The PR and communications industry is awash with buzzwords and phrases such as "brand advocates" and "brand love." But is it possible for people to really love a brand? Do people really care that much?
It's easier for large consumer brands like Apple and Nike with huge budgets and cool products to amass a following of loyal consumers who enjoy being seen to be wearing or using their latest products.
But what if you're just starting out and have a small budget? Or, what if you work for a B2B brand with a very niche product offering? Where do you start?
Make your brand approachable
Firstly, list your brand's key selling points. What makes your company special? Build your messages around these but communicate it in simple, non-technical language.
Remember you are talking to people. Hard-boiled facts about why your product is better than your competitors is not enough. Communicate these to your customers and key stakeholders in a way which evokes feeling or some kind of emotion.
Humour is a powerful tool
This is not to say one should joke about your CEO's receding hairline in a press release. There are many ways to use humour in communications without losing your company’s credibility or getting yourself sacked.
Sadly, often businesses lack a sense of self irony, like in this example of Verizon getting angry at Netflix's prank:
A great way of avoiding bigger crisis is to scout what other people are saying about your company and own it. Make it funny with your own terms. Instead of accusing Netflix of "causing potential harm to the Verizon brand in the marketplace" it would have been more sustainable to come up with something funny. This would have been a perfect place for a savvy PR pro to join to a discussion with a humorous retort.
Learn from the brands you admire
The master of brand humour and doing things their own way is BrewDog. Their PR practices and brand go hand in hand, take a look at this "formal" apology to Portman Group, who officially banned their Dead Pony Club 3.6% ale due to the "inappropriate use of humour" in their marketing. My favourite phrase in BrewDog's apology is describing Portman Group as "gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants", but it's definitely worth having a read through the full statement.
Ok, it's more than likely that the Portman Group don't find this funny but this statement presents BrewDog as an ironical misfit brand and surely turned many customers into fans.
But beware - if you wouldn't share your content and don't find it funny, then chances are nobody will either.
If you haven't seen Jon Morter's hilarious Facebook page, Condescending Corporate Brand Page, you need to check it out now. It brilliantly mocks some cheesy social media practices.
Are you a fan of a brand? How have you managed to make your company's brand more approachable? We'd love to hear your thoughts on that!