Why your brand affinity is vital
I’ve started focusing on brand affinity in the last few years because of my mission to make your brand human. This work with clients means that we pay attention to the core intangibles that make your brand behave with humanity, heart and soul. (These core intangibles are, of course. your brand purpose, values and personality and we’ll come back to these later).
So, what is brand affinity – and how is it different from brand loyalty?
Let’s start with brand loyalty. When I was a young brand manager, I learned that we had two great aims to achieve for our brand:
- Create brand awareness – because if your target audience isn’t aware that your brand exists, they can’t buy your products or services. Over time, this brand awareness grows into brand recognition, which in turn develops into memorability.
- Gain brand loyalty – because loyal customers buy your products and services time and again and are open to buying your new products and services as you launch them. Being loyal is defined as ‘giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution’ (New Oxford Dictionary)
🤔 However, someone can be loyal to your brand without feeling an affinity for it. Here’s a real-life example:
I buy Felix cat food every week because my cats prefer it to Whiskas. (There’s nothing worse than your cat turning away with disdain from your carefully selected flavoursome food). Yet I’m not a fan of Nestle, the ultimate brand owner because of their history and behaviours in the baby milk, bottled water and chocolate sectors.
You may have your own examples of brands you buy regularly because they ‘do the job’ without feeling an emotional connection with them. This shows the strengths of having strong functional benefits – and the weakness in lacking emotional affinity.
Creating emotional connections lies at the heart of your brand affinity
In my book, your brand will deliver products and services that satisfy clients and create strong liking and affection for your brand too. Affinity is defined as ‘a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something’ (New Oxford Dictionary)
When your brand combines these 3 layers of benefits for your core target audience, :
- Functional benefits (works well for me)
- Emotional benefits (makes me feel good) and
- Expressive benefits (confirms my identity)
⭐ You’ll have a more robust and resilient brand with fans that grow with the business. When your target audience feels affinity with your brand, you’ll have the foundations for a fan base, fanatics, ambassadors, referrers and loyalists. These people are willing to try your new products and forgive a mistake. They may also defend your brand when something goes wrong ⭐
How do you develop brand affinity?
The secret lies in creating your authentic brand intangibles – these are your brand purpose, values and personality
I wrote about these 3 key ingredients in this blog
When you get close to your core target audience, understand the transformation they seek – and their internal world – your brand will create a series of emotional connections that strengthen over time. And you’ll achieve brand affinity 😍
In a nutshell, here’s a reminder about your brand purpose, values and personality:
Purpose: apart from making money, the reason your brand exists
When you define your brand purpose, consider:
⭐ Why do you want to make a change in the world?
⭐ Who do you want to make a change for?
⭐ How will it make a difference for your clients?
Values: the moral compass of your business which determine how your brand behaves with others – from clients and employees to suppliers and stakeholders. Shared values attract like-minded people and shape attitudes, behaviour and business culture.
Increasing emphasis is placed on brand values by younger generations and conscious consumers of all ages. They want to work for and buy from brands who live by their values and make decisions accordingly.
When you review your brand values, consider:
⭐ What activities bring your business the most joy, or what you couldn’t live without?
⭐ What gives your business meaning or what do you want to achieve?
⭐ What connects your brand heart-to-heart with your customers?
Read more about brand values and why they matter in this blog
Personality: defined as a set of human characteristics associated with your brand.
Imagine your brand is a person. It will have a distinctive:
⭐ Image and style (visual identity)
⭐ Way of speaking (tone of voice)
⭐ And behave consistently in all activities (based on your brand values)
Over time your brand personality strengthens affinity and standout, recognition and memorability – and contributes to the emotional added-value of the brand. You can read more about shaping your brand personality in this blog.
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When you want some help with your brand…
I’m here! My approach is flexible and collaborative. Whether you need a brand review, some help with your brand strategy or a full rebranding project. Here are some of the ways we can work together:
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