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September 10, 2007

The Business of Human Nature

OK, so we believe in, ‘marketing brands the way you make friends‘. Seems like a big ‘Duh!‘ right? So why do so many companies (including my beloved Apple) screw it up so badly? Why do they need people like us to come in and provide ideas to deepen the relationships they have with their customers? I guess the reason is the same one that explains why the self help business is over 10 billion/year. As human beings, we often resort to immediate gratification; we fall back on bad habits, we start having that one extra glass of wine and before you know it the 10 pounds are back on, or in the case of brands, customer satisfaction levels begin to decline and brand affinity begins to erode. It’s not rocket science, in fact it’s quite predictable and has been forever. The fact that business‘ feet are now being held to the fire, requiring they be far more transparent and accountable, doesn't change the facts.
You are in a relationship!

If you treat the person who‘s shelling out their money well, they will tell their friends and your business will grow. If you take them for granted, they will eventually leave you (unless they are in a forced relationship which always leads to a real healthy dynamic).

There are no shortcuts. The_secret_copy
There are no exceptions.

But why, in the business of branding, are those that do it the exception? Southwest Airlines has a myriad of books written about its culture and the loyalty that results. And while I wish they would take that culture and integrate it more into their other points of contact, ultimately, they get it…from the inside out. They leveraged the relationships at every level of their company so that they are naturally doing the right thing.

No magic elixir
No secret pill.

It’s just eating less and exercising more—no easy way out.
Companies have to fundamentally make the decision that it‘s in their best interest to keep doing right by their customers and the money will come, not the other way around. And until they decide to embrace that lifestyle, no amount of self-help reading will be of any consequence.

By Karen Evans



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