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The Art Of Customer Loyalty

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

How many store loyalty cards do you have in your wallet? How many more will you be offered this week? Do you still carry a wallet?

We’ve tried to turn customer loyalty into a data-driven science. A game of, if we do this, customers will do that. In our desire for something to measure, or a needle to move, we’ve lost sight of one crucial point. Our customers’ reactions and responses can’t always be conditioned in predictable ways. Loyalty is not transactional, it’s built on something we can’t measure—on how the customer feels.

Instead of creating our entire marketing strategy around what we want the customer to do, we could consider how we want the customer to feel. Science gives us data-driven loyalty programs and homogeneous points cards that people forget they signed up for. Art allows us to be remembered for our humanity and make meaning part of our marketing.

Image by Garry Knight

The Work And Reward

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The customer is not there when the flowers he ordered to be delivered on a special birthday are sent too early without his handwritten greeting—which is still paperclipped to the order book. The florist gets on with processing the rush of early morning deliveries. It’s one of those days when she’s just too busy to care about every little detail. What the customer doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

The owner is not at the Italian restaurant on Bourke Street at 6 am when the window cleaner is training his new employee in the art of washing windows. He stands back, arms folded, observing—pointing out a smudge in the top right-hand corner of the big pane of glass. The trainee rubs it away—all the while learning about the standard he must uphold when no one is watching.

It’s a privilege to witness someone taking this much pride in what he does—work that many people might regard as menial or meaningless. It’s as if the work itself is the window cleaner’s reward. This is how we behave on our best days. We don’t make the distinction between what’s seen and unseen. We forget to make the connection between the work and some future payoff—money, attention or accolades. We simply do the best work we can for its own sake—rendering the work, ourselves and the world the better for it.

Image by Davide Gabino

The Opportunity In Shifting Expectations

filed in Brand Strategy

Your customers are changing. You are changing too. Notice how impatient we get now if we are second or third in a queue. In our world of one-click-ordering, instant downloads and movie streaming, we believe waiting is unacceptable. ‘Why can’t they just open more checkouts?!’

While it’s true that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s important to have a strategy for managing expectations as your relationship with your customers develops over time. It’s easy to become complacent and fall into the trap of thinking what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. But as our customers evolve, we must too.

It’s never been more important to regularly question what’s changed and what needs to change.

Image by freestocks


Welcome To The Meaning Economy

filed in Brand Strategy

In the 1950s and 60s when my parents were entering the workforce they created value by working with their hands in an Industrial Economy. Workers manufactured and moved things that would be consumed. In the era of the Information Economy, we began using our heads to produce value. We learned to use computers to design, code and connect. Today we’re seeing a powerful shift towards the building of the Meaning Economy where the brands and businesses that thrive are the ones that enable us to work with our hearts as well as our head and hands.

Unlike my parents who worked to put food on the table, we now want to feel proud of the work we do and the companies where we work. It’s no longer enough to make money without meaning.

The Meaning Economy has also created a new kind of customer who is drawn to brands that share and enable him to express his values. We know how we spend our money and what we choose to get behind is a vote for the future we want to see. We support businesses that are generous and mindful of the impact they make.

We’re formulating a new value equation—one that rewards work that is carried out with heart and businesses that are driven by purpose before profits. Are you ready for The Meaning Economy?

Image by Jinnstagram

What Would The Enlightened Marketer Do?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When the email subject line contains the words ‘urgent alert’ there’s no doubt about the sender’s intention. His metric for success is the number of people who open the email today—the more the better.

Instead of baiting people with messages to make them act, the enlightened marketer thinks about how his words will make customers feel. He understands things like open rates that he can easily measure, only tell part of the story.

The enlightened marketer doesn’t jeopardise his long-term strategy for a quick near-term gain. He behaves like his objective is to get to do it all again tomorrow.

Is what you’re about to do today serving your goals for tomorrow?

Ivan Rigamonti

How Could We Have Done Better?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Whether things go right or wrong, we instinctively understand there’s always room for improvement. And yet, remarkably, we rarely stop to ask ourselves exactly how we could have done better. Instead, we beat ourselves up about our failures—playing the disappointment over and over in our head. Or we self-congratulate without taking the chance to build on our success.

Success and failure are opportunities for growth in equal measure. We should make the most of them. Decide what one thing you could you have done better, then go ahead and do it the next time.

Image by Hamza Butt

Anticipating The Next Move

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

Every successful business strategy is dependent upon making a good decision about the next move. In a commercial world, we spend a lot of time planning to create growth. Often those plans rely on getting the customer to do what we want them to do—so we can make our next move.

The businesses that not only survive but thrive are the ones that anticipate and obsess about the customer’s next move. They intentionally design products and services that take the customer where she wants to go. The brands we are devoted to now—Netflix, Airbnb, Amazon and on and on are masters of seeing us and planning for our next move.

When our future is dependent on our customers, it’s their likely next move that should inform our strategy.

Image by George Pachantouris

Louder Than Words

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

We’re obsessed with finding the right words to communicate our value. We finesse our LinkedIn bios, agonise over product descriptions and sales pages. Of course, words have enormous power. But they are worthless without the actions that support them. It’s no good describing how great your product is if you haven’t put in the work to make sure it never disappoints.

Our stories are every bit as much about what we do as what we say. You have to work at being as good as the words you want to have the privilege of using.
What did you do today to tell your story?

Image by Niall Kennedy

What Do The Best Salespeople Do?

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

A young couple spent a while ‘just looking’ in the furniture store before approaching a salesperson to ask about fabric choices on a particular sofa. She showed them the swatches and said nothing. The guy asked if they had anything like it—a large squashy four-seater in leather. They didn’t.

“What size exactly are you looking for?” she asked.

The couple didn’t know, but they started to describe the style of sofa they wanted.
Comfortable, not too formal.

“Come back to us once you have your measurements.” she smiled, as they walked out the door.

The salesperson didn’t ask, where they lived, in what type of house. She forgot to find out where the sofa would go, what they would mostly use it for and the number of people in their family. She lost the business because she prioritised the facts before the story. This doesn’t happen at IKEA.

Yes, the sofa has to fit in the room physically, but it has to fit with the customer’s wants, needs, hopes and dreams first. The best salespeople always start with the story.

Image by Judith TB

The First Rule Of Standing Out

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

If you want to stand out, do the thing that’s in short supply.

When everyone is fighting for attention, be the one who earns permission.
When everyone is looking for an angle, be the one who acts with integrity.
When everyone is chasing growth, be the one who deepens connection.
When everyone seeks scale, be the one who values loyalty.
When everyone takes shortcuts, be the one who cares.

The thing that’s scarce right now is sincerity in one form or another. We’re tired of tactics that manipulate as a means to someone else’s end. In the end we win by being the exception to the rule.

Image by Thomas Hawk