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  • Writer's pictureNour Boustani


Lovable brands are products of well-thought-out customer experiences.

As marketers and entrepreneurs, we care about building likable businesses because they are marketable and easy to sell.

I work hard with clients to make their brand lovable because it's cost-efficient.

In business, there are three different methods to increase the bottom line.

  1. Attract new customers.

  2. Increase the average value of a purchase.

  3. Increase the frequency of the purchase.

While attracting new customers might sound exciting, it’s extremely expensive for a small business.

However, if a small brand can keep customers buying from their business repeatedly and visiting their store more frequently, in that case, they can multiply their marketing return without increasing their advertising budget.

Most newbie entrepreneurs I met are short-term thinkers with building their businesses; they only think in terms of a single transaction per customer instead of developing a relationship with loyal clients and increasing their lifetime value and spending amount.

Creating a likable brand is more an art than a science; it requires learning many soft skills such as patience, empathy, listening, observing, forgiving, supporting, and wisdom.

You must be excellent at communicating, dealing with, and working with people.

You should also be good at spotting different ideas from different places, seeing what works and what does not, what people like and don't, and being able to take those ideas, adjust them and apply them to your business.

It's difficult for entrepreneurs to compete only on innovation, quality, price, distribution, or marketing; as a small business with a limited budget, you can not afford to compete on things that require a fat bank account.

A small business can compete on three things; those things large brands can not adjust at speed as a small business can do.

  • A personalized brand experience.

  • Product personalization.

  • A deep relationship with the customer.

While product personalization would be an exciting topic to discuss, this article will only discuss brand experience, developing a deep relationship with the customer, and what makes a brand likable.

The fundamentals of what makes a brand lovable are pretty simple to grasp but difficult to apply if you don't have the proper process in place.

How do likable brands differ from dislikable ones:

  1. They offer a unique product with a personality instead of serving a boring commodity solution.

  2. They offer theme-based experiences instead of looking generic.

  3. They focus on humorous interaction instead of speaking with a dull voice or acting like a corporate.

  4. They are reasonable, instead of throwing all risks at the customer.

  5. They are trustworthy, instead of over-promising and under-delivering.

  6. They are simple to understand, instead of being manipulative and overly complicated.

  7. They act from a place of empathy instead of being self-centered and ego-driven.

  8. They respect people's money and time instead of being fishy and unorganized.

  9. They provide value and help instead of solely focusing on promotions and sales.

  10. They associate and partner with social and cultural causes.

  11. They respect and support diverse ethnic groups and human rights.

  12. They show expertise instead of lacking depth and knowledge.

1. Offer a unique product with a personality instead of serving a boring commodity solution.

Every brand starts with a product or a service; for your business to be lovable, it needs to offer attractive products that differ from what the market offers.

As an entrepreneur, you must engineer the marketability of your brand within the product, making it easy to spread through word of mouth without big spending on marketing.

People are always curious about new things that make them look and feel cute, beautiful, intelligent, weird, or different.

You can develop such products through characters, themes, and styling.

Search on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google for:

  • Most Instagrammable products. | Most Instagrammable ice cream.

  • Most unique products. | Most unique burgers.

  • Product in a specific place. | Coffee in Tokyo.

  • Product with a specific theme. | Cute Cake.

The primary goal isn't only to find a product similar to your product category but also to pull different ideas from different inspirations and combine them to create something that looks and feels unique.

2. Offer theme-based experiences instead of looking generic.

Likable brands focus on the overall experience rather than only selling the product.

They understand that to get more of the customer's money, consumers have to interact with the brand and spend more time with it than with other brands.

Nowadays, many people visit stores, coffee shops, and restaurants not only because they need to feed themselves but also to try new experiences and have a pleasurable time.

Experience has to do with the overall feeling of your business and how it makes the customer feel; that includes your decorations, your atmosphere, your selling process, your customer's service, your after-sales service, and how you handle objections.

Tell yourself; I want my customers when they visit my brand to feel…………. (complete the sentence).

Let this question make you think about the entire customers' experience from beginning to end, the whole look, and the feeling of your brand.

Once you get clear on the big picture, break it down into small steps and micro experiences, then design each one individually to work together under the overall picture.

You can achieve unique experiences through different themes, styles, cultures, fantasies, and genres combined with amazing products; this is something people will always like to try, capture, and share!

Search on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google for:

  • Most Instagrammble Places. | Most Instagrammble coffee shops.

  • Store in a specific culture or place. | Coffee shop in Tokyo.

  • Store with a specific theme. | Bohemian Cafe.

It's not about spending tons of money on developing something fancy; it's about creating something unique and marketable, something people will take photos of and share online.

3. It focuses on humorous interaction instead of speaking with a dull voice.

Innovative brands understand that the fastest way to win a customer's heart is through humor; we all like to chill out, so why all the seriousness in business?

Keep in mind that the goal of a business is to serve a customer and make a profit. Therefore, humor is not a priority and should never be overly exaggerated.

What matters is that your brand has a voice and a character; this archetype can be nerdy, wise, funny, or creative; think of your brand like a superstar actor; she is charismatic and exciting, and being dull is her biggest enemy.

Study brands such as the Dollar shave club, PooPourri, and m&m's and observe how they took ordinary products and built awkward, funny, and engaging stories around them.

4. Reasonable, instead of throwing all risks at the customer.

Wise entrepreneurs are generous; they understand common sense; they realize that business is a matter of a transaction; they also appreciate that the customer is taking a bet and risk on their product in every deal.

Reasonable business owners take the risk off the customer's shoulders and instead force it on their competition; they always look for and act on behalf of the clients' best interest.

This mindset means better quality products, affordable prices, and better customer experience than the competition.

Savvy entrepreneurs understand people love to buy a complete package deal that makes them feel intelligent, beautiful, and confident without taking the risk of feeling ripped off, forced into an agreement or financially pressured.

This act will position the brand as a trusted and friendly partner rather than a greedy business.

5. Trustworthy, instead of over-promising and under-delivering.

Most businesses cannot get customers' loyalty because they manipulate people's expectations; they advertise for some sort of fake image and then offer something different.

People are visual creatures and set expectations on what they think they see.

Poor businesses are desperate to sell their products and services; they apply tons of visual "make-up" to their offering to make it more attractive without being clear on what they offer.

This act will backfire, and the customer will flag them as scams for the rest of their existence.

Improve your product quality, then be clear and visually bold about what you offer and what customers get for their money.

6. Have empathy instead of being self-centered and ego-driven.

Lovable brands understand that it's all about serving the customer.

They focus on delivering value to the customer instead of only focusing on promoting their products.

This mindset means they have to invest more in product quality, customer service, and support, and a lot more in developing educational content to improve their clients' lives to better outcomes.

Study how brands such as Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Nivea UK build a massive social following on platforms such as YouTube through consistent delivery of educational content and value around beauty.

7. Associated and partnered with a social cause.

Consumers have become more educated, sophisticated, and socially connected; they care more about sustainability, human and animal rights, and the environment.

Connecting your brand with a social cause will make your brand more purposeful and likable in the eyes of the customers who share the same purpose as your business.

Customers' service and experience

Your customers don't care about all the hard work that goes in the background behind running your business; to them, the formula is pretty straightforward.

Fulfill specific wants + Unique experience + Affordable price = Pleasant expected and desired outcome.

For the above formula to work out, two aspects you need to nail down perfectly:

  • Customers service

  • Customers Experience

How to make customer service work well?

1. Be kind and polite to your staff.

Who comes first, customers or staff members? Don't tell me it's customers; if you don't treat your staff right, how do you expect them to care and treat your customers right?

You run your own business because you don't like to work for someone else.

You dislike how other managers treat you as an employee, so why do you treat your staff the way you ran away from in your previous experience? Treat your people nicely, and they have no choice but to treat your customers nicely.

2. Pick the kindest person to serve customers.

Dealing with people needs people's skills; it requires a large amount of humility, patience, kindness, listening skills, being optimistic, and an engaging personality; putting the right staff in the right place is essential.

You should train everyone who deals with a customer, including the sales team, receptionist, and servers, to serve a customer professionally with the right attitude and manners.

3. Give your staff a small portion of your business.

When you give a portion of your profit and business to your staff, they feel like they are working and investing in their own business, not only yours.

Watch the profit and see how Marcus Lemonis fixes broken companies by offering a small portion of the business to those working in the company.

In business, you create a large pie, take a slice, and offer others a piece; that's how you grow big.

2. Pick the kindest person to serve customers.

Dealing with people needs people's skills; it requires a large amount of humility, patience, kindness, listening skills, being optimistic, and an engaging personality; putting the right staff in the right place is essential.

You should train everyone who deals with a customer, including the sales team, receptionist, and servers, to serve a customer professionally with the right attitude and manners.

3. Give your staff a small portion of your business.

When you give a portion of your profit and business to your staff, they feel like they are working and investing in their own business, not only yours.

Watch the profit and see how Marcus Lemonis fixes broken companies by offering a small portion of the business to those working in the company.

In business, you create a large pie, take a slice, and offer others a piece; that's how you grow big.

4. Make customer service excellence non-negotiable.

You can afford to forgive employees when they mess things up for many reasons. Customer service shouldn't be one of them.

Some staff might be moody, rude, depressed, and hostile.

Those staff types don't belong on the customer's service or sales floor; it's not the customer's responsibility to deal with poor behavior; people spend money to enjoy, not to get pissed off.

5. Set guidelines, not rules.

Serving your customers should be the priority of your business; if you don't, then your competitors will, and not only that, but an angry customer might damage your brand's image and send you to bankruptcy.

Not every customer is a great customer; not every customer is a customer you can satisfy, and not every customer cares about your values, hard work, work ethics, life stories, and problems.

Customers care about one thing, and one thing only: themselves and the value they get for what they pay, period!

No need to dramatize, overcomplicate, bitch, or complain about it; understand it and accept it; it's not personal; it's just life.

Richard Branson Reveals His Customer Service Secrets | Forbes

When developing your brand, focus on:

1. Attract the right customers.

If you believe you deliver a substantial business, but attract the wrong type of customers, then the problem relies on your business positioning.

You are sending the wrong message that attracts the wrong type of people.

I will talk about how to solve this issue in a future article.

2. Find the fastest way to build trust between the customer and your business; How do you do that?

Smile and greet your customers: Don't underestimate the power of positive behaviors in customer service; people face poor attitudes from everywhere, at work, at home, at other stores, and so on.

If there is an issue with the product, understand its purpose kindly, and offer an exchange, return or refund as they wish.

3. Serve from a place of hospitality.

Don't be greedy. Have you ever been to a restaurant, and the owner was generous enough to add a few extra free stuff here and there? How nice was that?

Contrast that with a restaurant where you may not touch a thing, and they try to squeeze every penny out of your pocket; which one would you visit again?

4. Always be sensitive to customers' feelings.

There is one thing I'm pretty sure that almost most of the newbie entrepreneurs or staff dismiss.

Do you know that almost 33.3% to 50% of the population is introverted? What does that mean to you as a business owner?

It means that you are dealing with an emotionally sensitive group of people; one mistake with your attitude, one stupid joke, one wrong facial expression, or being sloppy, and the customer is gone forever; why?

Because this group of people, including myself, cares about the entire experience every time. I don't care how nice you were in the past; our last interaction matters the most.

Most of the customer service staff or small business owners are friendly people; the problem is that the human brain shuts down under long working hours and becomes exhausted.

Always make whoever interacts with the customer get enough rest and be in their best mood.

5. Don't assume; ask for permission.

Throughout my life, I have been to different places, interacted with different cultures, and dealt with different customers and business owners; in my job, people usually hire me to observe other shoppers' behaviors.

I have noticed one thing most business owners or staff miss: people are different.

There are introverts, extroverts, poor, wealthy, open-minded, close-minded, optimistic, pessimistic, and the list goes on and on.

This variety means that no single approach, guidebook, or attitude fits it all; your job is to be good at reading people and then adjusting your behavior and attitude to match and serve that customer.

Customer service and brand experience are more than just hiring a couple of students to do the work; it's about hiring the right employee who can read people's emotions and adjust accordingly.

6. Don't argue with your customers.

The customer is not always right; I get it, but that is not the point; most customers think they are right; it's not what you think; it's how they feel and believe about the situation.

A customer mindset is pretty simple. I pay you money, and you give me what I want as fast as I want. It's not irrational, but it fits their logic.

Acknowledge their needs, apologize even if you were right, and give them a refund or an extra service. Please don't get into an argument; it does not worth it.

When you are arguing with a customer, you are grabbing the attention of the surrounding customers. People at your store will talk, and some will start taking videos and posting all over the place; you don't want to get into that.

Instead, you want the conversation to be like this, "Wow.. that customer was pretty unreasonable, but those staff handled it with professionalism,". That is a better story.

7. Stop treating customers as them being dumb.

Please don't lie to your customers and don't rip them off. Please don't talk to them like they are not smart enough to understand your solution.

When you have this mindset toward your customers, it will show up in your attitude while you are selling to them; if you have a great idea, that does not mean they must believe you or buy it.

8. Have patience.

Customers are people, and people typically are fussy when making up their minds or deciding about spending money.

I know you want to grab that $100 bill, but you have to be gentle and patient; once you become impatient, you show a lack of security, which might scare customers off or make a wrong first impression that will make you lose the sale.

9. Build it right, and they will come.

This idea applies to offline stores; why do people attend church? Mosque? Or a Temple? The church does not ask people to come, yet people go; those temples are generous; they don't force you to pay a thing or move you to come, but most believers want to be there.

You go there and sit; you meet people, talk, sing, cry, relax, ask for forgiveness, and more; they welcome people from all religions and offer you all that at no pressure or cost unless you feel obligated to do so.

Let me ask you a question, does Starbucks force you to buy a cup of coffee when you sit at their store? Does McDonald's force you to buy a burger? Does the Apple store force you to buy an iPhone?

You can sit there and play all day long, and no one would bother you. Still, once you decide to buy, it's a premium price, that is reciprocity, liking, and social proof at their core, and that's why they can keep their customers coming back to their store repeatedly for the experience.

Inside The Apple Store | Dubai

10. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Ordinary people are simple; marketers and business owners make things complicated, overthink, over-analyze, and over-display information.

The human brain is a pretty lazy machine; show me what it's, how I can benefit from it, and then tell me how much I should pay.

Make it clear and easy to navigate through your website and store, and only feed customers with the information to make a purchase.

Clear and bold images, clear product benefits description, clear offer, explicit risk-free guarantee and returns policy, straightforward frequently asked questions, clear shipping policy, clear contact information, and direct call to action.

11. Answer questions, concerns, and reviews.

Whenever a customer sends a message to your email address, leaves a comment on social media, or calls you, they are probably facing a specific problem and expecting an answer within 24 hours.

Always keep a frequently asked question on your product and support pages.

Don't let their comments or questions hang there without apparent answers.

Educate and give your staff permission to take complete responsibility for caring for the customers and making your product suitable for them.

12. Ask for and accept feedback.

Different people have different tastes. Some will like your stuff, and some won't. Some will buy it and thank you, and some will buy it and humiliate you. Don't take it personally; chill out and take it easy; it's okay if some people don't like your solution; that means it's not for them.

When you ask your customers for feedback, they will sense that you care about them and are working hard to improve the overall experience.

13. Send handwritten greeting cards or small gifts.

Many businesses I work with like to keep working with me because I remember them with a bouquet or a handwritten gift card on their birthday.

They don't expect it, but I'm looking for an edge to nurture the relationship.

Take care of your customers and be generous with them; as a small business, you can only compete on experience and nothing else.


If you get only one thing out of this conversation, it's that humans are emotional creatures.

The lifeblood of a profitable business is about building relationships and interaction with people; it does not matter if your business is online or offline; you still have to treat people right.

You can have an average restaurant, but if people are happy eating at your place, they will come all day long.

If you have the most fantastic restaurant in town, but if people don't like how you treat them, you won't see them return or refer friends to your business. It's that simple!

Most customers don't care about being super delighted, as you might think; they want to get something relevant to their expectations and desired outcome.

If you do an extra great job, that's great; if not, it's okay, but don't mistreat or under-serve them, regardless of their nationality, ethnic group, sexual orientation, education background, wealth status, religion, or skin color.

Treat all customers with complete attention, kindness, and respect without ripping them off; I bet you also enjoy that level of treatment yourself.

It’s not a lot to ask if someone will take the risk and try your solution, don’t you think?

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