My son is seven months old. He can’t talk yet but he loves it when you sing familiar songs.
Whether it’s Twinkle Twinkle or or Patty Cake, he can go from crying to laughing in a matter of seconds.
That’s the power of familiarity.
As humans, we are naturally drawn to things we are familiar with. There’s a certain comfort in knowing something enough to become familiar with it.
As an independent marketer, your goal is to build that familiarity into your brand.
So how do we build familiarity with our audience?
The best way to build familiarity with your audience or target market is to be consistent.
There’s a few ways to do this:
- Communicate the same things consistently (i.e. sing the same songs)
- Show up regularly (sing the songs at least once a day)
- Show up often (i.e. sing the songs multiple times a day, every day)
The power in all of this is consistency, repetition, and frequency—which is easier said than done!
That’s why consistency is such a big pillar in any marketing strategy. Without it, you don’t build the familiarity required to keep a figurative smile on the face of your audience.
There’s a certain comfort in knowing what to expect. Our minds can’t handle too much uncertainty. We like closure.
What things should you communicate consistently?
The best way to communicate consistently is to maintain a stance on specific things. Something you feel strongly about.
Having a distinct point of view and talking about it from many different angles becomes your form of familiarity. Your flavour.
Those who agree with and relate to your point of view will keep following you. They will look forward to your deep exploration on a few topics they agree with, too.
So what do you feel strongly enough about that you can turn into your “themes”?
If you think back to your favourite bands, what did you like about them? What made you keep buying their albums over time?
I’d guess, it was their style. You liked their lyrics, instrumentals, and/or their unique persona.
And what about those bands that lost you along the way? Chances are, at least one of two things happened:
- You outgrew their style
- They changed their style
When we like something, we want as much of it as we can get.
When we feel strongly about something, such as a life goal or belief system, we kind of tie our identities to it. It becomes part of how we see ourselves. It says something about us.
So, we seek to validate our worldview. We want to reinforce our beliefs and we do that through repetition.
The repetition brings comfort. Like your favourite song or album from your teenage years, it feels good to know every nook and cranny of it.
We can’t get enough.
The thing about frequency and recency
We naturally trust things or people we see most recently or most frequently. That’s why politicians try to drown out the airwaves with their messaging.
That’s why they pick one or two phrases and say them until they are blue in the face.
The more often we see things, people, ideas, and brands, the more likely we are to trust them. It’s a bias we all have.
So, in order to build in familiarity and create trust with your audience or target market, you have to be consistent and show up frequently. We need to do it in a way that aligns with their beliefs and identity, too.
This is key.
Yes, it helps to be authentic and transparent. It also helps to blend in your story and unique personality.
But the thing that drives the most familiarity is repetition, consistency, and frequency.
So what do you stand for? What ideas can you own? What aspirations do you share with your audience/target market? What can you repeat consistently until you’re blue in the face?
Try it out. Go deep on a few big topics. See what resonates.
Once you find your unique flavour, stick to it. Evolve it if you need to, but do so conservatively. It’s repetition that matters. People stick to a unique flavour they like.
Be everyone’s favourite nostalgic rock band. Keep singing your songs.
P.S. I asked Twitter what their best writing tips were yesterday. There were lots of great replies. Check it out and say hi to me while you’re there!