I lived most of my life in Upstate NY, until I decided to move to Atlanta in my mid-thirties to pursue a personal goal of mine: to experience living somewhere else besides my hometown. It had been a goal of mine for almost a decade, and so it was a big deal for me when it finally came to fruition.
Most of my belongings were purged in some fashion, and I came to Atlanta with the remainder of belongings in a rented cargo van. No dreams. No job. No connections. Just a desire to build something new somewhere else. My plan was to freelance design, and I had this naive viewpoint that I’d be able to get work just based on my portfolio and my years of experience. After a short period of time, the reality of being an entrepreneur sunk in and the desire to make more of an impact.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve managed to build a reputation of some kind (albeit small) within this relationship-driven city.
What’s driven the reputation has been connection, community, trust, among other things. Even though I knew about branding from a larger perspective, it was a good learning experience on how much a personal brand can carry you… even if you’re originally from the “corporate world” trying to make waves in a new “entrepreneur world.”
These lessons, even from a personal perspective, can easily be applied to larger business strategy.
[quote Text=”No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” name=”Aesop” ]
Build a community, get to know them personally
When you become part of a community, you gain followers. This is under the assumption that you do good work, or provide a great product/service. When you’re a good business, and you surround yourself with a good community, you’ll make connections that will be mutually beneficial.
Genuinely connect with people
Regardless of whether you are a marketer, a sales person, a customer, or a business owner, you’re still a person. Each person on this planet has habits, feelings, wants, needs, desires, etc. When you genuinely connect with people, you begin to learn details about them that will help you understand them as a customer: how to reach them, what will resonate with them, ect. This will help you filter out the ones that will make your business successful and also the ones that aren’t a good fit. When you do gain those customers, continue to connect with them. This will only reinforce the loyalty that they already have with your brand.
Give your connections something that matters
You need to give to get in today’s business. When you give value, you’re brand will be reinforced as a reputable resource for influencers, potential customers, leads, and/or current customers.
Brands that connect emotionally with their customers are 2x more impactful than other brands that are selling on functional value, and the most connected brands enjoyed 31% greater revenue growth. In fact, 60% of buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are more likely to purchase, even at a higher price, from those brands versus competitors.
It’s worth the effort to connect genuinely to the people that matter the most for your business.
What do you think? What are some personal lessons that you’ve applied to your own brand strategies?
I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.