Is your Brand Friendly?

best friends

As I drove in to work this morning I tuned into a nationally syndicated morning show that is broadcast on a local station here in Dayton. I do this most mornings, some days I really want to listen to music, but usually I don’t mind the chatter.

When I first started listening I found it odd that I didn’t mind, typically I will only listen to music on the radio. (excluding my talk radio phase about 5 years ago, but we must never speak of that) Today however, I realized why it is I don’t mind listening to the chatter.

The DJs were playing a game where they would play a snippet of an old song, and then one of them had to sing the next line in order to win a prize for a caller. After each song the chosen DJ would attempt to fill in the next line, then they would all join in and sing along for another portion of the song.

It was in that moment, as I was also, unashamedly, singing along I was transported back to the days of high school and college. I was taken back to the times when I would road trip with my friends and we would find some song that was ridiculously popular at one point in time but had faded into obscurity. You know the songs I’m thinking of, the ones where you still know all the words though you haven’t heard the song in at least 5 years. (I’m thinking of one trip that involved a 15 passenger van with Sweet Home Alabama blaring as we rolled into a hotel in Mobile.)


Friends in van

The reason I don’t mind the chatter in the morning is that this particular show has found a way to relate with its target demographic in a way that mimics friendship. It’s more than a group of people with appealing voices and great diction, they’ve created a chemistry that makes the listener feel as if they are simply hanging out with a group of friends.

So What does this have to do with branding?

Determine if Friendship is The Right Path

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Every brand needs to determine what response they want to evoke from their target demographic. Emotions typically elicit a strong response, but if you are branding a military defense contractor, you may not want to elicit the same response as Hallmark. Within the emotional spectrum there are several choices, but one of the best for developing repeat customers and brand ambassadors is friendship. If someone identifies your brand as a friend they are more likely to want to spend time with your products or services, and they will want to share them with their friends.

Determine Your Messaging

The biggest investment into developing your message, regardless of the response you expect, is time. With any campaign, it will take time to fully take hold. This is especially true with a friendship driven response. Unfortunately, and I’ve tried this several times so believe me, you can’t beat people over the head with friendship. They have to feel like they are given a choice, an open invitation, a comfortable place to be. If you introduce your product or service in a sales capacity too soon in the process you will give off cold pricklies instead of warm fuzzies.. (sorry that’s how I learned about interpersonal communication in 2nd grade and I’ve never been able to shake it).

Remember Your Purpose in Every Communication

In a world with an endless stream of revolving social media channels, there are so many ways to communicate with prospective customers that it can become overwhelming. My advice to you is to pick 2 -3 communication channels and really focus on doing them right. It feels that every expert is telling you that, “You Must Use Facebook” or “Youtube is the best way to secure new customers”. Here’s what I have to say. If you chase every channel of communication you will not use any of them effectively. As you spread yourself thin there is a greater chance of you alienating your potential customers, and putting them off from your friendship vibe. Whatever channels you choose, think about everything you post, mail, or broadcast, and ask yourself, is this something that a friend would say to me?

wannabe

No matter how you choose to brand yourself, the most important thing to remember is you need to be consistent. Every brand has a story, and to brand yourself effectively you need to tell your story. Don’t worry about what others are saying, don’t trying to replicate what they are doing, because that isn’t you. Remember that time in Jr. High when you decided that you were going to act more like that other kid because he was cooler, and it ended up backfiring? (If not you were the cool kid so think of all the kids that kept trying to act like you). Don’t make the same mistake with your brand. Be yourself.

Categories: Brand Story