In the past, branding meant being consistent in what your company stood for and communicating that message in a unique way. We have seen many examples of this from the usual suspects, brand leaders Nike, Apple as well as a host of one-time hits that seem to grab loads of attention and take the world by storm, if only for a moment.
The truth is, it is not just about getting attention, as branding is much more than creating noise for the sake of being noticed. The facts are, it is what happens after you get noticed that counts. I believe the key to branding is to figure out how to introduce a product to the customer and create an emotional attachment.
If this reminds you of personal relationships, then you would be correct!
Creating a relationship in business requires many of the same characteristics of courting your partner… In fact, I would go as far as to say that not only do I think it’s a worthy comparison, I believe they’re nearly identical!
What Makes Humans Tick?
Welcome to your new company called “Human, Inc.” Why such a name? Because you are now in the human discovery business, and your focus is to understand what makes humans tick. In order to do that, you have to switch from being a broadcaster to a communicator. It’s not about what you say but rather about how you say it in a way that relates to the customer.
Just like our personal relationships thrive on understanding what’s at the core of our significant other, business relationships thrive on understanding what’s at the core of our customers.
The Seat of Emotion
Your expedition should start and focus on the ‘Wants’ not the ‘Needs’ because frankly speaking, people talk about what they want – which usually has an emotional edge. As you make your way through all the different complexities of the human psyche, what appears is a molten pit of emotions at the core.
You may be thinking, ‘It is hard enough to deal with emotions on a personal level, do I really have to deal with emotions in business too?’ The answer is a resounding ‘YES’!!
Understand the spirit of your company in relation to the customer – that’s the final destination.
Reverse Engineering Emotions
I assume you’ve heard of reverse engineering a product, but emotions? Absolutely, although it is no easy task, but then again I didn’t say it was going to be easy!
Once you understand what’s going on at the core of your customer, you now have to understand how your company fits into their lives – not your product, but YOU the brand!
To get people engaged and in a take-action state, you have to stir the pot of emotion. And how you sprinkle your company in that pot, will determine if a relationship will manifest itself.
An Immersive Relationship With The Customer
The best way to learn a new language is to live in the place that speaks the language. Understanding your customer is no different. Your relationship has to be an immersive one – deep customer understanding.
When Abercrombie & Fitch got started, the founders lived on a college campus for an entire semester. Their objective was to have an intimate knowledge of what the college kids preferences were. This ranged from what they preferred to wear to class, off-campus, studying and parties.
They took over 10,000 pictures of students in their everyday life. They had them pinned all over the walls in their house.
When it came down to actually creating the A&F brand, they were armed with an authentic picture of what it would look like and visuals that went along with it. That level of customer understanding created a multi-billion dollar brand!
Pull Then Push
Start with pulling then pushing. The objective is to pull (discover) as much out about what the customer’s challenges are, their feelings, emotions and opinions.
These are the little things people go through everyday.
So now comes the push – your message of shared values that align with the customer’s values.
If done authentically, your products will effortlessly become part of your customer’s lives.
Lastly, these are some of the touch-points you should hear and observe from the perspective of the customer;
“Keep Me on Top of My Life”
“Give Me Something That Changes My Life”
“ Teach Me Something”
“Help Me Make The Most of My Self”
“Get Me To Act”
“Help Me Become What I Can Be”
Feelings are hard, but as you know with most relationships, personal or business, it’s not about LIKE, it’s about LOVE.! You hear it everyday – I love that restaurant, I love my phone, I love that show – so to get customers saying that about your brand, communicate a human message and wrap your product around that message!
Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry