Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram…. and on and on, ad infinitum.
These platforms have become synonymous with making connections, but really, the extreme reliance on building a brand online has taken the connectedness out of relationship branding.
I am drawing a line in the ‘branding’ sand to say it’s time ease our way back to old-school connections with, not just our customers, but the relationships we have with them.
Post may contain affiliate links which means that if you do make a purchase a portion of your purchase will go to this site.
The Epic Idea
What “old school” ideas are so en vogue that they will work in marketing today? Forging personal connections and face-to-face contact are the blast from the past people are longing for. In his book Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, author and psychologist Matthew D. Lieberman explains neuroscience research that shows our fundamental need to connect with others is more basic than our need for food or shelter. The need to reach out to others is an innate drive that motivates us, and technology is not meeting that need.
We have gone so far down the digital rabbit hole with e-mails, social media, etc., that we connect less in the real world. Networking face-to-face and sharing a meal together rarely happen in typical professional settings anymore and people are wondering why business relationships are not really sticking. Richard Branson has authentically leveraged his love of community to build an experience of connection, care, and fun and that has been a key brand value from the getgo. Sir Richard, I’m on the same page.
This is the core of my vision for turning the branding world on its axis: let’s go back in time and utilize old-school strategies. In light of all of the new apps, marketing funnels and texting programs clamoring for you to embrace more technology, I urge you to unplug.
Here are some ways of using our base need of connection to build a successful brand that will last and be seen as one that is lifting the world:
Email box overflowing? Need I say more? When is the last time you sent or received a handwritten letter? Imagine the impact that personal touch will have, as it is such a rare thing to receive anymore. A simple note on personalized stationery that says “I’m so excited to have met you” will be remembered more than a dry email. Go the extra mile and make your handwritten note uniquely you. Branded stationery and adding a surprise and delight like a tea bag, THOUGHTFULLS inspiration cards, or even a drop of essential oil. This will leave an indelible impression both on the senses and make your customer feel special.
Visit your customer in person when possible, shake their hands, look them in the eye and give them your word that you’ll take good care of them. Business cards are important for in-person events. The textural exchange of a card and that moment of visually putting your brand in their hands will be remembered more than an impersonal landing page. If distance prevents face to face contact, pick up the phone. Instead of sending an e-mail or text message, call your client to check in with them and to see how they are doing. Just because you care.
Show Your Real Face
Social media made it easy for people to create staged looks and visual imagery, but consumers have grown weary of that. Old school warmth with natural light photography in real settings, lightly edited images, and personable faces are what consumers respond to. This is a shift from what has been recommended in the past. In his book Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explains that “The rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.” If you need help going “back in time” to implement old school branding ideas my personal branding program will help you develop those skills.
Intimate live events that offer a brand experience from the moment guests walk in are a vintage way to build relationships face-to-face. The customer feels honored and served from a place of love. Guests needs are met by making sure that all five senses are considered. This is how I incorporate the five senses into my live events:
- Scent – use essential oils or candles to create an atmosphere. Decide what mood you wish to elicit from the audience to guide your scent choice. Morning time scents are a lemon & lime blend which is fresh and inviting. A suggested afternoon scent is peppermint, which is invigorating. Evening events can be enhanced with the relaxing scents of lavender, frankincense, sage, or sandalwood.
- Vision – what do guests see and how does it make them feel when they enter the event? Walk into the room like it’s your first time in the space and ask yourself if it is cluttered. Does it evoke the kind of environment you want people to think of when they think of your brand? Does the lighting set the mood you desire?
- Taste – I serve clean healthy food designed to nourish the bodies of the attendees. Water infused with fruit or pure essential oils is both nourishing and satisfying to the senses.
- Sound – what do we hear? Use music or nature sounds to set the energy!
- Touch – everything the customer touches is a connection, which is why I pay close attention to texture. Details like room temperature and a comfortable seat cushion are much more important than you make think!
- Sixth sense = Heart – what emotional feel does the room have? What can you do to set the tone for what I call the emotional temperature in the room? We always begin our events with guided visualizations to create a positive mindset and a can-do attitude.
Yes, yes, yes… we do need technology and it plays an important role to be sure, but if you want your brand to stand out, try my Dad’s way of thinking of your customers as part of your family. Your brand will forge strong partnerships with your clients and it will lift the world.