The brutality of the sale is shooting brands in the foot
They say true love isn’t transactional, so relationships shouldn’t be either. But all transactions involve a relationship, so as marketers courting sales we shouldn’t ignore the romance (or lack thereof) in our customer interactions.
Everywhere brands are exhibiting the same toxic behaviours people do when looking for love. There’s a lack of solicitation in customer interactions and a steely determination to convert that has parallels with the dark underbelly of dating.
The digital age has in many ways damaged people’s soft skills – and that’s also true of brands.
As in dating, treating people with humanity and respect makes you more attractive as a brand; in perceptions of emotional intelligence and confidence in the value of your offering.
Learning from the 10 Commandments of Dating
1. Put your best foot forward
If you’re gonna shoot your shot, make it your best one and focus on your strengths.
2. Make an impression
Apps have commodified dating. A widespread ‘grass is greener’ mentality in an Attention Economy means you’ve got one chance to stand out – or lose.
3. Find your thing
Swiping along we’re swimming in cliches. Don’t be the brand equivalent of just another ‘man holding a fish’. Whether it’s a unique point of view, disruptive look and feel, distinct tone of voice – show the world what makes you different.
4. But be yourself
Just make it make sense. No-one likes a try-hard…
5. Don’t be too much too soon
Life moves fast and love is fickle, but bombarding customers as soon as they engage gets you blocked. Strike the right balance between keen and clingy.
6. No-one likes skipping to the end
It’s distracting, it’s creepy, it’s degrading. Whether you’re a person or a brand. Ask yourself. What value are we offering? How much of what we say or do is in service of cold, hard sales?
Relationships are a two way street. ‘Soft’ customer interactions can humanise a brand and create a desirable atmosphere. And ultimately, being an active listener allows you to understand the object of your affections and how you can meet their needs.
8. Slide in the DMs
Digital comms is a 21st Century mating dance. Different channels have different roles and tones – varying styles of communication gives people (and brands) a chance to show a different side.
9. No unsolicited dick pics
This one’s for you, GDPR! Consent is key. For capitalism too.
10. Take a hint
Don’t be the brand who emails people after they’ve unsubscribed. You’re better than that.
So, if you want your brand to be loved
Treat sales holistically. Add value along the entirety of your funnel to create the most enjoyable, human experience possible. Because at the end of the day, your target audience is really just many individuals who want to be loved right back.
Brands doing it right
Pret’s ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ policy empowers baristas to give a free drink to customers, laddering up to their new (as of 2022) brand purpose; ‘To make every day a little brighter’.
Burberry’s investment in tech creates a future facing customer experience, allowing people to visualise products in the world around them, try things on digitally and explore virtual stores.
Monzo invites audience influence over their product with an open channel of communication through their Community Forum.
The McDonald’s App gives access to an elevated experience. Benefits include the ability to save time by ordering ahead, and table service, aping a traditional restaurant experience.