As a marketer, I’m always on the lookout for brands whose online presence makes me smile. Great brands create an emotional connection with their audience. The best brands make their customers LOVE them. Here are five simple best practices you can follow to make your customers fall in love.
Give Them Something They Can Use
Product listings and catalogs are, by default, pretty boring. Crate and Barrel breaks the boring catalog rhythm. The brand’s series of holiday 2012 catalogs tells a story about how people use their furniture, table settings, and décor to create holiday moments with family and friends.
And, they give their customers several fun and valuable takeaways. The catalogs include links to easily downloadable holiday playlists, recipes, entertaining tips and customizable party invitations. Plus, the Crate and Barrel website seamlessly echoes the content in the catalog. I downloaded one of their holiday playlists – 10 full-length songs from great artists, for free, from iTunes! – and I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
Give your customers something they can use, and they’ll thank you with their affection and by returning to your website.
Make Them Laugh
Let’s say that tomorrow, you were named VP of marketing for the candy brand Sour Patch Kids, which uses the tagline “Sour Then Sweet”. What would your 5-minute branding brainstorm look like?
Would it include this?
Sometimes laughter is the best marketing medicine. Even if your brand isn’t toys or candy, you can still have fun with your customers. Hold a fun contest, tell Friday jokes, or post funny behind-the-scenes office shots. Even if your product isn’t silly, you can make your customers smile.
Chobani’s marketing teams puts out beautiful, creative, cute, and unexpected content and images every single day. If you’re a marketer and you’re not following Chobani, you should start. Now.
Their instagram feed features the same simple Chobani yogurt cups in countless visual situations: on a bike ride in the park on a gorgeous fall day, hanging out with kitchen spoons and spatulas during holiday recipe prep, stacked high on a table with sunshine streaming in from behind…you get the picture.
Chobani is inserting themselves in their fans’ social media feeds, but they never do so with boring, blatant brand messages. Instead, fans are surprised, delighted, and inspired by artistic and clever images. Yep, artistic and clever images…of yogurt. And it works. I don’t even like yogurt, but I want to like Chobani yogurt, just because of their endlessly creative marketing.
Keep Things Interesting
As a social media marketer with a lot of accounts to manage and content to create, it can be easy to fall into a comfortable, scheduled routine. Brands like Birchbox remind us to mix things up – all the time. Birchbox always seems to have something up their (perfectly tailored) sleeves for their huge following of passionate cosmetics fans.
The always-changing lineup of YouTube videos from Birchbox (youtube.com/birchboxtv)
Birchbox reminds marketers that brands should always have something new around the bend – whether it’s a new and inventive contest, an unexpected partnership, a spin-off sister (or in this case, brother brand), or a special holiday service or sale.
In the days during and immediately following Hurricane Sandy, I know that I felt a little stuck as a marketer. I had to keep my campaigns rolling, but I was at a loss for what tone to use in the wake of such a huge disaster affecting so many people. There were many articles published about brands that got it wrong after Sandy – namely, American Apparel, with their insensitive hurricane sale.
Fab.com CEO Jason Goldberg got it right. His email to customers was sincere, heartfelt, and professional. Read it here.
Goldberg’s email felt real and right, after I’d read endless post-Sandy company blogs and communication that felt too promotional and, well, icky. Be real, be honest, be genuine. Your customers will notice.
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