Brand belief occurs when customers believe in a brand so much that they stop comparing the brand with any other. They become brand ambassadors and hail the virtues of the brand and its products or services. They are usually price-insensitive and buy new products as soon as they are released and at a higher price point.
Typically customers with brand beliefs align their perception of the brand with their worldview and lifestyle including personality and values. To them, the brand represents how they perceive themselves and their importance in this world. Brands that gain such perception and loyalty are vulnerable to reputation damage which will alienate this segment of the audience quickly.
These type of audiences can be quick to jump ship if their values changes and they believe that the brand does not represent their values anymore. So brands that depend on brand belief as their main silo of loyal customers would have to tread carefully when it comes to changing their core values or supporting causes, events or ideologies that go against their original core values.
Great examples of brands that enjoy brand belief are Nike and Apple.
Customers simply buy the latest Nike Air Max’s or Jordans even if they have a closet full of trainers – some of which have not been worn at all. For them purchasing the latest Nike trainer could be a validation of their self-esteem, worth and achievement. For such customers, price is not really a big issue and usually spend hundreds of dollars every year amassing Nike trainers.
For Apple, true fans stand outside the stores for hours and sometimes overnight to be one of the first to buy the latest version of the iPhone. They upgrade their phones every year even though their phones are in perfect working condition and usually look brand new. However, this kind of brand belief seems to be on the decline for Apple since the death of Steve Jobs. Lack of innovation and inconsistent pricing strategies are pushing Apple down in terms of perception.
To create a brand belief, it is not sufficient to simply have the best products or high-quality offerings. Your brand needs to create the right of perception that aligns with the worldview of your audience. It needs to be built from the ground up and it should be laser-focused.
To make sure your customers retain brand belief, take great care with your social media marketing. Getting online with out a brand strategy that includes a robust messaging strategy can lead to disaster. Your brand and messaging strategy would work as guidelines and all marketing messages should align with them. Since the strategies are based on your core values and other pillars derived from understanding your audience, the chance of deviating from the path that led to brand belief will be minimized.
So how do you gain brand belief in the first place?
Telling the right brand stories is the cornerstone of creating brand belief. People consume stories readily and understand them far faster than promotional and advertising messages. These could come later but you need to start out with creating the right kind of brand stories.
Typically these stories are not product or feature stories. They are emotional stories that align with your target audience world views.