When a brand comes to the rescue. And why you must do the same.

My neighbours dilemma

The other day I was chatting to my elderly neighbour Molly. She was upset and worried. I asked her if she was ok and she replied by telling me that her wallet had been stolen while having a coffee at the shops. Yeah I know, pretty rough right! I felt for her.

Obviously Molly was shaken up – as we all would be, but she is 90! And to make matters worse, all her cash and identification was in her wallet. All of it! And she had no idea what to do.

Now before you think that I am setting myself up as the hero of this story, I am not. I did what any person with half a heart would do. I sat down with Molly, had a cup of tea, listened and empathised.

I then did two things.

First, I reminded her that the world – and people – are essentially good and that she did not need to worry and feel vulnerable. I assured her that good will come of it. It’s horrible to feel vulnerable, especially for a 90 year old lady living alone. Secondly, I helped her write a list of what to do next. The first thing on the list was to visit her bank.

Enter the hero!

Now you can imagine going into a bank in 2018 with no identification whatsoever and asking for access to an account. Like we say in Australia, she had a “snowball’s chance in hell!” No chance! I was worried that it would not go well.

Molly walked into the bank, waited in line and explained to the teller what had happened. Immediately the teller showed empathy and reassured her that they would help sort it out. Best response ever! The bank teller didn’t lead with, “Mmm that may be difficult seeing you have no identification, but let me see what we can do.” No, that would have caused Molly to worry even more. The teller saw Molly was upset and wanted reassure her that everything would be ok.

Then one of the other tellers recognised her and vouched that Molly was who she said she was. Phew! But, I still wasn’t sure if that was enough. Surely they required identification. But what they did instead was impressive. They asked her how much money she would need for the rest of the week and gave it to her. Just – like – that! I was surprised and delighted.

Immediately the colour returned to her face and Molly felt better knowing she had access to her money. And then they went one step further and offered to help her sort out everything else – not banking matters, whatever she needed! At that moment the bank was not just her bank, but her partner, her advocate, her friend.

In just twenty minutes Molly walked out of the bank feeling supported and much better about the situation. She then began attending to all the other things on her list, confident that the rest of the day would go well.

Which bank?

It doesn’t matter which Bank. All you need to know is that it was one of the Big 4. I shared this story with a friend the other day and he said, “Which bank?”. I laughed. Then winked! An inside Australian joke. Apologies if you’re not Australian or have no idea what I’m talking about. Anyway, I love it that it was one of the big banks rather than a small community bank. Why? Because it’s a perfect example of the value in staying small at the same time as growing big. As brands grow, if they want to foster and maintain devotion, they must also stay small and focus on details people appreciate and love. In this case – being caring, helpful, generous, convenient, significant, heartwarming and personal!

This story is worth more than 100 Instagram posts! It really is. It doesn’t matter how wide a brand message travels initially, but how deep. Reach is nowhere near as valuable as depth. Especially if you’re playing the long game. It does not matter how many people see your content in the first instance, what matters is how deeply it affects a few. And when it does affect a few, the outcome is that it also tends to go wide. Those who were deeply impacted by the story will tell others. For example. I have now written about it here. I have also written an email about it to my sizeable database. I will also post it on social media. And I will tell the story multiple times when I speak at events. It may even end up in my next book? Molly will also tell others about it. You will most likely tell a few people. And on it goes.

The benefit of building a brand people love

In a world that is incredibly cluttered with marketing content and ripe with options, it’s hard to get people to choose you. There are just so many good options available in most industries. In this environment you can either out-advertise your competition, or you can operate in a way that endears people to you and fosters a deep bond. If you want to out-advertise your competition, you will need a big budget and the best people you can find. Sure it’s possible, but the brand with the most money will usually win. And even then, I think there is a better way.

Building a successful brand in this cluttered world is predominantly a battle for the heart, not of the mind. It’s no longer about being “top-of-mind”, but about being “close-to-heart.”. Just think of all the successful brands you know. I bet they’re brands who’ve fostered a deep affection from their tribe. They’re not simply brands with the largest advertising budgets, the savviest slogans, or the largest social media followings. The most successful brands are the ones who’ve built the deepest bonds.

Truly well-loved brands share a common DNA, which I believe can be described in the following nine essential qualities. And it’s these qualities that you will need to embed within your business or organisation in order to create a brand people will connect with and care about deeply. Here they are, foolishly simple, but highly influential: Significant, Heartwarming, Helpful, Generous, Convenient, Interesting, Personal, Attractive and Patient. If you build a brand with these qualities, in time you will be rewarded with deep affection and long-term loyalty.



The benefits are endless

When you build a brand people love the benefits are endless. When people love something they can’t help but share their experience with others. Motivated by their love, your customers will passionately talk about your brand, show off your products, and proudly share your content. They will pay less attention to what the competition has to offer. And in no time at all they will develop a deep loyalty fuelled by reasons of the heart, not of the mind.

The heart has its reasons, which reason knows nothing of.

Blaise Pascal

In my new book, This Way Please, I go into great detail about how to build a brand people love. It’s very practical with lots of handy tips and includes inspiring examples that I have collected along the way. If you’d like to go a little deeper you can download a few free chapters here.

Or if you just want to grab a yourself copy and get straight into it you can buy it from Amazon here. At the moment it’s only $8.41 (US) for a printed a paperback or $8.19 (US) for Kindle. You can also buy it from other stores here.

be the most memorable story

When Molly went to bed that evening, I believe the strongest, most memorable story playing in her mind as she drifted off to sleep was that of kindness from her bank. I know that was certainly the story playing in my mind.

At the end of the day, how do you make sure your brand’s story is the most powerful and memorable?

Simple. Just care!



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