Guy Kawasaki in his new book, Enchantment provides a new end goal for brand builders wanting to create lasting customer relationships. A brand that enchants will create a voluntary change of hearts and minds by charm, intrinsic appeal and shared values. It will not get there by manipulation or even persuasion but by a deep level of connection. Guy uses REI as an example of a brand with customers that have internalized the values.
I would nominate Muji the understated “no-brand” retailer that I describe in my Marketing News column. Guy goes on to describe some 80 different suggestions to those wanting to elevate their brand to one that provides enchantment. Many are relevant to any brand builder whatever their aspirations for the brand. These suggestions are compact and draw from academic research and proven thought leaders. Four caught my eye.
Build an ecosystem.
If the offering can be surrounded by a meaningful system of entities and complement (add value) and support the brand, it will have a more solid connection and will have created barriers to competitors. Apple is the gold standard with the huge number of apps, the communities of users, the blogs, the consultants, the Apple store, the conferences and on and on. To create an ecosystem, a firm needs to find a worthy concept, communicate, create evangelists, encourage involved communities and be open to participation and criticism.
Separate the believers.
In implementing a concept intended to achieve enchantment make sure all the employees and partners are on-board. You cannot create enchantment if the “sellers” are not all drinking the Kool-Aid. The Macintosh in the mid-1980s put the division in a separate building with Steve Jobs in charge so that the effort was not contaminated by the rest of the firm with their “mass market” mentality. Zappos.com discourages non-believers by offering $4,000 to new recruits to leave the firm.
Frame the competition.
The focus is always on managing our own brand, making sure that we know what it stands for, and that this vision is communicated to the marketplace. But framing the competition can have an equally strong impact on preference. In 2010, Steve Jobs responded to critics that thought that Apple excessively controlled iPhone applications, by pointing out that it was true that those who want porn are better off with Google’s Android products. Android phones were thus positioned for porn users.
Illustrate the salient point.
There is a tendency to focus on factual data supporting functional benefits because it seems persuasive, credible and informative. But it is usually boring and hard to connect. So bring the data to life by illustrations. Talk about cost of few per year instead of miles per gallon. How long a donation will feed a child instead of monetary amount.
These brand-building fundamentals and the many others in the book are presented in an easy-to-read manner with stories and evidence to illustrate and support. It is an excellent and easy-to-access overview of how to build brands that will connect.