What brand do you 💗? How does it make you feel?
My mom says she 💗 Kat, the massage therapist who comes to my parents’ home occasionally. She 💗 her because she has brought my dad and mom respite from some of the aches and pains of aging for over ten years now.
Kat makes things easy on my folks. She answers her own phone, is generally available on my parents’ preferred schedule, and comes to them, which saves them dealing with tricky streets and wild drivers in their southwestern city more known for neon and flash than the peace of a massage.
Kat is also willing to help with other things that make my parents’ lives easier—reaching high shelves, re-packing a recent purchase for return, moving heavy objects (like the time she helped them load suitcases into their car as they headed to the airport for a trip to visit my family). She is thoughtful, kind, and focused on serving her clients the way they wish to be served. Plus, she makes pleasant conversation and genuinely listens.
I don’t believe Kat gives a moment’s thought to her “market position” or “unique sales proposition.” She doesn’t send out NPS surveys. But by doing all the right things, big and small, she inspires my mother to use the “L” word.
How can you get your customers to talk like that about you and your organization?
“Don’t you just 💗 my new shoes!?”
“I 💗 the produce at Whole Foods!”
“We 💗 our new office management software.”
Romantic 💗 activates the striatum—our “pleasure center”—and the insula, the part of the brain that recognizes and values things we do that are good for us, pleasurable and sustaining. So the brain literally encourages us to keep doing the things that are good for us.
Addictive drugs stimulate the same areas of the brain, giving signals that activate the “give me more” feeling. (It makes you think about that Robert Palmer song a little differently, doesn’t it?)
Buying shoes or interacting with your SaaS vendor is different than romantic 💗 or addictive drugs, but the analogy can work.
When you feel a brand “gets you,” when an employee goes above and beyond to serve you, when you can get questions answered easily, when it’s pleasurable or at least easy to interact with their systems, when you reliably get the outcome you want from using their service or product—your brain, your body, your heart actually wants more.
And like that first blush of romantic 💗, when you’re in the throes of it, you want to share that good feeling with others.
You want more—repeat purchases, regular purchases, being loyal to the brand, becoming a fan and advocate.
Sharing your good feeling—referrals, references, supporting on social media and giving good reviews, providing testimonials.
And just as quality personal relationships require good communication and a willingness to put in some work, I’ve seen many good customers agree to show their 💗 for a brand by giving feedback. Sometimes through surveys and answering questions from their sales representative, sometimes with a much more commitment of time and thought, like in focus groups or by sitting on customer advisory boards.
Bottom line, brand 💗 operates like true 💗—bringing pleasure and giving us the incentive to seek more. And isn’t that what we should all want our businesses to offer to our customers?
What moves someone to use a loaded word like “love” when describing a business relationship? If you have ever felt that rush of a new attraction and the butterflies in the stomach that comes with the early days of a romantic relationship, you know that saying you 💗 a store, a brand, or a product is hyperbole. But it’s significant that we use this language as the closest analogy for how a brand can make us feel and make us want to reciprocate.
What’s your best brand story? Do you wear nothing but Nikes? Feel great when you walk out with your Coach bag? Know you’re going to be well taken care of when you call your software vendor’s customer support team? Who do you ❤ in the world of business? Add a comment or drop me a line at bryan@3Ccomms.com.