What truly excites us about the firms we’re fond of? Not just the firms that we have a passing interest in, but the ones we actively enjoy seeing come out with news? Which firms are those that we feel interested in following on Twitter, even learning the names of the executive decision-makers? How can some firms actively promote to us and we’re still happy being exposed to that? Which firms do we feel nothing but pleasure supporting, perhaps placing trust in them even through rocky product launches or perhaps even ‘liking’ their posts on social media despite the fact that they are an institution and despite knowing you as a customer, will likely never enter a form of mutually beneficial relationship with you, or know you by name?
What truly excites us about certain firms? You might not think you hold firms like this in the proper regard, but you do. There’ll be a few if you take time to think about it. As a business leader, this is the feeling you want to tap into. So let this guide help us explore the fundamentals of our psychological bonding with certain companies against all odds. Perhaps it will help those business-keen among you understand your client base more, or perhaps it will help an individual reader understand they aren’t so strange for stewarding these feelings after all:
It’s hard to feel passionate about a business that seemingly lacks any form of directive when it comes to innovating and developing their brand to one day become forward-thinking. Of course, that doesn’t mean a business has to be the largest or hold onto some form of faux-monopoly in order to impress us. For example, we all know that Pixar films are going to push the standards of animation everytime they are released. But it’s the smaller studios that bring innovative and creative efforts that can help us feel the most excited, as if we’ve been given a sneak peek into something that people rarely get to see. There’s room to like all kinds of businesses that innovate, but it’s rare we continually feel excited about a firm playing catch-up, even if they offer those goods at a discount price.
Innovation can come in many places. From the wacky idea of a low-level employee written with marker on a meeting-room whiteboard, to a research and development lab that’s been given extra investment this year, replacing equipment such as the filter plate, sanitizing stations and a range of other materials.
Businesses that operate with this in mind often have the most to show each year, and thus become part of the fabric of how we identify ourselves with that industry. For example, Apple have had some recent difficulties in appealing to the mass market with the pricing of their items of late, especially when their flagship models are only comparable to other products in the field. But past innovations and the reputation they have carved for themselves means that at every CES keynote each year, you can expect people to flock to the trade expo presentation. Innovation has that power.
A business must seem present, active, involved, and willing to develop a relationship with their customers. A business that simply hides behind the curtain is one to be forgotten about. For example, photography initiatives, standard-pushing campaigns and shedding light on a range of issue through the year can help business presence remain felt even if they have nothing to sell. Marketers continually emphasize that remaining in your supporter’s minds over the years is essential to steward that evergreen goodwill, no matter if it’s simply sponsoring the right people or developing the most enthusiastic attitude for change.
Celebrating Their Industry
A business needs to celebrate their industry. They need to care about the craft that allows them to be part of this industry. For example, Walkers (otherwise known as Lays chips in the global market,) are known as the staple potato-chip producer in the snack market. They have become a cornerstone of the lunchbox for some time. But they continue to engage their audience by releasing a selection of experimental flavors from time to time, asking the audience to weigh in, and then selecting a crown champion to sell over time. This shows that despite offering many classic favors, that they are continuing to strive for presence and relevancy. It’s a strong marketing move, but also one that actually contributes something to the snack market. That’s perhaps why so many are still fond of them.
But simply offering new products is hardly the final stop. It can be essential for a firm to celebrate the industry in other ways. For example, funding education or training for those who wish to develop the industry can build loyalty. It’s not uncommon for production studios to help fund the projects of film school students worldwide. In some countries like Germany, even the government was helping subsidize schools and production studios to this end. Whisky manufacturers or craft beer breweries regularly hold tours, and some have managed to make a park attraction out of this, such as Cadbury’s in the United Kingdom.
When a company celebrates their industry we know they are actively engaged, and are continually trying to make the consumer experience better. That can bring any international conglomerate down to Earth.
The Human Factor
The human factor is often felt in the small ways. For example, being given the first name and being asked how you are when contacting a support representative helps you feel like you’re talking to an actual person, and not a cog in the machine. It’s amazing how far a little courtesy can go. The human factor also comes in the concession made when a complaint is filed, how apologies are handled, or how businesses operate with goodwill from time to time. Sometimes, we want to see a dork just like us at the helm. For example, this is perhaps the most prevalent in video games. Steam, the largest PC video game online store, has Gabe Newell at the helm. He is known for offering long-form discussions and develop commentary surrounding the video games his company, Valve, have made.
But that doesn’t mean the company is some inside, small startup that only a select few know about. For example, Yanis Varoufakis, once finance manager of Steam, went on to become the Greek Minister of Finance. This disconnect shows that professionalism can be perceived in several different ways, and that beloved institutions, while perhaps sharing little in similarity, can be helmed by the same professionals and marketed in different ways to help adapt to the customer base.
The Professional Factor
We also wish for businesses to be professional. We want them to feel like authorities on the subject, to be continually trying to optimize the process of how they communicate with customers. We want their app to be continually updated, and for our support calls to be answered within a few minutes. We wish for competent warranties or an excellent complaints procedure. Overally, we wish to feel that firms take their responsibility to their industry seriously. These are the standards that can be hard to manage, but serve as an excellent guiding point.
Honesty & Transparency
We prefer a business that is both honest with us and transparent. Anyone can sculpt a pretty press-release, but we’ve likely heard all of those issues before. Let’s say that an advertisement runs that borders on the insensitive, and the inevitable backlash happens. We can almost predict, word for word, the press release the company will come out with, justifying their statement through the art of a carefully crafted apology, and the ever-promised ‘internal-investigation’ that is never heard of again.
Instead, we prefer for that marketing speech to be completely devoid of anything designed to sway us. A simple ‘we messed up, we’ll try harder next time’ can gain infinitely more respect than ‘this was not our intention, and we are keenly aware of any offense that occured.’
The moment we are treated like a collective, we often feel like rolling our eyes. If a business can level with you as if they were speaking directly to you, our respect grows. This is hard to manage, but if done so, can help a company completely evade most of the PR damage that might have otherwise occurred.
Of course, by inclusiveness we don’t mean companies trying to market how they appeal to all forms of identity, because that should happen as a default. Using any form of group as a means to market a product simply comes across exploitative. But still, it does feel good when companies look at us as individuals, and wish for us to get involved. For example, Kellogg’s Frosties line used to sponsor swimming certificates to ensure children gained their proverbial water-wings. That’s a little investment they didn’t have to make, but might have affected our children’s lives for the better. This is a real form of inclusiveness that has no toxic taint about it, and allows us to feel grateful for a companies presence.
To summarize, there are many methods of a company coming down to Earth and seeming less overbearing than they might be. They work best when the human factor is considered. We hope this information helps you in any of your future pursuits.