Marketing ultimately is about values

23rd December 2013

In my book, The Power of Wow! Why Thank You Makes Dollars & Sense, I discuss how powerful it is to connect emotionally with your customers.

In particular, the chapter I wrote, Memorable moments: defining the customer experience covers the key buying patterns of consumers and how that can impact your business. For instance, our priorities, values and emotions come into play when we choose what we purchase.

Every business provides a customer experience; however, do you communicate your values and how does it resonate with your customers? The simple fact that your business has customers means you interact with them in some form or another. You provide them with products or services; therefore, they have interacted with and experienced your business and brand.

I read an article this morning, written by Drake Baer, for Inc.com. The article focused on timeless branding lessons from a young Steve Jobs.

Drake, writes about how Steve Jobs was able to rebuild his own brand. “It’s a complicated and noisy world,” mused a younger Steve Jobs, “and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us.”

That chance to make a memory, he says, is the essence of brand marketing.

A brand is not so much about rational arguments; Jobs argues, but the way that the company resonates with people emotionally.

The video below demonstrates how Jobs used Nike as a case study:

Nike sells a commodity, they sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product, they don’t ever talk about their air soles, how they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What’s Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honour great athletics. That is what they are about.

Branding answers the question of what are we here to do?, he says. And so, somewhat similar to Nike, Apple rediscovered that they were all about accessible aspiration. Jobs continues on, fitting self-knowledge to marketing know-how:

Our customers want to know, “Who is Apple and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world?” What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, though we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody in some cases. But Apple’s about something more than that: Apple, at the core, its core value, is we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe.

Drake, writes about having done that existential legwork, Jobs enthused that it was time to bring that message to the people with a marketing strategy. And while the markets changed, the company has changed, their products and distribution and all the other details have changed; the core values stay steadfast.

“The things Apple believes in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today,” he says. “And so we wanted to find a way to communicate this.”

That approach would make Apple the success it is today:

Think about how you communicate your essence / core values to your target market. Is it relevant? Do you know your clients’ expectations, emotional needs and their values? Our world continues to change rapidly and if our businesses don’t keep up or make a genuine connection, one thing is for sure: we’ll be left behind. We might not even know it until it’s too late.