Valentine just passed, and together with many others, my wife and I celebrated that sacred bond that only loved ones can share: a warm and lasting relationship. But as we did, I also started thinking about that “other” relationship you tell me I should have. The relationship with your brand and your company.
After the video of my presentation at Inverge 2 years ago has failed show up I have finally put an audio track on this presentation to provide a bit more context around my thinking and ideas. Amazingly, 2 years later the majority of the presentation still rings true and i believe the better companies can engage with customers in co-creation the more competitive they will be and the more meaning customers will derive out of these relationships.
Language, especially spoken language, is very revealing when it comes to someone’s values. This is why corporate executives are subjected to media training to keep them on message while speaking in public – meaning, of course, to appear to say something while not really saying anything.
Well before the social media age, we all learned that trust and reputation are important currencies in this thing called life. That's why our parents, professors and parish priests have taught us to be honest and honour our promises. And most of us try and do just that. It doesn't always work like we want, but largely we get by. Or if things go wrong, we apologise and try to make amends.
Auto-renewals of long-term contracts have a lot to like about them, at least for the seller of a product. If the customer doesn’t have the bandwidth or energy to reopen negotiations, a contract rolls over for another period–one year, three years or more. The supplier wipes his brow and relaxes, with that client’s business in the books.
Today as I watched a video of Peter Arnell describe the rationale behind Tropicana's rejected package design, I had a bit of an epiphany. Many companies, brands and organizations are inadvertently building walls between themselves and their customers. It's unintentional, happened over time—but ultimately in this age of empowerment, customers feel more connected to each other than they do to your business or brand.
The Harvard Business Review recently interviewed psychologist John Gottman, the executive director of the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle. Although Gottman’s work focuses mostly on interpersonal relationship (in contrast to business-customer relationships), many of his comments are pertinent to marketers. According to Gottman: