Your memories are the most important chronicle of your life. It’s the powerful impressions from your past that count. They define who you are and why you are the way you are. When I think about my past life, I think about fleeting moments of joy, sorrow, pain and ecstasy. I don’t remember the whole story, yet I do remember the strongest points that make the thread worth following and continuing.
An example of experience
The same applies to professional life. When I think of my era in Mather PR, I think of pastries from Albert. I recall coming in early in the morning at 7 o’clock on one winter day, sitting in a wonderfully furnished empty office and shedding tears, because I was heartbroken. I think of a humiliating de-brief where my former boss got angry at me for the first time. Another story that sticks is a Christmas party, when we started drinking and laughing at 8:00 in the morning, and did not stop until 3:00 a.m. the next day. The first taste of success, when a client praised me for getting him onto the front page of a major daily, stays forever engraved in my memory as well.
These memories formed my experience and made the agency brand a part of my life. I’m not going to remember that firm as a socially responsible employer. I remember MPR as a place full of strong personalities and as an environment into which I perfectly fitted, although I didn’t know it at the time.
Enough of nostalgia! What am I driving at?
Remembering brands follows the very same process as remembering our lives. We don’t recall all good things that a brand has done for us. We remember moments that set the brand apart from others. Chances are that you leave these impressions up to chance and don’t create or manage them. The truth is: you can’t. Your marketing team would have to quadruple in size and go crazy shortly afterwards in order to do that. There are so many variables to influence in order to be able to manage this customer experience.
The good news is that you are not powerless when it comes to creating breath-taking experiences. You just have to look at it in a more subtle fashion. A memorable experience comes from interacting with people and having your feelings aroused by stress, happiness, sorrow, lust or others.
Your job as a marketer is to surround your brand by people who can incite the feelings pertaining to your brand in other people. It doesn’t matter who they are – customer service, sales force, PR, top management.
How delightfully simple, isn’t it? You still won’t be able to manage or control customers’ innermost experiences, but you will increase the odds of creating them. Welcome to the new age of marketing, where we are coming back to basics.
If I were you or your C-suite boss, I’d take the HR Director out for a lunch.