When it comes to branding… everything. Love has everything to do with it.
Yesterday I read an amazing quote from Gary Vaynerchuk:
The reason we love our parents is because they loved us first. Every single company should take this advice.
I couldn’t agree more. That Gary V. is a dude after my own heart.
After all, parenting is all about heart, right?
When we parent, we constantly focus on four present and future states we want for our children:
- We want to see their HOPES nurtured and respected.
- We want to see their DREAMS fulfilled.
- We want to see their FEARS allayed or conquered.
- And we want to see their FRUSTRATIONS eased or eliminated.
We do this because we love our kids, and ultimately, we want them to be happy. We want to see them master the universe and get what they want.
When I build brands for corporations or teach branding to small business owners, this is the first place we begin. We ask the question: “What are the hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of the clients we serve?”
Where Gary V. hits the nail on the head, though, is WHY we do this. And this is the place I most often see branding and marketing go awry…
For so many business leaders, bloggers, advertisers, and salespeople I meet, the quest to understand these four things about the customer is not in service of the customer, but rather, in service of the business. It sounds like this: “If I understand what the customer hopes, dreams, fears, or experiences frustration around, I can create emotional messaging, tap into a vulnerability, and sell a product.”
As parents, if we took that approach, we’d be using our kids to get what WE want. We’d be seeing our kids as a means to an end.
That’s not love. It’s exploitation. And when it comes to our kids, we’d consider that abusive. But when it comes to our customers, we consider it marketing.
If you love your customers enough to care about their hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations, you’ll create products and services that address those things. And rather than piecing together a string of words to push buttons or drive behavior, you’ll deliver solutions that guide them to satisfaction and happiness.
Here’s the best part: as a bi-product, you’ll develop long-term, trust-driven, PROFITABLE relationships that make you feel like a million bucks.
It might seem that this is a subtle difference.
But it’s not.
When we understand the emotional needs of our customers, and create language to touch buttons, we’re driven by OUR needs.
When we care about the emotional needs of our customers, and create products driven toward their satisfaction, we’re driven by THEIR needs.
So the next time you find yourself asking: “How can I write this headline in a way that will elicit emotion?”, try asking, “How can I make sure this product steers my client toward joy and success?”
And that headline? It’ll just write itself.
We don’t talk much about love at work. But we should.
It makes the world go ‘round, my friend.