Every morning as I drive to the office, I pass a local company that provides commercial cleaning services. It’s not a high-profile company. It’s just a local business that appears to have been a part of our Boise fabric for years.
I typically wouldn’t even notice them; I’m not in the market for their services. But on a regular basis–maybe once a week– they take the time to climb a ladder to their old-school marquee and post fun, insightful and pithy words of wisdom. I don’t just find myself reading them. I find myself looking forward to them. So much so that it has dawned on me that I like these guys. I think about their business. And I’ve suggested to other people that they pay attention to their business. In short, they have built a likable brand in their market.
In a world where we in marketing are so fascinated by metrics, we can also relearn something from these guys about the value of brand likability. Sure, it’s hard to measure. It’s hard to quantify. But we humans have an innate desire to like something that speaks to us. Always have. Always will.
Tips for creating a likable brand
Whether you are building a business in a local market like Boise, or building a national brand, making your customers love you is important. Over the years, I’ve noticed the most likable brands have five things in common:
- Likable brands are friendly: No one likes a brand that tells you what to do. They earn your relationship with friendliness and helpfulness. We use services and buy products not just because of products; we buy them because we like the overall experience.
- Likable brands understand their customer’s needs: The world’s best brands look at their products and services and match those to the needs of their customers.
- Likable brands put customers first: This may seem simple, but it’s an important point. It is not enough to simply know what a customer needs and supply it; you need to look at the need of a customer and place that need above all else. As we always say here at Stoltz, “Give the customer what they want and get out of their way.”
- Likable brands are honest and transparent: Every business has good days and bad days and deals with good news and bad news. The best brands take both situations and provide honest and transparent information to their customers, and when they do it, they are rewarded with brand loyalty.
- Likable brands aren’t afraid to focus: No one likes a brand that is self-important and thinks that everyone needs their product or service. Likable brands know that they are great for a key audience and that’s what they focus on. There’s no reason to try to be everything to everybody, and the best brands know this.
Until Google comes up with an algorithm that can generate great concepts, or genuine, entertaining ways to engage with other humans, let’s not forget that big ideas and fun interaction with each other still has value in marketing. In fact, maybe brand likeability has a value that exceeds marketing that leans too heavily on pure metrics, programmatic advertising and real-time context.