The most blissful connection in the universe happens when the ideal customer finds their ideal service provider.
Everybody is happy.
The customer loves the service quality, the personal delivery and the price factor – because they are ideal. The service provider loves working with the customer because they are happy, satisfied and bring back return business.
When the right customer meets the right service, everybody is elated – and when this happens for your business you love going to work every day (or could we not even call it ‘work’ anymore?)
It may sound about as plausible as unicorns and rainbows, but it really is attainable.
If your branding is clear and appears where your ideal customers can see it then they will come to you. You can then do business in a way that makes you happy every day – with a steady flow of customers with whom you are perfectly matched.
The secret to achieving this is to create the ideal brand for your business. And you do this by aligning your branding perfectly with your customer’s aspirations.
Let’s have a closer look at what this means…
Branding 101: Align Your Branding with Your Customer Motivations
Branding isn’t about twisting your business marketing to connect with more people – it is about honing your message to connect with more of the right people.
It is about clarifying what you are doing and why you are doing it, and who you want to do it for. Your ideal customers are the people who will be made happiest by your services, because your services are ideal for them already.
You just need to let them know this.
When you create the perfect storm of branding, you craft a clear message that lets your audience know that your business will help them meet their aspirations. That more than any other service provider, you can bring them closer to who they aspire to be.
Then this makes choosing your services the only natural choice.
What Are Your Customers’ Motivations or Aspirations?
Customer motivations are the underlying desires that bring them to you. It is bigger than what just motivates them, however, it what propels them forward – it is your customer trying to become the person they aspire to be, and live the life they aspire to have.
There are a number of different words that marketers will use for customer motivations or aspirations. You might use a different word yourself when you think of your customers, see as:
What we should be targeting is the person your customer wants to be, and the life they want to lead. It the existence they would paint for themselves if there were no restrictions or barriers.
It is more than just what they need, it’s what they dream of being.
Draw a Picture of your Customer Motivations
Every business should have a target customer persona. You can’t create the perfect branding unless you work out clearly who you are trying to connect with.
You need to draw a picture of your ideal customer, in vivid detail. Make your description rich with characterisation and really get inside their heads and their hearts.
Ask your (imaginary) ideal customer some of these questions to help you work out who they are:
- Can you describe your perfect day?
- Where do you see yourself in 12 months?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What are you afraid of?
- What do you spend more time worrying about than anything else?
- What are your dreams?
- What 5 words would you like friends to use to describe you?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- When you look back at the end of your life, what do you hope to have achieved?
- What do you regret not doing?
- If you had enough money to never need to work again – how would you spend your days?
Customer motivations, or customer aspirations are basically your customers’ fears, hopes, and dreams. Your customers will feel these desires, but may not be overtly aware of them.
So how do you target motivations that people don’t even know they have?
Imagine Yourself as a Customer of Your Business
What would make you happy? What sort of steps would you take if you had a problem, to research it and try to find a solution? What would make this process easier? What would define a successful solution for you? What would define a memorable and positive experience? What would make you likely to refer a friend to that business?
It can be easy to think in terms of your customer’s needs, and how you meet them. But targeting underlying motivations and aspirations, especially in your marketing and branding, has a greater effect. It also means you don’t need to change your message often, as customers’ needs will change quickly, but their dreams are generally stable over the years.
Work out what your business provides each of your customers. Don’t think in basic or practical terms – go higher than this. How do you improve their life?
If you are an occupational therapist, for example, you don’t just provide treatment to remove pain or help people heal – you give them freedom, peace and a return to their lives. You may even give them a life they never had before!
Aspirations can be broadly placed into one of five categories – see if your business helps people to reach any of these:
- Happiness – your business makes people feel good, feel alive, etc.
- Connection – your business helps people to connect with each other and feel part of the world
- Exploration – your business opens up possibilities and new horizons for your customers
- Society – your business improves society in a way that helps or connects with your customers
- Pride – you make people feel pride, strength, security, value or confidence
You may initially think of your business as a removal of something negative, such as pain, but when framing how you align with motivations or aspirations, it is better to consider the positive effect you have. Such as removing pain could open up your customers to happiness, connection or exploration.
Narrow it down to the ideals or aspirations that you directly impact.
How Can You Communicate All of This To Your Customers?
Connecting with customer motivations is all about letting them know why your unique greatness is the perfect match for their unique greatness.
It is specifically about letting them know how they will be changed by an interaction with you.
When you have clarified the ideals or aspirations that your business gives people, look at the different ways you can communicate this to your audience.
Be aware also that people with different aspirations will look for solutions to them in different places and in different ways – so you will need to tailor how exactly you connect with them.
There are many different opportunities for you to connect with your audience and let them know that you align with their individual aspirations.
By taking yourself through the virtual customer journey that I mentioned above you can examine every opportunity you have to positively interact with a customer. You can then work out where to improve things and ways to add new positive connections.
Remember that Branding is More Than Just Marketing – It is the Whole Customer Experience
When a customer buys from you, you take them through a whole journey. You want it to be a carefree and pleasant journey, but more than that, you want it to be memorable for the right reasons.
The customer’s journey with your brand is more than just paying for a service and then receiving it. Much of their journey occurs well before they decide to buy, and a lot of it also continues on after the service is given.
You need to give your audience the feeling that you align with their underlying motivations at every point of contact with you. This can include:
- Social media posts
- YouTube videos
- Comments you make under your business name
- Your website experience
- The charities or causes your business supports
- How your business actively considers the environment
- Blogs and articles
- Customer service through phone calls
- Online booking systems
- Reviews and testimonials
- Welcome packs for making contact
- Thank you gifts for after the transaction
- Follow up contact to check how your client is and receive feedback
I am willing to guess that you aren’t actually offering all of the above, and that’s ok. You may not have the time, skills or budget for all of this – but you should be tapping into as many of these as you can.
Consider how many of the above touchpoints between you and your target audience you could tailor to let them know how your business meets their aspirations.
Not all of these activities will come naturally to you, and they may not fit in with your passion or how you like to work. But they are all excellent ways to reach your audience and grow your business brand.
Think about outsourcing aspects of this that you struggle with or lack the time for – such as social media management, copywriting, virtual assistants or automating emails.
Your aim is not to just craft one advertisement or connect with a customer for one business interaction – it needs to be for long-term relationships and ongoing loyalty. You need to design and build this relationship – it does take some effort, thought and time.
Consider what you give your customers that they can recognise and relate to. Consider how you improve their lives longer-term and how you help people in ways that won’t fade or date.
Don’t just aim to inspire your customers to act now, aim to help them aspire to be who they always wanted to be.