Corporate Eye

12 Principles to Win People to Your Brand

handshake persuadeHow do you win consumers to your brand?

Winning people to your brand is based significantly on emotion and persuasion. With that in mind, let’s see how Dale Carnegie’s famous 12 principles to win people to your way of thinking apply to branding.

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Brand consistency is critical to brand success. All brand communications and experiences must be consistent with the brand promise or consumers will become confused and potentially push back against the brand. Avoid the push back by exercising brand restraint!

2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong.”

The customer is always right. What do consumers want from your brand? That is what you need to deliver—even if it’s not the same thing that you want.

3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

This principle is particularly relevant in today’s world of social media and online brand reputation.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

This principle reminds me of something a colleague used to always tell me when she entered into negotiations with vendors. She would say, “I always start from a good place.” Never put your audience on the defensive from the start.

5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.

Your brand communications must affirm and support your audience’s wants, needs, and emotions. Try to promote a brand to an audience with irrelevant messages, and your ROI will be nonexistent.

6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Consumers build brands, not companies. Let your target audience experience your brand in the ways they choose and make it their own. That’s how you build brand loyalty and brand advocacy.

7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.

Create marketing messages that tap into consumers’ emotions and allow them to feel like they’re in control of their purchase decisions. Give them something of value, and they’ll choose to purchase your brand without you demanding that they do so.

8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of you.

It’s not about you. All that matters is what consumers want and need from your brand.

9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

Research your consumers and develop buyer personas so you understand what matters to the customers within each market segment. Create messages that are relevant to each segment’s ideas and desires, and your brand marketing results will improve.

10. Appeal to the nobler motives.

Building brand trust is essential to brand growth. Determine your brand’s core values and consistently live them and communicate them in all interactions that consumers could have with your brand.

11. Dramatize your ideas.

Brand storytelling is extremely effective in building emotional connections between consumers and your brand. Leverage social media and content marketing to spread your brand stories.

12. Throw down a challenge.

Use marketing campaigns to engage consumers with your brand. Social media and crowdsourcing open the doors to creative ways to challenge your customers. From challenging consumers to upload pictures using your brand to your Facebook Page to challenging consumers to design their own product packaging for your brand, there are a myriad of ways you can engage consumers in an emotionally challenging way.

Image: Laura Glover

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.