The more you like a person, the easier they can persuade you.
This might sound self-evident, but hear me out. Because what makes someone like a brand?
First off, be like your audience.
In the words of the science fiction writer Asimov:
“All things being equal, you root for your own sex, your own culture, your own locality… and what you want to prove is that you are better than the other person. Whomever you root for represents you. And when he wins, you win.”
So when building your brand, make sure you reflect your typical customer.
Write in the tone-of-voice that matches the reader’s.
If a product is made in their country, let them know.
And use models that are aspirational to them. Avoid stock photos with cardboard people if possible.
Everyone will be more comfortable if they recognize themselves in your brand.
Second, be authentic.
Many brands forget that they’re selling to humans.
Our goal is to enthusiastically fashion innovative and value-added user communities to provide solutions for our partners. 11
Ever read this? Such mission statements – when vomited up by salaried peasants – are not inspirational. Not now, not ever.
Never Disneyfie your existence. Make sure you’re authentic. This goes for your entire Brand Experience.
Often, there’s some room for humor. (Unless you’re selling Hellfire missiles.) It breaks the tension and makes people like you.
Third, give a sh*t.
You can also be intensely personal. Selling dog food, we took every opportunity to name you and your dog, preferably in handwriting.
Shower the first fans of your brand with love, and they will certainly repay you. In the words of the entrepreneur Paul Graham:
“Take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy.”
Now the moment you get some traction, a little devil may suggest that your users are just hogs for the roast.
Countless businesses and politicians are seduced by this lie. Their initial success makes them feel untouchable, and this conviction leaks into their speech and actions.
Eventually, your hogs pick up on their status, and they will hate you for it. Perhaps they won’t leave you immediately (because they’re locked in somehow). But they will jump ship as soon as there is an alternative.
Keep investing in your Brand Experience if you want lasting success. Don’t slack because you want to make an extra buck.