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Roadblocks and Other Obstacles

Have you ever wondered why so many jokes seem to begin with the phrase: “So, three guys walk into a bar…?”

Is it because most funny things begin with the same particular situation? Of course not, but there are similar circumstances or rules that a comic follows in order to create a funny story.

Chip and Dan Heath released a book that takes Malcolm Gladwell’s premise of “stickiness” in the book The Tipping Point to new levels of detail. In the Heath book Made to Stick, the authors suggest that comics aren’t the only ones who can create a needed situation. Marketers, brand managers, and business can also develop the familiarity they seek in customer loyalty and understanding by following some simple rules. Their rules are to be simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and tell a story – kind of how I opened this article.

But there is an obstacle to this foundational structure to brand success. They call it the “Curse of Knowledge.”

You see, because you have learned something, it is challenging to not have it cloud your creativity. It becomes more difficult, if not impossible, to see what consumers new to your business or product really feel. As a result, you come up with the same ideas that don’t work rather than with fresh ones.

They state the only solution is to either transform your idea into a different concept that isn’t learned or to just not learn anything to begin with.

I chose the second option, of course…”No really, try the veal. I’m here all week.”

The strategy is not new, but it is tricky – and it relates well to the concept of becoming trustworthy to your consumer. This is the third point of five we will share over the next couple of articles in the “What To Do” series.

The principle is this: relationships are built on trust – and they die by broken trust. If you hope to build a strong brand, start by keeping true to what you promise. Isn’t that the truth? And it fits perfectly into the comic scenario I gave earlier. The reason we start jokes with familiar set ups is that we know what to expect at that point. There’s a punch line coming!

By providing a familiar set up (or in our case, a promise), you actually have to work less at satisfying your customer needs because they expect a good experience from you! As a result, those obstacles that the Made to Stick book talks about – the knowledge and understanding barrier – dissolve because your consistent, persistent promise will always be there to help the consumer “get it.”

Principle “T” in you brand building efforts should focus on building trust.

By applying a consistent, trustworthy promise every single time your customer experiences you, you help them make the decision each time. And, better yet, they never have to make the decision because they already know they can, and will, trust you!

Here’s a preview of brand principle “M.” Be Moving – Experiential marketing can be a great thing. It develops loyalty, affinity and brings in more sales if done right.

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