Alex Hunter: Brand Relationships & Marketing in the Information Age

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The challenge that we all have today
when we’re building brands or working on brands, is that the marketplace has
never been so crowded. So, ultimately in 2016, you can’t just build a product or
provide a service and expect people to flock to you in droves and then endorse
you on your behalf. It just doesn’t work like that anymore.
Emotion is a fundamental ingredient to the creation of loyalty. We all have to
forget that behind every click, behind every call, is a human being and they
want to be treated thusly. Now we’ve had the technology to
create a sense of individuality for 20 years now but all we seem to do with it
is, when I log in, it changes from login to, “Hi Alex!” That’s not really what we’re
talking about. If you want to foster an emotional connection with a customer and
invest in this relationship, you have to give them a sense of individuality. And
it seems like a very daunting prospect that will require a million-dollar CRM
system. When really it’s the little things that keep me coming back. And one
of the things that Virgin does right is, whenever I get on the plane and I’m
sitting and seat 72k, middle seats, next to the screaming child, somebody from the
flight – in in flight team come up to me and say- hand me a glass of champagne- and
say, “it’s good to see you again Alex! Thanks for coming back!” Alex, Alex!
Not Mr. Hunter, not seat 72k, not frequent flier number 6949494! Alex. I don’t even
like champagne, but I’m gonna drink that shit, because I know where it came from. I
know all the things that had to happen to make that transaction take place and
that’s why I continued to fly with them every single time. Little tiny things
like that. Don’t over optimize the transaction. Pull back and focus on
investing in the relationship. What brand and/or product or service could you not live
without? So, mine is Diet Coke there is absolutely nothing better to me in this
entire world than a cool, crisp- no they’re not paying me- refreshing can of
Diet Coke. I know it’s gonna hit the spot. I know it’s gonna taste exactly the same
no matter where I go in the world. I am 100% brand loyal to Diet Coke. So, much so
that if I go into a bar or restaurant and I order a diet coke and the waiter
or waitress says, “will Diet Pepsi be okay?” It’s like they’ve spit on my
grandmother! Oh no! God! ugh! Are you? What? If I can have such a passionate,
emotional, borderline sociopathic, relationship with something as innocuous
as brown water in a silver can, there is not a single industry, product or service
on this earth that is immune from that type of response. to someone. That type of
response is completely based on emotion. My loyalty to Coke is absolutely not
based on reason. My loyalty to my wife is not based on reason either. It’s purely
based on emotion, but it proves the fact that you have to build up this
relationship with the customer. It’s the human legacy we want to
leave behind us.

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