by Vinnie Balistreri
My first payday was spent 2 hours after I got paid. I worked a state fair for 13 days, frying vegetables, and on the last day the owner of the stand slapped $320, cash, in my hand. I walked to my favorite arcade/game store, a store I loved, and I blew it all.
While my limited 15 year old mind didn’t have a vast array of interest - I hadn’t thought about a savings account or if I would need money for a car in a year - I did think: what is the greatest place on earth I can spend my money?
Your brand needs to be that greatest place on earth. Imagine if every visitor to your site thought “I want to own part of this because this is the greatest company I’ve ever seen.” Let’s break down how to make your greatness shine.
I had previously interacted with the game store’s brand, I trusted that I was going to get delivered what was promised. In today’s world this kind of trust doesn’t need to be built face to face. More often it’s built screen to screen. The content on your website and your activity on social media is the foundation for customers wanting you.
2. Similar Values
The game store was interested in having fun and having a place to have fun, and I was out looking for both. Customers shop from sites similar to them. TOMS shoes were initially bought because people needed shoes and wanted a way to be charitable. Value alignment also leads to repeat business. If a customer can turn to a company that they know shares their beliefs, they’re more likely to return there later.
3. Engagement & Interaction
The final piece of the puzzle is the most essential. When I entered the game store, I was always greeted and if I ever had a question is was always answered. I loved being there because they were welcoming. Retailers hire greeter to make its customers feel welcome, the same way Apple has its heavenly Genius Bar, to solve its customer problems in a cool way - very on brand. The reason you need to be socially active online is to help customers see you as a company with open arms.
I have no regrets about how I spent that first paycheck. It was short lived but worth it. I was spending at a company I felt to be worthwhile. That feeling is what you need to achieve, that feeling is why branding is important.