The Twenty-Seven Percent: Living Up to It

The idea that people can live without seventy-three percent of the brands in their lives makes you wonder if those brands don’t really care? What in their business model, practices or culture makes for a situation where people don’t care if they exist? We could blame the people in the study, perhaps they polled a generally uncaring gaggle of individuals?

Well, the best explanation is modeled in your best relationships. Is there mutual interest in the relationship? This sounds rational and worthy of measurement. But, if we push this into the realm of emotion, the question of love comes up. Is there a mutual bond, emotional or social, between the person and the brand? Do you love your customers? How do you expect them to love you if you don’t love in return?

Human relationships are messy, managing a brand (or managing anything by definition) needs more rational than emotional inside a corporate environment. It's much harder to “manage” something that is, by its nature, messy. How do you love a population of people versus one person? How does a brand “show their love” for the people who love them? At first glance, this looks like a simple answer.

Design everything with the human being in mind.

In previous posts we make a case for how to address the 73% elephant in the room. Without a relationship between brands and people humanizing your brand was our place to start, living up to it is the next piece in the conversation.

“Living up to it” starts by getting to know the person, not as consumer, user, shopper, segment or any other single dimension. This doesn’t mean you have to spend money on a research plan that will deliver a state of “all knowing.” It means you’re in a perpetual state of curiosity, learning more each day, week, month, quarter and year about the people who love you.

Okay, you’re sitting in cubicle reading this and wondering, “who is this jackhammer?” Or, better yet, “let’s see this jackhammer spend a day or two in my world trying to build a brand inside a sales driven culture.” Well, first off, I look nothing like a jackhammer and second, I’m there for you. Let’s start with Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why.”

Sales driven culture is great, if the sales are focused on getting the proper amount of margin for your offering. Selling a solution was the answer in the nineties, selling a relationship and articulating the “why” is the equivalent today. A sales driven culture spiraling down to the lowest possible margin is likely missing a few pieces. The modern buyer of anything will benefit from knowing the “why” for your brand. Even if you don’t provide it, your audiences are making one up in their heads and the default is, ‘they’re doing this to make money, the sale, the transaction, or my wallet.”

So, if making money is your “why” and your only “why” then keep doing what you’re doing and the default answer will be unspoken. But, if you’re “why” is anything more than making the next sale, it should be crafted, edited and articulated. No matter if you’re selling widgets, airplanes or tomato paste, this matters. If you insert the “why” into a sales driven culture (both in words and visuals) it’s like adding jet fuel to a high performance engine. And it is the first step toward humanizing your brand.

If you’re looking for an example of this idea coming to life, turn to the KIND brand and read Daniel Lubetsky’s book, “Do the KIND Thing.” It exemplifies the idea of a “why” but not in a manner too big for the brand. Inspiring people to be more kind is a noble cause, but also broken down to bite-sized with “kind moments” from one person to another. Dan isn’t a global hero, saving the planet from tyranny, he is leading a KINDness movement. He isn’t saving lives, but certainly doing his part to make life better.  

It’s an act of KINDness to show your interest in the hard work of others. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and share it with friends and colleagues.

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.


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