My family: on brand relationships

Inspired by a recent gym injury (see there’s always a silver lining)

I strained a calf muscle this week, and amidst my dismay, the delightful people at my local gym brought light, both employees and members:

‘someone look after Rachel’: personalisation

‘I’ll help you the bandage’: customer care

‘that’s happened to me – it really hurts’: empathy

‘just focus on your upper body over the next few days‘: a tailored resolution that proved they understood me – the last thing I wanted to do was to ’rest up’ and they knew this was causing my dismay, not the injury itself

When I told my friends about it (my 2nd family), they said I should take a few days off to which I responded ‘but the people at the gym are like my family’ (my 3rd family).

As a brand you’d be proud that this was your experience. Brand managers work tirelessly at building closer connections with our customers, communicating to groups of like-minded people with relevant and compelling messages, delivering the experience they expect against your promise, getting them involved in the brand experiences they desire through interaction, participation, co-creation, collaboration – and sharing them with their friends, more like-minded people.

So is this my brand family?

I’m now going to add a spanner in the works. This experience doesn’t actually make me feel any better about the brand of gym I attend. Oops. The people I would take anywhere and would quite happily have to my place for tea. The corporate brand behind the local people, no thanks.  

They are my family. The brand is not.

Disconnect. Somewhere between the local light and corporate cool, the corporate, consumer and employer brands are not aligned such that the member experience at a local level actually outweighs the perceptions of the brand at a corporate level.

You want to be my brand family?

Start with desired employee-member interactions at the coal-face. This is a great opportunity for refreshing the corporate brand from the grass roots up. 

Image source: | Michal Bednarek


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