Branding terminology will frequently refer to the importance of creating ‘relationships’ with audiences and users.The danger of words are the underlying assumptions involved. Relationships come in many forms and levels from relative ambivalence to steamy passion and undying loyalty.Brands that think they can get themselves into the upper passion spectrum level tend to be premium luxury emotional offers such as high end cars, jewellery and top fashion.The sad reality for most offers – the more common utility end of the market, is that relationships are based on the less exotic attributes of convenience and familiarity.Trust must be a given, as are good ethics and sustainability credentials.
Loyalty cards aim to tip the balance – if you have to get petrol or food you might as well get some ‘points’ if the accessibility, offer, price and general hassle are about the same.This puts increased pressure on ensuring every possible brand ‘touchpoint’ can result in a positive experience however minor in terms of reinforcing and ideally improving company’s image. Tesco’s ‘every little helps’ is a brilliant encapsulation of such a ‘customer centric’ approach – another easily said retail generic, but difficult to always achieve!
It is particularly worrying when we are told a branding initiative must achieve a ‘wow’ factor.By definition a ‘wow’ reaction is not sustainable in the true sense i.e. from an initial resource investment viewpoint but more importantly maintaining long term impact, relevance and freshness.
Not many relationships however passionate can be sustained if depending on a perpetual ‘wow’ factor.The best long term relationships depend on consistency and care – not taking the other for granted and keeping a relationship fresh. Surely a good mantra for marketers and lovers alike.