Let’s do a thought experiment. I want you to close your eyes and think about your favorite brands. Don’t imagine what they sell, but imagine what they might be like if they were people. Patagonia would be your crunchy, environmentalist friend, handing out pamphlets outside of Wholefoods. Apple would be super stylish and always up on the latest trends. Meanwhile, Chick-Fil-A would be polite and friendly, the type to attend church on Sunday.
These brands succeed because they have good products but also because they have strong brand stories. Brand awareness is more than just wearing a neon sign and saying, “Look at me world!” Strong brand awareness is about creating an identity that people uniquely associate with your product.
Affiliate partnerships are good for more than just helping with sales. They can also help you establish your brand identity, that’s essential to connect with your customers. Here are ways you can make the most out of your affiliate partnerships.
It’s important to establish a narrative for your company and affiliate partners can help.
To run a successful business, you don’t need to just be a good salesperson, but you also need to be a great storyteller. Brand identity is important to consumers, and all of the most successful brands have one. When establishing your brand, you should think about how your product and your company’s identity relate. You need to tell a story about yourself that is both convincing and consistent with your values. Then you should use your affiliates to help you tell that story.
Once you know your brand and have looked at yourself in that metaphoric mirror, communicate that narrative to your affiliate partners. Bring them on board with what your company is and who you are, and they can help convey that message to your audience. When this works successfully, your affiliate partners should not just be selling your product, but also your identity.
Partner with affiliates who are like-minded.
They say it takes just one bad apple to ruin the bunch. I don’t know much about gardening (you should see my wilting tomato plant), but your affiliates should support your brand’s identity, not conflict. The last thing you want is an identity crisis when it comes to your consumers. Instead, partner with affiliates that will boost your credibility.
For instance, if you are an environmentalist, it wouldn’t make much sense to partner with an oil company. You should partner with influencers whose brands are aligned with your identity. That involves doing your due diligence on research and not jumping at the first partners that come your way.
Content will drive your identity.
A strong brand identity should make your customers want to sell your product themselves. That may sound like hyperbole, but by creating a brand your consumers are passionate about and want to share, they will become unofficial ambassadors and influencers for you. After all, how many times have you seen logo stickers on people’s computers or people wearing tee-shirts promoting a brand? Advertising invades all aspects of our lives, make the most of it.
Get your customers involved by having your affiliates host contests, where people must post a photo or video of them using your product. Then say the content with the most likes will win. People will tap into their friends and other social networks and ask them to vote, which will in turn introduce new people to your brand.
Oftentimes in the business world, people will try to run before they can walk. It’s important to establish your identity first and allow it to influence your affiliate partnerships. Just imagine who you want to be.