Chances are, you have some pretty deep attachments and love for certain brands.  Think about your clothes, your car, your favorite restaurant, or even your favorite hotel.  Why do you love these particular brands?  What makes you their loyal customer?

Effectively building your business requires that you build a brand and a following, too. To do that, you first need to understand that your brand is not your mission statement.  Rather, it’s the living, breathing essence behind your products and services, that thing that gives people “all the feels” when they think about your company and what it provides.

Over the years, I’ve found that the most successful brands, the ones with the fiercest followings, do 3 things that consistently boost their brand images.  When working with my own clients, I recommend they do the same.

1. Be authentic

Authenticity is a marketing buzzword, but with good reason: It’s what clients want.  Authenticity means honesty, with no pretending, no falsehoods, no saying your brand is something that it isn’t, or stands for something that it doesn’t.  Authenticity is generated on a daily basis when your company provides a product or service that no one else does.  So don’t aim to make up stories about what makes you special, or aim to be like your competitor (IBM never tried to be Apple).  Just get out there and do what you do best, and be sure to let your own personality shine through.

2. Offer value

Building a beloved brand requires that you offer value to your clients, and not just by providing your goods and services at the lowest cost around. Providing value to clients means that you first consider what’s important to your target audience, design your products and/or services to fill those needs, and then provide a pleasant, memorable customer experience that keeps your audience coming back time and again.

Sam’s Club recently introduced an app that allows customers to scan items using their smartphones as they shop, pay through the app, and show the virtual receipt at the door, allowing customers to bypass the often frustrating long lines at checkout.  Granted, that’s high tech stuff that smaller businesses likely can’t do, but it’s a fantastic example of a company building a service that directly meets expressed client desires for a faster shopping experience.

3. Connect with your audience.

For your brand to be loved, customers must feel like they connect with it, like your products and services were made just for them. The best way to accomplish this is to consistently get feedback from your customers on what they want and don’t want, and build your products and services around their expressed desires, not what you think they want. Surveys, customer comment cards, website feedback, and the like can provide you the necessary information to address your customers’ desires.  A strong social media presence is also key for connecting with customers.

Brand loyalty is a powerful thing.  It keeps your customers coming back even when your competitors offer a lower price.  What are doing to build a brand that people love?