James “Dat Yoga Dude” Woods, a local yoga instructor and life coach, posts an inspirational video, “15 Seconds of Freedom” every morning for his Instagram followers. This daily message reinforces that he cares enough about personal improvement such that he gives away his expertise first thing in the morning. The video clip shows him delivering his content between O-Dark-Thirty and daybreak. Chronologically the time is about the same. Most importantly, his followers, fans, and clients are reminded that he cares! Genuinely caring about the emotional and physical well-being of others is at the core of “Dat Yoga Dude’s” personal story.
As a small businessman delivering a personal service that targets individuals and groups, James recognizes the priority of communicating consistent messages that engage individuals in his target market. His consistent message directly reflects his effective branding because every interaction and experience aligns with one consistent message. “Dat Yoga Dude” cares for individuals’ physical and emotional well-being! Realizing that a brand is what a business communicates when no representative is in the room, consistency is essential. Not just consistency in the message, but in the way customers interact with the business. Successfully executing this approach depends directly on the service provider. Whether service delivery happens in a morning group at a community center, or with an individual in her office during lunch, each interaction demonstrates a consistent message that every client values.
Reflecting a broader landscape through example, Apple executes a branding strategy that connects emotionally because their technology seems to adapt to the individual user. In reality, Apple’s starting point is establishing how an Apple product’s experience makes the customer feel. The Apple brand projects lifestyle, imagination, regained liberty, innovation, and power-to-the-people through technology. All these different facets of individual experiences magically appear for various profiles of Apple fanatics. Ultimately, the brand connects broadly such that the customer is happy with their individual experience, or at least happy with the perception that they have cooler technology than their peers. Vanity contributes to the premium price!
After establishing connectivity, more personal engagement continues with scoring more social points. The idea is to give such that multiple types of customer connect, then enjoy what they get! Think about watching a movie on Netflix. Netflix may be offering exclusivity for its content, all-you-can-eat pricing, and convenience (pause the movie, get your popcorn out the microwave, return, and resume watching the movie). A good provider regularly reminds customers about the benefits they get. The ability to watch a movie, take a restroom break and return to the movie exactly where you left off is pretty routine until you compare it to an old theater experience where encountering a line in the restroom is highly likely.
Connectivity without the ask is like an incredible dinner party without a main course. Recognize that big dinner parties typically include a main course. Successful sales professionals typically invest time in relationships so that relatively inexpensive favors are routinely available for prospects and customers that covet them. Give-Give-Ask reveals itself every time an experience is available for the individual that is rare for the masses. The representative who gives access to that experience has facilitated an engagement that creates a memorable, connective moment. The point is not the event where the seller provides tickets, in order to show kindness. That is just one give. It is the tickets that the prospect gets that he can pass to his teenager who is having difficulties connecting with Dad. The provider just gave his prospect an opportunity to demonstrate his affection for his troubled child. That is actually two “gives” in the same gesture. Once the prospect acknowledges the family relationship’s improvement, then the opportunity to ask for the business is wide open.
My Story Speaks For Me: Recognize that the story must be crafted intentionally. It must connect emotionally. Furthemore, it needs to move to a specific climax! Shopping around for a vehicle can have many emotional ups and downs. But upon selecting the Mercedes-Benz that has been the object of your lust, the owner does not just drive it. The owner tells their friends about the entire experience and the climactic conclusion that ended with the victorious purchase. Aligning with brands that reflect the consumers persona is the ultimate in making purchasing decisions. The story ultimately provides the emotional satisfaction that makes the purchase experience memorable. The brand perpetuates itself as a result of repeated sets of similar experiences. The provider grows and succeeds. The brand continues to tell its story.
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter and Beyond LLC