Why customers love brands with a soul
The reason you get on with some people and not others can be difficult to put your finger on. The preferences of particular customer groups for certain brands is also tricky to explain.
Recent economic and social turbulence has led businesses and customers to reprioritise their values and change their behaviours. From becoming more environmentally conscious to making considered purchasing decisions, shifts in attitude mean customers now have big expectations of the businesses they buy from.
Audiences want to see the whites of a brand’s eyes, look deep into their soul and consider if they like what they find before deciding to make a purchase or become a follower. This means brands looking to make strong connections with customers need to bare all. This article will explain why and how brands can find their soulmates.
What is a brand’s soul?
Every soulful brand has a legitimate heritage and backstory that gives customers an insight into the human side of a business. Telling the story of the people, places and facts behind the creation and growth of a company brings particular advantages to a brand.
It makes them unique from competitors, particularly to customers who are local to the story or connect to a business’s individual employees. A history that customers can research and fact-check also gives a business legitimacy and demonstrates their trustworthiness.
What do you believe in? What do you want to achieve? What do you really care about in life? Brands that answer these questions don’t just show customers how aspirational and ambitious they are. They also make their mission and goals clear and transparent for all to see.
By clearly setting out what it will stand by, regardless of any disruption or changes in the market, a brand establishes itself as dependable and constant. This makes customers more likely to choose these brands against those which are constantly shifting their approach.
Alongside a one-minded mission and goal, soulful brands set out their values just as strongly. Whether it’s the way they treat their customers, employees or the environment, these businesses don’t just talk about their values, they live by them.
From customer journeys and experiences to personality traits, brands with souls choose and demonstrate values they genuinely hold in everything they do. This authenticity helps build customers’ confidence, trust and loyalty to a brand.
Why have these brands emerged?
The COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects have led to greater uncertainty. This means businesses need to reassure and build their reputation in customers’ eyes if they’re going to persuade them to buy. So, alongside their high-quality products and services, brands need to:
– Reach out to specific customer groups they can connect with through their shared location, values or history. Location is particularly important, with 41% of UK customers saying they’d prefer to buy from nearby businesses than multi-national brands.
– Respect customers’ decision-making process, as 72% of customers are thinking more carefully about their purchases and 73% say they’d be more willing to buy from brands that make them feel valued.
– Understand and meet customer needs. One Salesforce survey explained that brands can do this by creating a consistent journey, personalising products and services or putting strong data safeguards in place.
– Live their values, particularly if they’re looking to attract younger customers. With 40% prioritising social governance and a third considering environmental commitments when making purchasing decisions.
– Show vulnerability. By being honest about their faults and holding true to their values, brands will connect more directly and strongly with their customers.
By doing this, brands won’t just expose their souls to potential customers but demonstrate that they’re genuine, trustworthy and safe to buy from. In short, brands with soul offer customers certainty in an uncertain world.
What does a brand with a soul look like?
If you’re thinking of baring your business’s soul in its branding, then these examples will show you how to do it effectively.
Eight Lands is an award-winning organic spirits brand from the Speyside region of Scotland. Developed by father Alasdair Locke and stepson Alex Christou, the business’s history and branding revolves around its Glenrinnes Distillery at the foot of a mountain.
Built around the ‘harmony of people, place and product’, each part of this bespoke distillery’s branding emphasises the values of quality taste and sustainable production. From product descriptions to photography and the signature serve recipes on their website, the uniqueness and crafting experience of Eight Lands’ spirits is clear.
This branding is clearly aimed at professional bartenders and quality-focused spirit consumers. They create this appeal through the limited edition ‘Producers’ product selection, with a depth of information about the origins of ingredients and the story of how each spirit is distilled and bottled on the family’s estate.
Sop isn’t just a range of beauty products, it’s part of the Nor–Folk way of life. Developed by Fiona Burrage, photographer and creative director of the Nor–Folk holiday experience and brand, Sop is deeply rooted with this destination in the Norfolk Broads.
This locality is front and centre of the brand’s visual and verbal language. Even the business’s name – ‘Scents of Place’ – is a nod to the meandering rivers, vast sandy beaches and serene spaces of the riverside retreat which inspired this body and haircare range.
Each product’s name originates from a word in the Norfolk dialect and the brand imagery features the region’s landscapes. This deep locality means customers aren’t just buying quality beauty products from Sop. They’re purchasing a small part of this holiday destination’s experience.
The strength of Community Clothing’s brand lies in the story behind its products. As well as offering a high-quality clothing range that’s made to last from ethical and sustainable sources, the business has a deeper social mission.
Working with partner factories in six of the UK’s most deprived areas, it aims to boost employment in the textile industry and retain manufacturing expertise that would otherwise be lost. To date, they have created over 140,000 hours of skilled work across the communities they operate in.
The ‘realness’ of their models in product imagery, the presence of founder Patrick across their marketing and the sharing of real customer reviews put people first across all branding. This shows how genuinely the business holds its community dear and reemphasises the brand’s overall mission.
Find your brand’s soul.
Having worked with a range of brands, we know how to turn a business’s history, values and purpose into a story that connects directly with customers.
A good example of a brand our team helped discover it’s soul was &Evolve.
This independent leadership development company provides clients’ with an in-depth, data-driven solution to leadership and culture development. The team prides itself on supporting businesses with services based on sincerity and an integrity of care towards teams and individuals. The principled client team challenge the norm in the leadership industry with data-led diagnosis, helping their customers realise their potential in a unique and pronounced way.
We helped them capture the essence of their values, and project it through their brand – check out what we did by clicking here
Or, if you want to learn more about our Branding / Rebranding process, click here
Find out how we can uncover your brand’s soul by calling us on 01926 754038 or, drop us an email at email@example.com to arrange an informal chat.