As a business we want the focus to be on our products; the things that we're selling. We have a hard time moving that limelight anywhere else, why would our customers care about anything other than what we're selling?
Business has changed a lot from the Mad Men days. Advertising and marketing aren't as straight to the point as it used to be and the rise of social media doesn't make that any easier. Aside from always having to have fresh content to share with your audience you need more than just your product to offer them.
These days, consumers love a brand. A brand is so much more than just business because it's personal. It creates a feeling, a lifestyle and a following. People who follow a brand are much more loyal and often won't use a competitor out of love for their chosen brand.
So how do you turn your business into a brand? You get personal. In an Inc.com article about Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman it says, "Emotion is what really drives the purchasing behaviors, and also, decision making in general. Studies completed by neuroscientists have found that people whose brains are damaged in the area that generates emotions are incapable of making decisions." In order to remember your brand, "they must be engaged and impassioned by the interaction with your company."
To get personal with your brand, you show the sides of your business that aren't just business, and you connect with your audience on different levels. You start with your obsession for hot tea (guilty!), and you post images of your daily tea every few squares on your Instagram or days on your Facebook. You then get deeper by talking about your passion for Women in Developing countries and the ways you want to help them or talk about the rescue dog your family adopted last year and the struggle for training him/her. Finally, you get real personal and talk about your fear of failure, the not so great deal that just went down for your business or that you won't be on social for a bit because you lost a loved one.
It starts light, with just a few connection points that are easy to admit and easy to connect with and some faces that are working behind the brand. Then as you start building a loyal audience, as the tea lovers come out to support you, you go a little deeper and then deeper. It's your brand, so you always have the choice of how deep you want to go. Maybe you don't like putting your stuff out there and want to keep things fun and inspirational, that's great! Tell stories of the people in your life that inspire you and have helped you get where you are, share the stories of success you've witnessed and post your favorite quotes.
The difference between a brand and a business is this - connection. Brands provide a connection and give an emotion that you enjoy. A business is just interested in sales. So as you think about creating content, or posting to your social, ask yourself what you can tell your audience to connect a little deeper? What can you share about how you built your business, how you spend your free time, or what your team does together to connect a little deeper with your audience?
Being a brand will take you a lot further than being a business. The loyal followers will support you in all that you do because you feel like a friend. Make business personal and become a brand!