Too many entrepreneurs start out thinking that a great idea, an ad campaign, and a relatable social media presence is all they need to be successful, only to wonder why their business isn’t turning a profit.
What these entrepreneurs fail to realize is just how important the human experience is to building a lucrative business. Products don’t “speak for themselves” anymore — today’s consumers are just as intentional about the businesses they buy from as they are the things they’re buying.
As an entrepreneur, your business is an extension of yourself. Your brand should reflect what is important to you and your customers.
Moral of the story: your business needs heart. Brand heart.
A brand’s heart is the human aspect of a brand, an amalgamation of all of the aspects of your business that appeal to the emotional needs of your customers — your brand’s vision, mission, purpose, values, commitments, and voice. These things define who your business is, rather than what it’s selling.
Cultivating a strong brand heart shows consumers that your business cares about more than just making a sale. Businesses that put human need at the core of their branding strategy have seen great success, connecting with consumers on an emotional level, rather than just a transactional one.
Airbnb is a great example of a company that has created a strong brand heart, using the brand’s purpose and values to identify with their consumers and drive decision-making.
Airbnb’s purpose, “Airbnb and its community want to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere”, taps into the human need of community and belonging, which is only furthered by their vision to “belong anywhere”. Finally, their mission is: “to live in a world where one day you can feel like you’re home anywhere, and not in a home, but truly home, where you belong.”
Together, these statements show consumers that Airbnb is more than just an alternative to a cheap hotel. Instead, the company has a greater goal to fulfill our innate human need to belong to something greater than ourselves — all without sounding like corporate shills.
Airbnb believed in their purpose, incorporating it into every fiber of their brand, so customers did, too. Seemingly overnight, Airbnb users metamorphosed from simply connecting with the app to find a place to stay, to connecting with the world and experiencing community.
The strengthening of Airbnb’s brand heart marked a new era for the company, one where now-loyal customers were motivated to spend because they felt seen and understood by the brand.
When you can identify with consumers on an emotional level and show them that there is more to your business than just a dollar sign, customers feel good about buying into your brand. Cultivating a strong brand heart is not easy — people will see right through you if your brand doesn’t truly believe in the things it stands for — but it is worth it.