What does this actually mean” Consumers don’t want to engage with a brand, they want to engage with what it represents and its alignment with their own set of values, or in some cases creating values for people to connect with.
This means that marketers need to stop focusing on the channels of communication and focus more with what people actually experience and feel when using anything to do with the brand. They need to be storytellers creating a picture in peoples heads and reasons for people to come to the site beyond a purchase.
Creating topics of interest and engaging the community to become the go to place for whatever topics they happen to be. The biggest example of this is Google, The brand itself has quite simply become the destination site for a huge percentage of internet users, we say I?ll search for it online, but more often than not that changes to “I?ll Google it.
Another example is Nike, which tagline creates a value many people can relate too: ?Just do it.
This creates a picture of what Nike represents and it’s products allow people to attach themselves to it. In the Nike running community, NikeID, It’s fuelband, the products and services it offers, all share it’s values and allow others to become apart of it. So, Nike is no longer just a brand but a destination for lots of people within its community where it takes ownership of each person’s sense success.
When people achieve things inside Nike’s community, they achieve them because of Nike. This sense of belonging it has created is within each and every brand out there once they start seeing their brand as the destination and not individual channels of communication.
Social media as a tool allows the conversations to happen, we talk about this a lot and say that it should be used as a platform to connect the conversations but not as a destination for people. What your brand talks about and how it feels to people is what will connect more people to you.
Understanding what your community talks about and how your can position yourself as a resource to that, will allow you to take control of each persons own sense of success. First you must understand what you can offer from in your own personality.
Create a set of values, design a plan to implement them and start engaging people beyond your services. Every message, picture and interaction will develop the brand’s story and community experience. How this is delivered will affect people’s perception of the brand. This means searching for what your community needs to be successful and facilitate that need, in what ever form it shapes itself.
James Curran is the owner of Yuftee.com: ?Supporting the growth of relationship focused organisations