Brand connection: What is it, why should businesses care and how can PR help?

brand connection

Brand connection- what is it and why should businesses care?

90% of Singaporeans believe that global brands have the power to encourage compassion and empathy to make the world a better place.  In today’s increasingly polarised landscape, customers are seeking more than just products and services. They yearn for connection: a sense of belonging, shared values, and a brand that fosters positive interactions. Brand connection has become the new currency that drives businesses to build trust, loyalty and top-of-mind recall with their customers. 

Customers, tired of societal divisions, are looking to brands to bridge the gap and foster positive interactions on social media: 80% of customers in Singapore and Hong Kong want brands to connect with them personally, and 70% say that brands have deepened their relationship in the past year through positive online experiences. This shift in consumer expectations presents a powerful opportunity for PR – to help brands connect with stakeholders,  shed the “seller” label and embrace the role of connectors, bridging societal divides and building meaningful connections. This article explores the expanding need for brand connection and discusses strategies brands need to become the connectors customers crave.

The value of building a brand connection 

McKinsey declared community building the “big idea” of the 2020s. This isn’t just about gaining followers; it’s about forming genuine connections. Brands that prioritise fostering communities establish themselves as connectors, not just sellers which is what customers wish for.

Surveys reveal a skyrocketing desire for connection, revealing that connected customers spend 57% more and are 76% more likely to choose a brand they feel a connection with over a competitor.

How can social media help with building brand connections? 

Social media has increased brand communication, giving businesses a direct channel to connect with customers. However, not all companies are capitalising on this opportunity. 

Brands are not as active as they should be: some remain curiously silent on social media and others struggle with reaction time. Nearly 40% of customers anticipate a response to their messages or comments within an hour, yet many companies fail to respond on time. This disconnect can damage brand reputation and leave customers feeling ignored.

brand connection

To avoid this, brands should actively engage on social media and push timely responses. This enables them to create authentic connections with their target audience and not only improves customer satisfaction but also provides opportunities for any feedback and brand advocacy. 

There’s no doubt that social media is powerful but it is not the only route to community building. Blogs, newsletters, and other content formats offer equally potent tools. However, the secret to success lies in value-added creation with every interaction and piece of content.

Brands need to realise that social media is not merely a promotional channel. Simply bombarding your audience with promotional materials won’t cultivate a connected community. Brands that understand this, focus on meaningful conversations. They ask questions, share industry insights, and most importantly, interact authentically.

By prioritising content that speaks to the audience’s needs and interests, companies can act as a “hub” for people who share those values, accomplishments, and goals. This fosters a sense of personal connection and a community of like-minded people. 

What defines a connection between a brand and its customers in Singapore? 

  1. Exceeds needs – These are brands that anticipate consumer needs before they even ask. They bring exceptional quality, design, and performance, setting them apart from the competition. 
  2. Sets trends – These are brands that innovate and use creativity, building up excitement among their customers. 
  3. Builds trust – These brands walk the walk, not just talk the talk. They consistently deliver on their promises, sustain clear communication and a foundation of trust and dependability. 
  4. Shared values – These brands go beyond profit. They’re driven by values, actively supporting causes that resonate with their customers.
  5. Elevates experiences – These brands elevate the everyday. They orchestrate experiences that are not only consistent and engaging but also create lasting memories.
  6. Respects customers – These brands champion their customers. They ensure customers feel valued and respected. This translates into meaningful and personalized engagement. 

How can PR Help build brand connection? 

PR can assist brands in building connected communities by developing a content strategy that goes beyond just promotion. Brands can leverage PR in the following ways: 

Building brand identity and values

PR helps build your brand story. It can create narratives that resonate with your target audience, showcasing your brand’s values, mission, and personality. This story becomes the foundation for building trust and emotional connection.

Likewise, it is vital to showcase your brand’s involvement in social causes, industry initiatives, or charitable endeavours. This demonstrates your commitment to shared values and positions you as a force for good.

Sharing customer stories is another part of your brand identity. By highlighting customer stories and positive customer experiences through testimonials, case studies, or social media content, brands build trust and authenticity. This allows potential customers to connect with your brand on a human level.

Having two-way communication

PR helps brands navigate social media in a consistent manner. This entails responding promptly to comments and messages, answering questions, noting feedback and participating in relevant conversations. This ensures open communication and demonstrates that you value your customers’ voices.

Likewise, organising online or offline events such as webinars, Q&A sessions, or contests establishes a platform for direct interaction, feedback, and community building for your customers. 

To ensure conversion, developing blog posts, articles, or infographics that address your audience’s needs and interests is important. This positions your brand as a thought leader and resource, fostering loyalty and trust.

Crisis management and transparency

At least once in their history, brands deal with a crisis and knowing how to respond adequately to negative feedback is what sets them apart. By addressing concerns transparently and taking responsibility for mistakes, PR can help minimise reputational damage and rebuild trust with customers. During times of crisis or change, if businesses conduct clear communication with customers, they are likely to build trust and showcase to stakeholders that their understanding is appreciated. 

Influencer marketing

Another way to engage customers is through identifying industry experts, social media personalities, or key opinion leaders who align with your brand values and target audience. Collaborations can amplify your message, reach new audiences, and build trust through trusted voices. This is a great way to develop brand connection. 

Media relations

PR efforts can help you land placements in relevant publications or online media outlets. This is relevant as positive press coverage increases brand awareness and credibility, nurturing a positive perception among potential customers.

Brand connection is the way to grow

The key to success lies in understanding your audience and speaking to them as they wish to be spoken to. With the relevant message, delivered through the best channel, and timed just right, brands can craft authentic connections with a customer base that feels deeply valued. This shift in focus, from mass marketing to relationship building has become an important consumer need that is here to stay. Hence, the sooner we understand this, the better we can evolve and succeed. 

If you are unsure about how to leverage brand connection in your overall brand strategy, let us help you become a connection expert. Drop us an email at hello(a)syncpr.co to find out more.

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