On the surface, the most deflating insight relating to brand development and content marketing I’ve come across recently is a Harvard Business Review blog entitled Three Myths about What Customers Want.
After interviewing 7000 consumers, researchers Karen Freeman, Patrick Spenner and Anna Bird concluded that “only 23% of the consumers … said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues.”
As caretaker of SHiFT and an unabashed brand evangelist, I had to grapple with this for a while. But the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. As the authors write, for most people, “relationships” are not something most people want from (with) a brand.
So does this mean our efforts at brand engagement are a waste of time? Absolutely not. It just means we need to give those who value the underlying culture, personality and mission of your brand reasons to believe. For the other 77%, it means keeping your company accessible through search platforms and making your value promise easy to understand.
The courtship to keep the 23% engaged with the brand is important work. These are the drivers of your reputation. Given the motivation and the communication tools, they’ll reach out to the rest of the world with good things to say about you.