Every audience has favorite brands – the companies and products they return to on a regular basis, simply because the brand offers reliable, high quality products and exemplary customer service.  In response, savvy brand marketers have learned that offering a positive user-experience is crucial.

However, brands don’t ascend to “preferred” status due to products and support alone. Manufacturers and their distribution partners must deliver more than mere features and benefits. Instead, they must create an authentic connection with their customers… while also consistently innovating and challenging themselves to meet (and exceed) changing expectations and unanswered demands.

Making the Connection

The best building products aim constantly to improve their brand experience to make their audiences – well, dare we say it – fall in love with them. Casual relationships don’t cut it.

These brands forge long term relationships. And go the extra mile to continually develop and nurture customers, prospects and influencers. They make a concerted effort to deeply understand and actively address their audiences’ pain points – not just once but over and over again.

And they are dedicated to care and commitment for inspiring referrals and brand advocacy. As they have learned that only customers who feel a strong connection with a brand… are likely to recommend it to others.

Going a Step Beyond

While connection is certainly a priority, it won’t – on its own – create lasting brand affinity. Building product brands must strive to take relationships a step further. And fulfill customers’ needs in a direction that can’t be found elsewhere. To be truly loved, brands must offer building owners and facilities managers products and solutions… that they may not even be aware they need.

It’s important to keep in mind that customer connection, brand growth and innovation aren’t mutually exclusive strategies. Be keenly aware that when a brand offers helpful new products and solutions – but doesn’t establish a meaningful connection with its customers – it may quickly lose those customers once a competing brand develops a “shinier” product or solution. Are you keeping your marriage alive? Or taking the relationship for granted? Despite feeling affection for a brand, customers who don’t perceive that their brand is “keeping up” are likely to be tempted at some point to seek out alternatives, that are more progressive.

So, what are some marketing strategies that building product marketers can implement to build brands that audiences will love? Following are five campaign themes that can make the difference between brands that inspire meaningful consumer connections… and those that will be viewed as merely a passing fancy.

Stand for something. The best brands have an opinion. A point of view or – even more powerful – a mission. And a growing number of companies now will be using business as a force to do good. In other words, their purpose extends beyond profit. These building product brands don’t promote “work to live” but rather “live to work.” And strive to make a difference in the process.

Make you feel. The brands audiences are drawn to most, tend to evoke emotions that encourage lasting bonds. Whether it’s through the way they communicate, their products or the customer experience they deliver… these brands inject a healthy dose of love and thoughtfulness into their products and services.

Have a relatable story. Perhaps it’s the origin story of the company or interesting backgrounds of key associates. The fact is, audiences are drawn to brands whose stories  resonate with them – it’s human nature to want to connect with brands that offer a window into their unique world and let us “get to know” the individuals. Not just the company.

Keep moving. Brands with staying power continually reinvent themselves. Staying relevant as they grow. And maturing, while remaining true to their central identity. They realize that being aligned to core values can sometimes mean having to make tough decisions… evolving as they must to move the brand forward. They resist doing things “the way we have always done” if that no longer serves today’s environment.

Think long-game. Purpose-driven brands don’t focus on short-term wins to gain more customers or sales. Instead, they play the long game – and take into consideration the lifetime value of a customer – when making marketing decisions.

It’s simple really… customers will remain loyal to the brands they feel invested in. And who invest in them.

After all, that’s what healthy, committed relationships are all about.