Saturday, 29 October 2016

BRAND ADMIRATION;Why A Customer feels A Personal Connection To A Company

Building a Business People Love, Trust and Respect.
Ishola Ayodele
There is this old saying that readily comes to mind when thinking about human relationships: there are three types of people that we never forget.
First are those who stand with us and help us through difficult times;
second are those who leave us in our difficult times;
and third are those who force us into difficult times.

In early 2015, Comcast made a big announcement : The much-maligned company planned to finally right its many years of wrongs by investing *$300 million* into improving its notoriously awful customer service. The company's press release , as is often the case with press releases, made big promises, and it sounded surprisingly penitent.

The reaction to the announcement was,
 sarcastic chuckles,
 and lots of "I'll believe it when I see it"

And then there were reactions like this on Twitter :

*@EPB_Chattanooga I wouldn't go back to Comcast for $300 million*.

This was unlike *Virgin America*—which has finished atop the annual Airline Quality Ratings for four consecutive years. Check this recent exchange via Twitter between VirginAmerica and one of its customers.

Dom heyberg twittered @VirginAmerica $50 flight compensation credit before I could even complain about last night's flight. Good job

VirginAmerica responded @domheyberg Thank you for understanding

Then Dom replied @VirginAmerica No worries. Shit happens.

The difference in response of customers to these two companies is simply the level of Brand Admiration.

brand admiration—a new concept about to be introduced by marketing researchers C. Whan Park, Deborah J. MacInnis, and Andreas B. Eisingerich in their forthcoming book,
Brand Admiration: Building a Business People Love .

brand admiration can be defined as unconditional love, trust and respect for a company.

Some benefits of Brand Admiration include:

Valuable repeat-purchase patterns.

Unabashed public promotion of the brand.

Higher tolerance for mistakes and missteps.

Stronger talent acquisition and retention.

Improved employee morale.

Expanded alliance and partnership opportunities

According to Professor Andreas Eisingerich one of the authors.
"brands build the strongest and most durable relationships with customers when they offer the following three; Enable, Entice and Enrich customers.

1. *Customers find value in brands that enable them*.
Such brands solve customers’ problems. They remove barriers, eliminate frustrations, assuage anxieties, and reduce fear. They provide peace of mind. With the brand as a solution, customers feel empowered to take on challenges in their personal and professional lives.

2. *Customers also seek benefits that entice them*.
Enticement benefits stimulate customers’ minds, their senses, and thei hearts. They replace work with play, lac of pleasure with gratification, boredom with excitement, and sadness with feelings of warmth.

3. *Customers seek benefits that enrich them and their sense of who they are as people*
 Customers want to feel as if they are good people who are doing good things i the world. They want to act in ways tha are consistent with their beliefs and hopes. They want to feel as if they’re pa of a group in which others accept and respect them. They want to feel proud o their identities and where they came from.

From this I think Brand Admiration hinges on a company's methodic and strategic commitment to developing three key pillars:

1. *TRUST*
Trust is achieved when a brand helps its admirers feel empowered, in-control, confident, or relieved of a particular pain point.

2. *LOVE*
Love is fostered when a brand stimulates senses of warmth, gratitude, nostalgia, and empathy.

 Respect is earned when a brand's beliefs, principles, hopes, and vision are in harmonious alignment with the people it serves.

It is imperative for these three components of Trust, Love and Respect for a meaningful brand admiration.

In human relationships, trust alone perhaps makes us shake someone else’s hands.
What about love? Love needs to be accompanied by trust and respect for a relationship to be healthy and sustainable.

Love without trust is like a car with no fuel. We can make it go by keep pushing it, but it won’t go very far.

How about respect? Does respect alone carry a relationship? Respect alone may not trigger strong behavioural motivations. Respect without love is likely to involve an arms-length relationship.

Respect may make us bow at someone from a distance. Without love, a relationship only based on respect won’t have that special lasting bond.

This is just a peep into the book. I am sure this book *Brand Admiration* will  definitely enrich our understanding of Branding.

Marketing guru, Seth Godin describes a brand *as a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that taken together, account for a customer's decision to choose one product or service over another*

Building Trust, Love and Respect is the only to achieve this.

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