by Jean-Claude Saade
Brands who really want to connect with customers on a deep and meaningful level will have to identify common grounds and areas of similarity and synergy with these customers. This has to be genuine and transparent based on the real values of the brand, its vision, what it stands for and what it offers.
Efforts to attract more people and more customers are well accepted when aligned with the brand spirit and done in harmony with its core identity and main offering. Common grounds will be the soil where positive relationships between brands and consumers can grow and prosper.
Brands with clear identity, purpose and character and most importantly with an attractive human face can mesh positive and enriching relationships with their respective groups of customers. They can enter their minds and hearts and be part of their daily lives by opening one of the seven doors of consumer connection. Those are the shared Values, Roots, Fights, Interests/Benefits, Lifestyle, hobbies and Preferences.
We have identified these seven areas as the potential common grounds that can bridge relationships and build connections between people, and between people and brands. These areas are the seven doors to enter consumers’ life.
1 – Shared Values
People who share the same values tend to come together and stay united in the name of these values. Values are one of the strongest bonding factors for people in general and between people and brands that share and cherish the same values.
Values like world peace, equality between people and liberty would rally people, organizations, brands and companies who believe in them and base their lives and activities around them. These values are so powerful and can generate intense emotions to the point that people are ready to pay their lives for these values to triumph.
When a brand adheres to one clear a rallying value, this will become part of the brand DNA. An intrinsic part of the brand definition, identity, offerings and communication. Therefore, everything that the brand says or does would invite consumers who share this same value to come to the brand and stick with it.
The relationship between a brand and consumers sharing the same value would make a perfect sense when this brand is offering the products and services that best answer the needs and wants of this particular group of people. This kind of scenarios would have the potential to secure a strong and long relationship based on the shared value but also nurtured by continuous dealing and flourishing business.
2 – Shared Roots
Roots are another very important shaping factor of people in general and groups of consumers in particular. They also play an important role in the relationship between consumers and their adopted brands.
The secret about “shared roots” is their ability to facilitate natural and easy bonding and bypass the long process of building familiarity.
People connect more naturally with brands that share the same culture, geography or religion. They will naturally feel attracted and subsequently discover that they have lots of things in common, even before starting the relationship. This will make mutual understanding; cooperation and connection flow easier and grow stronger and faster.
Let us consider the example of emigrants or expatriates from the same country or region when they meet in their country of settlement. There is a higher chance that they will naturally connect and stick together and eventually form their own quarters.
In a very similar way, consider a traveler in a foreign country who comes across a restaurant serving his favorite national food and dishes. He/she will be naturally attracted to go and eat in this restaurant and probably return very often if the food is really good. This is a bonding that is facilitated by the shared roots and won’t break unless the brand, i.e. that restaurant, will do something really bad.
3 – Shared Fights
Similarly to shared values, shared fights and causes rally people and connect them with organizations brands and businesses that support the same fight and cause.
People who are fighting for the preservation of a balanced and sustainable environment or the preservation of wildlife and endangered species will connect with brands who are sharing the same fight like Greenpeace and the WWF. They will also connect with and support businesses and brands that are taking tangible measures to preserve the environment or to reduce CO2 emissions.
Environmentalists will bond easier with car makes which are developing and selling hybrid or electrical cars for example. In a parallel scenario, people who are fighting to reduce their countries dependency on petroleum will be more interested in purchasing flexible-fuel vehicles and would ready to pay more money for a vehicle that relies less on petroleum-based fuel. We can see that two different shared fights can lead to very similar consumer behavior seen from the outside.
We can see clearly that Shared Fights will influence consumer views on life issues in general and favor certain choices that go in line with their movements. Important purchase decision factors like price will be evaluated in a whole new dimension that cannot be explained by traditional marketing models; like the predisposition to pay a higher price for a brand and product that share the same fights.
Another example could be the case of some Muslims who lost the sympathy with American brands because of the U.S. foreign policies, but did not want to alter their lifestyle and therefore switched to Mecca-Cola a cola carbonated drink that declares sharing with them the same causes and Islamic Identity.
Some links for your own research
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Status: 18. Januar 2008