Speaking to a colleague and a client of mine last week our conversation about branding turned into our views of what is the essence of this field. To me it has always been about developing a brand with a rich enough personality, which can be found relevant by the right people, and with whom these people look forward to develop a lasting relationship. Many times we, the consumers, become disillusioned by these relationships, but when we are rewarded back by these brands we quickly become loyal to them. That is our nature as human beings, and I believe that interacting with a brand should be no different from this. 5 years ago I remember inwardly advising Staples, the office supply chain, to replace all its rude clerks in their New York store with robots. Today I enjoy visiting their store and being greeted, helped and serviced with a genuine smile.
We all want the same in life: to be loved and to be happy. We don't buy products, we buy experiences and hope they will turn into enriching relationships.
In good timing my wife forwarded me this article from the New York Times that speaks about how in times of and post recession experiences become more valuable, and more meaningful. I cannot agree more.
The New York Times article can be found here