in who you are.
When value systems overlap, individuals experience a sense of belonging.
Over the last several years, The Partnership has defined our values as Purpose, Passion and Partnership. These values led all our interactions with partners, employees and even our company culture.
The defined values helped us to rethink our social strategy and relaunch how we communicate online. All which has caused a dramatic shift in our company and our work. It demonstrates values in action; it creates brand belonging.
So, how can you make brand belonging happen at your company? Start your journey with these three important points:
- Define your value system
- This isn’t your list of values, mission, or vision. You build those things upon the foundation of “who you are”.
- Know your believer group intimately, invite them in and arm them
- Know your audience well, interact with them, and encourage them to support your brand.
- Create visible actions that support your value system and share
- Your actions should align with your values and you should communicate these actions clearly to your audience.
Purpose-built communication that creates belonging is the key to forging a strong and lasting connection with your audience.
By focusing on your value system and understanding your target audience, you can foster a sense of belonging. Your customers’ experiences will go beyond mere transactions. Your brand will transform them into true believers.
The key is not to be present everywhere. Instead, focus on being in the right place with the right message that resonates with your audience’s values.
Moving from shallow involvement to strong connection will distinguish your brand, fostering customer loyalty and support.
Take the time to define your value system, get to know your believers and let your actions speak volumes. With the right approach, your brand can become a beacon of belonging in a crowded digital landscape.