As the role of gatekeeper in an increasingly digital world morphs, so to does our expectations of the media we consume. One big trend to arise from the ashes of old, print media, is the desire for greater brand authenticity.

In fact, one survey found that 90% of millennials said that brand authenticity was an important consideration of making a purchase. Unfortunately, the survey found that 57% of respondents thought that half of the media they consume from brands came off as authentic.

Perception may or may not be reality, but authenticity cannot be objectively faked. To become more personable, brands must learn to be themselves. Embrace those weird quirks that make your business different and strip your mind of all buzzwords.

Steve Jobs, Apple
photo credit: Surian Soosay / Flickr

Here, I’d like to share a few ideas on how businesses can become more personable and use this as a weapon to cultivate greater brand loyalty.

Get Social

We must not look at organic social media as a tool for advertising or increasing our reach. The true power of social media is that it’s a platform of engagement and conversation.

Leverage content marketing and sharing to start conversations and engage with your audience directly. Be sure to respond to any reviews, positive or negative, and posts on your wall to show your customers that you care and that there are real people behind your brand.

But remember, conversations are equal parts talking as they are listening. Use comments and posts on your page to learn more about your customers and create better and more personalized experiences for them going forward.

Improve Customer Reachout

Aside from social media, there are plenty of other channels you can use to improve the lines of communication between you and your customers. Always be sure to follow up with any leads and keep them in your CRM, even if they don’t commit to a contract or sale right away.

Leverage content marketing and A/B split testing to create personalized ad experiences and email reach outs that result in clicks and engagement. Supplement this data with website behavioural flow charts in Google Analytics to learn more about your customers and find what platforms they engage with most.

With all of this data, you can create personalized messaging that targets customers with the greatest intent and best opportunity for a sale.

Building rapport with business partners

Build Rapport with Clients and Your Most Loyal Customers

So once you made that sale you’re all done right? Well, one of the best ways to accrue more business is through word-of-mouth referrals.

Cultivating brand loyalty is not a new concept and not one that should be ignored either. Cultivate greater loyalty by forming more personalized connections with existing clients (B2B) or your most loyal brand advocates (B2C).

For B2B firms, keep the lines of communication open through regular calls and face-to-face meetings. Andrew Miller of Polycom was infamous for advocating for a customer-centric approach to videoconferencing and the importance of client retention through greater tools for communication.

For B2C companies, some tips could include:

  • Sharing testimonials and user-generated content from your most loyal customers
  • Hosting contests and events to get people engaged with your brand
  • Creating official brand advocate positions with real responsibilities outside of the company
  • Hosting surveys to get to know more about your customers

Tell Branded Stories

Finally, people want to see the human side of brands. Don’t believe, one survey found that 80% of people demand brands to tell stories amidst all of the media they already consume on a daily basis.

SoulCycle mantra and story
Example: SoulCycle’s mantra – source

If you want to become more personable, your brand should be a little more open and transparent. Respond to negative press as it occurs and tell people the positive aspects of your business that occurs behind the scenes, whether it’s improving culture or opening a new location.