When an entrepreneur is building a brand the focus is often on the ‘doing’ side of things. For too many that starts and stops at the veneer they want (deciding a name, getting a logo, applying it to everything that moves). But more fully it can extend across and align the full sphere of things a business does to operate.
There is a second less tangible aspect that is inter-related to and results from the doing side – how all these activities make people feel weaves in and out and around the before and after. However, ‘the what we need to do’ question is rarely coupled with the ‘how will that make people feel’ chaser. And without the one, two punch the doing can often land flat – or worse.
Of course as usual, I’m not just talking customers here. The same philosophy can be applied to ‘us-tomers’, partners, suppliers and investors. It can be applied to anyone in the stakeholder landscape. And while there are times when the feeling aspect might be put at the forefront, mostly it’s left in the background as an unintended consequence or result, not a point of active consideration.
This is especially true if you’re trying to get me to do something new or different. If how I’m feeling isn’t aligned with what you want me to do then the chances I’ll do it are pretty slim. Which is why so many change initiatives fail (they start at the wrong end of the doing feeling equation but that’s a whole other blog).
Without thinking about how people are feeling you often can’t even figure out the doing or will miss where things can go awry. The shift to online self service for customer interactions by banks and other businesses is one example.
An article I read the other week made the point that self-service was great until it wasn’t, until they couldn’t find what they needed and the online FAQ couldn’t answer the question. It was great until they were feeling confused and/or frustrated. Then that thing they had been doing that felt great (being in control doing it on their own time) quickly got out of sync.
The frustration the author was referring to was because he wanted to use self-service, felt good about being able to do that then he suddenly wasn’t able to and had to call and talk to someone. The feeling of empowerment that had been so much a part of what he was doing was suddenly stripped away and now he felt helpless and at the mercy of the customer service phone hell. Of course, for others they would prefer to speak to someone first up and feel overwhelmed by having to do things online.
And here is where the real work of the doing feeling inter-relationship lies. Because while doing can be quite static, the same thing over and over again, the feeling aspect is fluid and subject to all sorts of things out of your control. So, what’s a business to do? You can’t account for all the feelings all the time and I don’t believe anyone really expects that. However, I do think that acknowledging and accounting for more than one of them is a good idea.
What people do expect is that you won’t actively ignore the way they are feeling. But every business has a great secret super power they can use to get insight about the doing/feeling dance, and no I’m not talking about focus groups or external consultants…
Every business has people who work for it, who run it. These people are both ‘us-tomers’ of their company and customers of other businesses. Who likely have been, in turn, happy and unhappy with the way those businesses have done things. So why don’t more use this super power?
I have no idea. I know that when they do the resulting brand is stronger and more resilient, with customers and ‘us-tomers’ who stick around.
See you next week.
Michel is an Independent Brand Analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.