Think about your favorite brands – those products or services that you’re loyal to. Maybe you passionately share about your favorite pizza place’s superior sauce or how your SUV is far better than any other on the market – even going so far to give a little nod to other “enlightened” drivers that share in your devotion to the brand. Consider now the causes, be it social, public or health, that you champion on regular basis. Maybe it’s that fundraiser for cancer research that you’ll invite your friends to or the distracted driving video you’ll share on Facebook with a reminder to your friends to be safe. Brand or cause, product or PSA, we all have things that we buy into – those instances where our ownership transcends the transaction of donating money or paying for a service and motivates us to join the tribe of people dedicated to a purpose.


“Buy-in” is a powerful thing because it creates a community of people ready to take action. While it is often influenced by a myriad of experiences from life events to customer service, marketers, communicators and storytellers have a critical part to play in creating brand or cause buy-in. It’s often our role to either begin or strengthen a relationship and then ultimately motivate that individual or group to action. But how do we foster buy-in? Here are a few effective tactics.


Tell Meaningful Stories


Stories have the unique power to help audiences identify with shared traits, experiences, values and perspectives. These elements create the very bedrock of building buy-in and devotion to your brand/cause. For brands, it’s important to go beyond just telling your brand story and include telling the stories of the people impacted by your products and services. These narratives show that you recognize that your true identity is inclusive of your customers and isn’t rooted in a set of product features. For causes, it could be equally as easy to get wrapped up in your organization’s story and forget to focus on the stories of those you serve. Remember for either, storytelling isn’t about overtly selling or soliciting money. It’s about communicating a collective and shared truth that builds lasting relationship.


Opportunities: When looking at creating story content think about a multi-dimensional approach. This could be creating a combination of written stories/blogs, short films/videos and podcasts with interviews, etc.


Champion The Cause


If you’re a non-profit organization, championing a cause is what you do, but if you’re a for-profit brand you might not realize that the majority of consumers want to do business with purpose driven brands. This means that you have to look beyond your product or service and identify the change that you want to make in the world. Once you have that, champion the hell out of it. When your customers see you caring about something they will care about you. For both brands and causes, promoting the work of doing good in the world relies on tooling your audience with the right language, perspective and stories to do the same. Be a channel for whatever impact you and your customers/audience want to make.


Opportunities: Here’s where video can be very powerful. Create short films of impact or commercials/PSAs that provide a punchy, inspiring or thought-provoking message. Give your audience a rally cry or a mantra they can carry with them and share with others.


Promote Participation


Trying to build buy-in while not allowing your audience or customers to participate is impossible. Give them ways to have a voice as a member of the tribe. You don’t solely own your brand or cause any longer. It belongs to the collective community of devotees. People will stay motivated and engaged if they feel as though the leader or primary brand/organization cares about them and takes the time to show appreciation and listen to feedback.


Opportunities: Social media is an obvious place to do some of this, but it has to go beyond sharing videos or posting comments on Facebook. Create events both online and in person that build collaboration and engagement. Hold customer or fan created content contests. Get creative.


Finally, when you get them to “buy-in” make sure that you take care of them. They’re making an investment in you. Return the favor. Be a purpose driven brand or cause, not just because it will bolster your bottom line, but because you can do something that impacts the world around you – most importantly the people you serve.

– David

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