What Matters Most in Brand Relationships?

By Maura Troester Nuñez, Ph.D. / April 3, 2015 / No Comments

Reliability.
Responsibility.
Respect.
Sincerity.
Transparency.
Trust.
Reciprocity.
A clear purpose.
A shared purpose.
When we pull ourselves out of old school marketing modes, some measures become more important and others become less important. That’s because the goal in relationship building isn’t persuasion. It’s trust, loyalty and the creation of economic value that transcends dollar amounts.

But there’s a more profound transformation that happens when we change our goal from “persuading someone to buy” to “building an economic relationship” with them.  Persuasion has an implicit logic of power embedded in it. Basically, the persuader assumes a truth that goes something like, “If I say X and show Y, I can make people do what I want.” In this scenario, the balance of power within the economic exchange is skewed. The advertiser falsely assumes he/she wields enormous power over millions of people. This leads to attitudes of the sort that prompted David Ogilvy to say, “The consumer isn’t stupid. She’s your wife.”

Thanks to digital technology, power has shifted back to the consumer. Just read one of the 1.27 million web pages devoted to airing complaints about United Airlines. Or the 2.07 million “Walmart sucks” pages. The truth is brands have had relationships with people all along. A lot of brand managers forgot that fact but consumers never forget.

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