People don’t become brand fans because of what they see businesses do. They invest in why business do what they do.
You might be thinking, “But wait, people will buy from “why-less” brands all the time!” (like Walmart, for instance)
My response is this: You’re right, but no one is in love with them either.
No one is proudly wearing their t-shirt.
No one is jumping through hurdles to work for them.
No one is talking up the brand to their friends because “they’re simply the best.”
At the very least, no one is coming back over and over again, ever delighted by the experience. Look at IBM vs. Apple — we all know who won that war. We also know why they won.
There’s a reason underdog airlines like Southwest and JetBlue are smoking international conglomerates like United when it comes to customer engagement. People want something more than a corporate glint on their transport from point A to point B. Humans have an innate desire for interaction, passion, and creativity.
We want soul.
For the most part, people patronize soulless giants because they need to. Sure, United offers double the number of destinations that Southwest does. And, yes, United’s airline partner list is impressive, but people book with United because they have no other options. The minute Southwest decides to expand to the same destinations, United will be eclipsed.
Why? Fans will live and die with their favorite airline if they can have a side of purpose and passion with their packaged peanuts.
Look at any inspiring, influential, and iconic brand. I guarantee that behind it is a purposeful movement to communicate why every decision gets made (not just what the decision is), both within the organization and to the outside world.
Now the question becomes: why are you doing what you do? What are your values? What’s your mission (don’t say making money)? Does your brand have a personality?
Put some soul into your business.