We live in a digital era where there are countless distractions in every aspect of our lives. Everything you see, everything you hear, and everything you feel is most likely a design by some brand out there trying to steal a portion of your limited attention. These brands want your attention because to them, your attention equals money in their pockets.
With that being said, I think it’s safe to assume that the general population has already accepted this phenomenon as a reality that we’re just going to have to live with. Marketers/brands will continue to look for innovative ways to capture your attention and consumers will continue to pay attention to these “distractions.”
The single most important question marketers need to figure out in order to be successful in today’s world is: What do consumers pay attention to and why?
To answer this question, you have to first recognize the fact that every individual in this world is unique, and we each experience the world differently from the next person. We resonate with different types of people, different emotions, different expressions, and we each embody a personality that is uniquely ours. This pattern of thinking ties in with the different brands we like and buy from, and perhaps it’s time we think about the real reasons why we prefer certain brands over others.
Take a second to think about your favorite brand, a brand that you believe aligns with your values, aesthetics, and who you are as a person. Obviously, there are instances where you buy a shirt just because you need a shirt and it’s not about something profound. But studies have shown that consumers are way more likely to spend money with a brand that emotionally connects with them.
This emotional connection between a brand and consumer is a thing of beauty. Of all the brands out there in the world, a conscious choice of purchasing from a particular brand represents something more than just the product or service itself. It represents a connection that you as a unique individual resonates with.
What is Branding?
Branding is ultimately how you define your product or service and the image that you want to associate them with. Branding is about what you will deliver, and through well-executed marketing strategies, you will strengthen your brand image in the hearts of your consumers.
In order to resonate with consumers, your brand must embody some sort of value that it is commonly associated with. Let’s take Google for example, Google’s brand purpose is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google’s brand purpose is especially important in these days and times because we are living in the age of information. Google’s brand purpose can certainly resonate with a large audience in today’s world and has been very consistent in delivering what Google set out to achieve.
We’re in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, and throughout the course of this pandemic, I’m sure we have all been on Google to check the newest updates regarding COVID-19. When you search for the term ‘COVID-19’, this is what the Google search engine result page looks like:
This is a great example of how Google was able to account for our emotion, in this case the need to learn more about the daunting COVID-19 pandemic. Google has created an entire new layout of the search results to help users understand and learn as much as they can about the topic.
All this conscious effort to relay information by Google is precisely why we choose to go to Google every time we need a question answered. And even though we are well aware of the downside of Googling something (giving up our data), we will continue to use Google as a reliable source of information.
This is just an example of successful branding and how Google positioned itself as a symbol of reliable information. There are many other brands with great ideologies that can resonate with people on a deeper level. One of my favorite brands, Nike, is definitely one of those brands that connect with people on an emotional level. Nike’s brand mission is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” And if you have ever seen one of Nike’s advertisements, you would be able to understand the emotions that it is trying to convey.
This Nike ad, to me, is beautiful. It showcases some of the most talented athletes in the world as well as everyday people, creating a sense of unity that every athlete in the world can relate to through sporting imagery. Nike, as we all know, is a sports apparel brand, and they have done a tremendous job to showcase the spirit of competitive sports. The central message that the ad is trying to convey is that we are all the same. We play by the same rules, we compete against one another, we lose some, we win some, and it’s inspiring to see that message come across so seamlessly with what Nike represents as a brand along with their product.
Anyone who has played competitive sports before would have been touched by the messaging of the ad, whether it be a local high school varsity athlete or a retired NBA super-star. This ad elicits the same powerful emotions and at the same time, is on-brand with Nike’s purpose, which is inspiration and innovation in the realm of sports.
Utilizing Emotion in Branding
So how exactly are these brands able to be so successful in conveying their message? Let’s first disregard the fact that Google and Nike are worth tens of billions of dollars and have thousands of people working on these advertisements and executing ideas. All brands started off the same way, trying to find an identity, and those who truly believe in what they set out to become are the ultimate winners.
When Nike first started back in 1971, it was just another sports apparel brand with decent technology that was meant to compete for market share against Adidas and Puma, the sports apparel giants at that time. But over time it was able to build on top of its first campaign, which included Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” back in 1988. Nike eventually solidified its brand image into what it is today, a beacon of inspiration and innovation for all things sports related.
The process of successful branding is not something that happens overnight. It’s a combination of a great product and the ability to elicit powerful emotions from consumers. The process requires a deep understanding of your brand identity, creativity, and relentless consistency. So as a brand, where should you start?
The Power of Storytelling
It’s 2020, people are attracted to brands with a soul, and by that I mean brands with a unique identity, a meaning to the brand rather than just a product or service that can be easily replaced by a competitor. A good story is the foundation of a brand and its ideologies, and the driving force that connects brand with consumer.
iPullRank is an example of building a brand off of a very compelling personal story. The story of our Founder and Managing Director, Mike King, is one of a kind. Mike was a rapper before he became one of the top SEOs in the world, that’s right, a rapper who performs internationally and has a solid fan base. The energy and personality that Mike instilled here at iPullRank is certainly something that is rare in an industry that some may consider… dull.
The iPullRank brand encompasses everything from the energetic must win attitude of musicians to the technical finesse of SEOs. We are building the iPullRank brand on top of Mike’s unique story and we are very successful in doing so. We embody the soul of a creative and will do whatever it takes to wow the world and make a name for ourselves, much like how an up and coming musician would want the world to be able to enjoy his/her/their musical talent.
One of the best examples of how we were able to showcase our unique creativity is through a project that stunned the SEO world. We debuted the first ever fictional SEO movie at MozCon 2020 called Runtime: The 3 Ring Circus of Technical SEO. This production took the SEO community by surprise and we delivered something that has never been done before and we are damn proud of what we were able to accomplish.
This production is a part of our story, and it showcases who we are as a group and our ability to tell our story in a way that is uniquely us. This epic production also ties back to the products and services we offer here at iPullRank as the movie includes 31+ actionable SEO techniques.
We are creators at heart who want to show the world how un-boring SEO can be through our work. And that is iPullRank’s story, a story we want to continue sharing with you until one day, you believe in it as much as we do. And once you make that emotional connection with the iPullRank brand, we would have accomplished what we set out to do, which is to showcase our ability to wow our audiences.
Be Your Authentic Self
Authenticity is rare, and people are starting to get tired of the non-personal, robotic methodologies that still run rampant in the world of digital marketing. Again, it’s 2020, and people are attracted to personality and authenticity. A successful brand has to have a strong personal identity people can relate to. A perfect example of a brand with a deep-seated identity would be Coca-Cola. This is a brand that stuck to its core identity for over 100 years. The playful red and white color scheme and their central theme of spreading happiness to the world has always been what Coca-Cola represents as a brand.
Their every campaign and their every design has been centered around the idea of their true identity of sharing happiness with their consumers. This is a very simple yet emotional ideology that resonated with people for over 100 years. Coca-Cola’s self identity was never lost and I believe they will continue to successfully build upon that identity that is true to the brand.
Brands today also need to establish themselves and be authentic in showing their identity. Consumers nowadays are well aware of the marketing tactics that many companies use and are starting to build immunity to those who are not authentic. This is a big reason why many brands that fail to deliver a personal touch lose to those that are able to deliver what the brand represents and are truthful to following what they set out to be. Authenticity and persistence in following through with the brand’s tone and voice is what separates long term brand success from short term quick wins.
At iPullRank, we strive to bring diversity, youth, and innovation to our organization because these are values that represent who we are as individuals and as a group. We recognize that the diversity we have within our organization is something truly special, especially in an industry that historically lacks diversity.
We want to let people know this is who we really are, and we have been proactively reaching out to people with different backgrounds and experiences to start conversations about different topics. We want to be showered with different perspectives. This is precisely why our Senior Account Executive, Jarrett Thomas, along with the marketing team, launched a podcast series, Rankable, to show our audience who we really are as people, rather than just the work we do for our clients.
Jarrett became an extension of the iPullRank brand by creating his own personal brand. Jarrett is a sales guy at iPullRank from the Bronx, with 2 kids, trying to learn from the best in the industry. By positioning himself as a real person with similar aspirations to many others in the industry, he is able to form authentic relationships with people he connects with, which will then be funneled back to the iPullRank brand.
Our goal is to start real conversations with different people because that is something we hold dear to our identity, our true authentic self. Our Rankable podcast series have been very successful and through this initiative, we were able to successfully bring in more business and expand our reach, just by simply being ourselves and engaging in real conversations.
Focus on You, Not Me
No one enjoys interacting with people who are always focused on me, me, me, and me, let alone connecting with them on an emotional level. As a brand, you should always be thinking about how you can provide value for your customers. There are certainly instances where you should celebrate your victories, but it’s always better to share that with people who helped you achieve this victory, and many times, these people are your customers.
If you want people to connect with your brand, you have to understand your customers better than they know themselves. You have to be upfront and center when your customers need something. This need can come in many different forms, depending on what business you’re in.
At iPullRank, we are experts in SEO and Content Strategy, and we understand that SEO is a subject that many find difficult to understand. We recognize that there is a need for our audience to learn more about the subject, so we are constantly looking for ways to help them out. We provide value with blog content, webinars, e-books, and guides with the sole purpose of educating our audience.
This is a win-win because we will be viewed as a valuable source of knowledge in the minds of our audiences, and our audience will be able to learn the value of SEO and may eventually turn to us for SEO services because of the trust and emotional connection we have established through our content. Providing value to your customer is the best way to establish credibility for your brand and these efforts will go a long way down the buyer’s journey.
This process may take a while and you may not see a substantial return in the short run, but trust me, it’s the long term win you’re looking for. And if you are able to leverage emotions into your marketing process, you will see the benefits and better return in the long run.
Human emotions are very powerful, and it’s something you should prioritize as a brand going forward. The age of buying a pair of shorts from a random store just because you need a pair of shorts is over, and people are becoming more conscious of every purchasing decision they make. By connecting with your audiences emotionally, the odds of them purchasing from you, or at least keeping your brand top of mind will increase tenfold. Here are steps you need to take in order to connect emotionally with your audience:
- Clearly establish your brand purpose: You have to believe what your brand represents in order for others to believe it as well. Establish a strong brand purpose that your audience can relate to and tie it back to the products/services you provide.
- Be consistent with your messaging: People might not register what your brand represents after seeing it once, but they will remember your brand if you continuously show up in their feed. Make sure you launch campaigns that are relevant to your products/services as well as your original brand purpose.
- Always look to win in the long run: Strong emotional branding requires a lot of time and effort. Put in the work to reflect what you want your audience to see and you will reap the benefits in the long run. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of progress in the short run, trust the process.
Of course, it goes without saying that you need a great product to support your emotional branding efforts. Because at the end of the day, no matter how well you position yourself in the hearts of your consumers, it all goes away if your product fails to live up to expectations.
The team at iPullRank knows just about everything there is to know when it comes to SEO & Content Strategy, so if you’re in need of these services, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will bring forth our personality and our identity, as well as the best Organic Search results possible.
Latest posts by Kevin Kuo (see all)
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