Consumers have always been emotionally connected to brands. When thinking back to our childhoods or to happy times in our lives, there are bound to be certain brand names associated with those memories, such as sharing a Coca-Cola with our father or grandfather on a fishing trip or meeting the person who eventually became your spouse on Facebook.
Brands are woven into the fabric of our society to become a large part of our individual stories, and businesses seeking to integrate their brands into this fabric have some options as to how they approach it. By leveraging certain programs and activation methods, brands can become so memorable that they become part of people’s fond memories and pop culture in general.
Leveraging Established Partnerships
It can be difficult for brands to get a leg-up in brand recognition when they first get started. They are up against other competing brands that have already been established within the community, and may not have yet built up engagement with their target audience to get a foothold in the market.
Whether new or established, brands that struggle with integrating into the community may consider establishing partnerships with more known community-orientated brands. Simply by perusing the average community, it’s easy to see how some brands are more integrated into the fabric of how the community operates — such as local grocery stores or the corner sandwich shop that’s been in operation for decades. By partnering with these community brands, new businesses receive the “stamp of approval” of a brand that is already trusted and has a loyal following.
To this extent, businesses should choose partners whose goals align with their own. The focus should be on providing value to the target market together, with an eventual positive effect of better brand activation for the new business through the partnership.
Establishing these partnerships will not happen overnight, however, so new businesses must reach out to and engage with potential partners authentically. All the while, they must remember that the partnership will need to be mutually beneficial to be ultimately effective.
Retail Presence for Enhanced Brand Trust
Much like partnering with already-trusted brands, establishing a retail presence with a trusted brand can ultimately enhance one’s own brand trust. Placing one’s brand within these trusted locations capitalizes on the established location’s goodwill and loyalty.
For example, many communities have a trusted grocery store that is the “go-to” for most shoppers. These brands may vary by location, but are often well-known and have established trust within the community.
By placing their product within this trusted community space, brands can enhance their own trust and loyalty, even if they are fairly new. For example, a new makeup artist who is attempting to establish a business within the wedding industry can try to partner with the most popular local photographer. This partnership is mutually beneficial because the makeup artistry will enhance the look of the photographer’s photos, and the trust the photographer has built up will spill over to the new makeup artist.
Association with a trusted retailer will automatically lead the consumer to assume that your brand can be trusted in the same way. Customers will naturally link your brand with the partner store’s endorsement, fostering that all-important trust and credibility.
Community Connection and Local Pride
Pride in one’s local community is a part of being a social creature — it’s the human element of community. As we saw during the early days of the pandemic, when local favorites are in dire straits, the community will often step up to help support them. Building a community connection and showcasing one’s local pride is a great way to achieve positive brand activation.
Many brands rely on “localism” to remain relevant and spark loyalty among their target markets. Localism describes the consumer preference for brands and retailers that are geographically close to them. People not only develop loyalty to these brands, but the brands become part of that person’s story.
Every community has its own culture. By tapping into this community culture, brands can forge a connection with that community.
According to a recent consumer insights article from Google, people are beginning to link shopping locally with shopping ethically. The shift is all part of a move toward conscious consumerism that newer brands must be aware of as they move toward brand awareness and activation.
According to studies, 55% of consumers prefer to buy local brands. Having a branding strategy that includes community integration will allow brands to leverage this information, capturing this significant part of the market.
Brands can utilize several strategies to build their communities and get their names and missions recognized, including social media, advertising, and word-of-mouth — all of which play a part in overall brand activation. By leveraging brand partnerships with trusted local retailers, establishing a presence within those retailers, and forging meaningful community connections, brands can be woven into the fabric of the community and become one of those brands that people recall with fondness over and over again.