Quality is important — no one’s arguing that point.
Crappy products and shoddy service are no way to win over the hearts and minds of your customers.
But there’s more to a company’s success than just what they’re selling.
There’s also the matter of branding, one of the most important parts of 21st century marketing and advertising.
You need more than just a great product or service. You need a brand your customers are going to like.
Likeability is important, but it’s one of those things that can be kind of hard to pin down.
What is it, exactly, that makes us like or dislike a particular brand?
It’s a lot of different factors, really.
And one person’s favorite brand in the world can be totally uninteresting to someone else.
Everyone’s got different tastes, but your company’s success may very well hinge on sculpting a brand identity that a particular group of people — your target audience — will genuinely like.
In a recent blog post, The Content Marketing Institute offers two great examples of companies that nail it when it comes to likeability: Big Ass Fans and Velocity.
Businesses that get ‘liking’ right
Two caveats before I get to the examples:
- “Liking” is subjective. What I like, you may not. If you find that the examples aren’t to your liking, think of companies or brands you really like. Then, ask yourself, “Why?”
- The world is filled with companies and brands. To find the few I share here, I turned away from the internet and asked myself, “What brands do I really like?” The brands that first came to mind made it to my roster of examples.
Example 1: Big Ass Fans
Here’s a tidbit about me: I hate the heat.
Despise it. Heat makes me cranky.
While it might not make sense that I lived in Florida for 20-plus years, it does make sense that I now live in the mountains of North Carolina.
I discovered Big Ass Fans while searching for a fan big enough to cool the gym where my husband and I worked out at the time.
The workout room was at least 10 degrees too hot.
When the owner (finally!) brought in a fan, I was happy – until I realized, rather quickly, that the fan wasn’t big or strong enough.
I waited impatiently for the slight breeze as the fan pointed in my direction while rotating.
After suffering through too many overly hot workouts, I searched online, and came across Big Ass Fans.
[image source: The Content Marketing Institute]
I fell in love right away with the bold use of the word “ass” in the company’s name, playing right into the story in my head of “Renae the rebel.”
The other obvious reason for loving the brand is, of course, the product – the big ass fan, which I needed in my life to tackle my big-ass aversion to heat, both at the gym and at home.
Example 2: Velocity
Velocity is a B2B content marketing agency in London.
I discovered the company when it promoted an e-book called the B2B Marketing Manifesto.
That e-book broke the rules of e-book design, moving away from walls of text on a page to a few words on a page. It spoke in simple terms rather than jargon.
It used large, bold images to get a point across.
[image source: The Content Marketing Institute]
Yes, Velocity uses a few cuss words, which speaks to my rebellious spirit.
And that’s exactly why I like the brand.
I feel a connection. I aspire to be like them.
I like the things they think, say, and share.
How to lead people to ‘like’ through your content
Now, how to translate what you do into content that boosts your “like” factor?
Consider these ideas:
- Create content that inspires people and makes them feel good – aspirational content.
- Recognize that even if you’re a B2B company, you’re selling to people – people who are consuming your content. Use second-person language. It’s far more personal and increases a sense of connection. (Do you get a sense that I’m talking to you? I hope so!)
- Provide real value in your content, not a sales spiel – create and distribute apps, checklists, best-practice guides, research results, and how-to’s.
- Show your personality and style. How about giving the reader a sense of the company culture? Is your ideal client a risk taker, or does she shy away from risk? Tap into the story in your audience member’s head.
Liking comes down to being open and honest, to being who you are, and to sharing common interests.
Just be open about your insights and talents, and how you can use them to serve (not sell).
TIP: A common interest is the success of the people you serve. Don’t forget to tell that story.
Likeability can be the key to setting yourself apart from the crowd and striking the right chord with your target audience of potential customers.
But, it’s not the only factor you need to keep in mind.
You can read about two other important factors, knowledge and trust, in the full blog post from The Content Marketing Institute.