Do you really know me?

Do you really know me?
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What best describes you?

If your brand doesn’t integrate in my life in a seamless way, I won’t care, I’ll move on. To be frank, I’m just not that easily impressed. There are always other options.

If my life is interrupted by a random, irrelevant message it will be filtered out along with the rest of the crap I see and hear daily. So, make it good and truly delight me. Most importantly, do it with subtlety. You have one chance… two tops. Give me substance, something to enrich my life. If you care about me, my world and the environment I live in, I’ll believe everything you say and do. Not only that, I’ll tell everyone because I’ll be so proud of you.

Offer me something that allows me to grow and develop on a personal level. Respond to and anticipate my thoughts, my goals and life changes. Stay relevant to my lifestyle.  Make it about me, not us.

Jack Threads – I really like what you’re on about, but I don’t need multiple device push notifications of your products sent to me every single day. For god’s sake, I haven’t even bought anything yet. I may do, but in my own time. For this reason I’ve unsubscribed.

And then there’s my local caf√© in North Sydney. Guys, I don’t particularly want to have a D&M at 7.30am with your staff that I barely know, in front of eight people. A polite and familiar nod will be ok.

The ultimate “what the…” goes to E-toll, E-way, e-tag, e-pass. Really? You’re so messy and confused, every moment spent with you is arduous. Facts are facts. The infrequent communication I have with you is copy-heavy, bureaucratic, unhelpful. Which of the half-a -dozen sites do I enter? You are but one component of my life’s administration. Learn how to make it simple please.

So what brands in my life are doing it right? Thanks online retail and yes, Amazon, I’m talking about you (and yes, there are others). You remember my purchases and then give me spot on recommendations when I want more. You take the hassle out of the search and inspire me along the way. You seem to know me. Ditto iTunes.

ING Direct – your customer service is like no other. Thanks for calling to check in. I know exactly what’s going on with my account and so do you. The fact that you do gives me the same sense of security as an old mate who’s shared tough times. You’re smart. Are you the only bank out there that gives its customers direct access to a human being?

You make the claim that you’re easy to deal with, so just as well you haven’t let me down. You need me, you want me. You even dare to pin the tagline ‘Spend your life well’ alongside your brand. Not many of the others could do the same with conviction, but strangely, I actually believe you. You make promises and keep them.

Bottom line, everything about my relationship with Amazon, iTunes and ING Direct makes me feel special and important. So listen up the rest of you.

Having absolute clarity about your product or service offer, its brand personality, values, target market and how it can offer relevance and meaning might sound like generic brand housekeeping, but you’d be surprised how often these basic questions are answered poorly.

Don’t underestimate the complexity of brand consumer relationships. There’s no room for complacency. Brands operate in unassuming life domains such as politics, finance and entertainment. They permeate our lives socially and culturally; they can be abusive, pathological and addictive. Know your consumer, know your brand and manage the relationship responsibly, ethically and skillfully. If you do, everyone gains.

Rick Carlino is an account director at Hulsbosch.

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