On the importance of sharing your brand beliefs
This week, I met a brilliant entrepreneur who is positively brimming with enthusiasm for his fledgling farming business. He's currently farming around 120 acres of Kentish land with an expanding flock of Romney lamb, with Tamworth pigs and Longhorn cattle coming soon. He's raising these animals for meat, in a way which is the total opposite of the fast-and-forced methods that big commercial farms use.
Tom believes in farming using traditional, sustainable farming methods. He believes in allowing farming cycles to run as nature intended, which means that his animals are allowed to mature slowly at their own pace, rather than being pumped full of feed that's been engineered to create rapid growth. He believes in caring for and respecting his animals - his animals lead a completely free range lifestyle in as natural an environment as possible. And when the time comes, he uses a local family run abbatoir which he knows and trusts. The aim of his business is to offer consumers an alternative to high volume farming - a kinder way of farming that's totally transparent at every level. Clearly, anyone who is looking for a more trustworthy meat producer will jump at the chance to buy from Tom. If you believe in animal welfare, you believe that animals should be raised properly and naturally, and if you believe in buying locally raised produce, this is exactly the sort of business you'd love.
Now, had I not shared all of that with you and simply told you that Tom is setting up a business selling meat, it'd have absolutely none of the same appeal. But by sharing the core beliefs and mission behind this brand, it has completely come alive.
When you share what you believe, you bring your mission to life. You create something relateable, engaging and meaningful. When brands share what they believe, and when we believe the same thing, we feel an affinity to them that money can't buy. We feel a connection that outweighs the impact of any clever marketing campaign, because it hits our hearts rather than our heads. This feeling of emotional connection is controlled by the limbic system, the part of our brain that is responsible for controlling emotions, memories and arousal.
You know how we talk about making a decision with our heart, not our head? If the head is in charge of facts and figures - the boring, logical stuff - the heart is actually the limbic part of our brain leaping into action. It's extremely powerful in decision making - so much so that if we feel an emotional connection with something, we're more likely to follow that path rather than a more logical one.
You'll recognise this principle: how many times have you set out to hire someone, and having done your research you've found two options: one which is closer to you, available to work with you right now and offers a lower price while the other is further away, has a waiting list and is more expensive... but you feel such a connection with them that you have to have them, despite the cost and inconvenience?
Emotional connections don't happen unless you get confident about sharing what you believe. And this is why you should be weaving your story, your beliefs and your mission into as much of your marketing as possible. You don't have to preach, but you should be sharing your values and letting people know why you do what you do. Because when your people realise what a connection they share with you, your business will stand head and shoulders above the competition.