Building a deep emotional connection with your customers is the foundation of a long-lasting relationship, and that’s why you should focus on your brand affinity.
If this is the first time you’ve heard about brand affinity, you might be asking yourself: “How can I do it?” Chances are, you’ve probably been doing it, at least a little bit, already without even knowing.
But let’s talk about what brand affinity truly is and how you can strengthen the connection between you and your customers, which will help you ensure the long-term success of your business.
Table of contents
Here’s your guide to testimonials.
What is brand affinity?
Brand affinity is a metric that shows how much people care about your brand. It encompasses all the positive emotions and feelings people have towards your business and whether or not they believe you share similar values and beliefs.
These are key to success when building long-lasting relationships with your customers and ensuring that they tell (and rave) about your products to their friends and encourage them to become customers too.
Together with brand awareness and loyalty, brand affinity ensures a solid emotional connection between you (a brand) and your customers.
What are the benefits of brand affinity?
Brand affinity has many important benefits when you actively cultivate it. These include:
- Faster customer base growth. As your customers develop a greater affinity for your brand online, they’ll be more likely to refer your brand to friends and family members. Think of this as free marketing: always a benefit, especially for growing small businesses.
- Higher sales and greater profits. In keeping with the above, the more affinity your customers feel for your brand, the more likely they are to make not just one purchase but repeat purchases over time. To that end, you should develop brand affinity to increase the contents of your business’s coffers.
- Increased brand awareness. In the earliest days of your business’s lifespan, brand affinity can increase the rate at which people become aware of your brand. That’s an invaluable benefit as you seek to build up an initial customer base from scratch.
- Superior customer service. In the long run, higher brand affinity will afford you more chances to collect valuable data on your customers. You can then leverage that data to provide top-notch customer service experiences, providing personalized marketing messages, better customer service responses to complaints, etc.
Brand affinity vs. brand loyalty
Brand affinity might seem very similar to customer loyalty, but the two concepts contain a few key differences.
Brand affinity is best thought of as the alignment that a customer feels with your brand. The higher the affinity, the more they feel your brand:
- Matches their values, desires, or needs
- Understands them and vice versa
- Is appropriate for their lifestyle or belief system
For example, a high-tech college student who prefers slightly hipster technology and eco-conscious consumption might prefer Apple over Microsoft. They feel a higher brand affinity with the former as opposed to the latter.
Brand loyalty is different. It’s the personal loyalty or allegiance a consumer has to the brand. But it’s also a conscious choice. The higher a customer’s loyalty, the more dedicated they are to their chosen brand. In most cases, this results in more purchases, repeat subscriptions, etc.
- Brand affinity focuses more on customers’ feelings about the company’s overall identity and aesthetic and whether they have a personal connection to it
- Brand loyalty focuses on an individual’s choice to continue using or buying from the same company again and again
As you can see, brand loyalty often follows brand affinity but not vice versa. You can also increase brand loyalty through other means, like making a loyalty program. This is a key tip to remember to effectively build customer loyalty.
How to measure brand affinity
At first sight, you might be confused about how to measure the emotional connection customers have with your business.
Popular metrics like follower and subscriber numbers or website views indicate that people know your brand. But to measure how involved your customers are, you need to look at other metrics like:
- Time spent consuming your content: By using analytic tools like Google Analytics, Youtube Analytics, or Facebook Insights, you can see how much time people spend consuming your content. Higher numbers are a good indication that people are engaged and interested.
- Customer lifetime value: Look at how much money your customers spend on your products and services during the length of your relationship. If a customer keeps coming back for more, it’s a good indication of brand loyalty and affinity.
- Referrals: If your current customers refer their friends and family to your brand, it’s the best news! It means that the emotional connection and relationship are there, and they trust you enough to recommend you to their peers.
- Search volume: You can find this metric by using Google Search Control, and it shows how many people use your business name while searching on Google. If your brand is on their minds, it’s also a measure that shows your brand affinity efforts are paying off.
- Social media mentions: If people are mentioning you on social networks and are interacting with your brand, it means they feel connected and want to tell about it to others in their social circle.
How to build brand affinity
Now that we know what is brand affinity, let’s look at key strategies to help you build it for the long-term success of your business.
1. Develop a personality for your brand
Brand personality is crucial to helping you build an emotional connection with your customers. It encompasses a set of human characteristics that help consumers relate to your brand. Also, it helps your brand stand out in a crowd because your brand personality is unique to you. As a course creator, your brand is going to be very wrapped up in you, the educator because your students are choosing to take courses from you specifically.
Here are key elements to consider when creating your brand personality:
- Tone of voice: How you speak to your customers will tell them a lot about who you are. Are you serious and direct? Or friendly and cheerful? Think of how you want to speak to your consumers and tailor your tone of voice to build a more prominent brand personality.
- Language: The language you use is also an important component of your brand personality. Know what language your industry or target audience uses and utilize that language on social media, your website, and product descriptions.
- Imagery: Images you use are a non-verbal, yet very potent tool for you to showcase your brand personality. Choose the style and be consistent, so consumers can easily recognize your brand.
- Brand mission and vision: This is where you have the opportunity to showcase what your brand stands for and your beliefs and values and help consumers identify with you.
Once you establish a strong brand personality, attracting the right audience and building a strong emotional connection with them will be easier.
2. Know your customers inside and out
To build a relationship with your customers, you have to know who they are and what they like. Creating an ideal customer and identifying where your customers live, what they like, and how they shop will help you create content that resonates with them better.
Ask yourself these questions when trying to identify your target audience:
- What brands do they like/follow?
- What celebrities/influencers do they engage with?
- What are their core values?
- What do they care about when shopping?
- What are their interests?
Once you know all the nitty gritty details about your customers, you’ll be able to tailor your brand’s personality and content to speak to them directly. You’ll also get an idea of what their pain points are and how you might be able to help solve those for them. As a result, you’ll see that your audience will become much more involved and emotionally connected to your business.
3. Foster a strong community
People are built for community and love a sense of belonging to something bigger. You can provide that to them by creating a community around your brand, where they can interact with your and other members. This is also essential if you’re offering a product like online courses, where you want your students to be able to connect with other people on similar learning journeys.
It will make them feel more appreciated and heard. Which, in turn, will help you build relationships and connections and create superfans who are loyal to your brand.
Ensure you’re engaging with your community and encourage them to engage with each other. If your customers make lifelong friends along the way, they’ll always remember your brand in a positive light, making the relationships stronger.
4. Excel at customer service
Even 90% of Americans look at the brand’s customer service before deciding whether they want to interact with the business or not. Excellent customer service is crucial for building a connection with your customers, so ensure you always provide the best experience. If you’re offering courses, then chances are, you’re the customer service. Making you the face of the business and the brand too.
Always be friendly and helpful, and ensure that the customer feels understood and leaves the conversation happy. Also, always address bad reviews in a positive, humble way and understand that most criticism is not personal, and most often, people just want to be heard and receive an apology for their inconvenience.
5. Create brand ambassadors
Word of mouth is still one of the most potent marketing strategies to get new customers. Ninty percent of people are more likely to trust brand recommendation, even if it comes from a stranger. Brand ambassadors are a way to get these recommendations for your business.
There are two ways to create brand ambassadors:
- Turn your loyal customers into superfans of your brand and allow them to advocate for it.
- Work with influencers who match your brand’s value and let them advocate for your business to their audience.
Both strategies are amazing to help you increase brand affinity. The implementation of either or both will depend on how you run your business and your budget. You might also see ambassadors referred to as affiliates, especially if you’re on the Teachable platform.
For the superfans of your brand, you might want to create a referral system or an affiliate program that allows them to earn something back in return for recommending your business to their social circle. Giving them some extra love will only deepen the bond and encourage positive associations they have with your brand, which in turn, increases brand affinity.
When working with influencers, you want to make sure that you choose people with similar values and beliefs. Influencers usually have engaged audiences with whom they have strong relationships, and their recommendations carry a lot of weight.
If you run strategic marketing campaigns with the right influencers, you can create long-lasting relationships that will keep bringing in new leads and loyal customers to your business.
6. Utilize content marketing
Lastly, use content creation and marketing strategy to build stronger relationships with your customers. The main purpose of content is to provide value to your audience and potential customers. It helps them resonate with your brand and build trust, which is a key component in any relationship.
So, focus on creating high-quality, value-packed, relevant content that your audience finds helpful or inspirational. It can be blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and ebooks. Always use content repurposing to help you transform one piece of content into multiple pieces for different mediums and platforms. Consider giving away some of this content for free to show people just how valuable your paid content likely is.
Also, an amazing way to engage your customers and show them you appreciate them is by using user-generated content in your content strategy. User-generated content means reposting content that your customers share on social media.
Let’s answer some of the people’s most common questions about brand affinity.
Why is brand affinity important?
Brand affinity is crucial for your business because it ensures that a customer chooses your brand over your competition when making a purchase.
Nowadays, consumers are savvy about the brands they choose to buy from and support. And they also have many options to choose from, no matter which industry it is. So, why would they choose you over someone else?
If you build a relationship with consumers based on shared values and beliefs and you work to ensure that consumers experience positive emotions when interacting with your brand, they’ll be more inclined to choose your brand.
What is the difference between brand affinity and brand preference?
Brand affinity describes the emotional connection between a brand and consumers. While brand preference is an indicator that consumers would choose your brand over any other, even if the other brand offers a better deal.
Brand affinity comes before brand preference and is a crucial component for your business to get to the place where a consumer prefers your brand over everyone else. Brand preference is also a broader concept that includes brand affinity, awareness, loyalty, brand equity, and engagement.