The first love song I heard made me cry. Well, almost. I could feel the singer’s pain. I felt a connection with them and could relate to what they were expressing. But art and song isn’t the only way to build connection with an audience, a brand can do this, too.
Relatability is about making your audience feel you understand them, what they’re going through, what their problem is, and what they need.
Why brands are focusing on being relatable
There’s a psychology behind relatability. A sense of belonging is a natural human desire. We instinctively yearn to feel like we’re a part of something. We want to feel that others understand our needs, fears, struggles, and desires. This is relatability.
When a brand demonstrates relatability, they communicate two powerful concepts:
1. Empathy – This shows they understand their customers’ needs.
2. Trust – Through trust-building, customers feel they can rely on them to deliver a certain quality of product/customer experience.
This builds connection, which is important because all branding and marketing serves to build connection. Sometimes people think branding and marketing is to get more sales. But more sales is a side-effect of building connection.
A few examples of branding relatability done well
1. Amazon #GetTheYes campaign.
This campaign, focused on Amazon’s Teen audience, was an excellent example of meeting your audience where they are. The campaign focused on visual platforms (Instagram, and Snapchat) during the back-to-school period.
They provided ideas and tools teens could use to create custom artwork. The program spoke directly to the way this demographic socializes and creatively engages in this digital age.
The burger chain located in just six Western states pulls in estimated annual sales over $600 million (2017). Their customers are enamored with the food and the brand overall. And this isn’t just a recent trend. With over 69 years of business, they’re doing something right.
In-N-Out has been so successful in connecting with its customers that they’ve built a unique brand with a cult following. Their customers are not just purchasers, they’re raving ambassadors who’re loyal, ‘die-hard’ fans.
You see, satisfied customers are one thing but raving fans are another. The type of fans that tell their friends and family about how much they love In-N-Out. The fans that go on social media sharing about how good their In-N-Out experience is and why they love the company.
How do they do it?
*Humility factor – Their menu is simple, their pricing is affordable, and their service is friendly-focused. They don’t have any pretenses about them. They embody an everyday/girl or guy next door branding personality.
*Consistency – They haven’t changed much in the years. What they do works, and they don’t see a need to ‘innovate’ or do differently. Sometimes a brand needs to change. Sometimes they need to stay the same. In n out is an example of a brand holding steadfast to standards and branding that is the ultimate reflection of their mission. So they stick to it.
What that means for you and how to bring relatability to your branding
For this to work, you’ve got to know your audience. So, that’s step one: get to know your audience. What are your audience needs, interests, desires? Think not only of aligning with their needs, desires, interests but doing so in a way that shows them that you really ‘get’ them. This takes it from the position of just selling ‘to’ them to relating with them. It becomes more than just monetary transactions and real connection.
Your branding doesn’t have to ring out like a sad love song, but it does need to connect with your audience. Creating relatable messages and interactions build that connection. This is how you build trust and empathy with your prior, current, and potential customers.