Dimensions of Compatibility

How does a brand make the transition from merely being well thought of to becoming beloved by its customers? Is it just about creating a great product or service, or does it take something more today to arouse that type of passion?

One of the most powerful aspects of the rise of the social marketing channel has been its ability to allow brands to further define and share with consumers exactly who they are as a brand, in the context of a two way dialog. Many marketers are finding that using social platforms (and other digital touch points) to reveal a brand’s personality, its values and core beliefs over an extended period of time, combined with listening to and understanding what the brand’s consumers care about in order to find the common points of intersection, are an effective way to naturally attract consumers and build deeper relationships that are based on more than just the functional benefits of the brand’s product or service.

This concept of deeper connections based on a deeper understanding of the other reminds me of eHarmony’s approach to online dating. eHarmony espouses a different approach to the dating game that they say results in longer-lasting relationships. Their process of evaluating “dimensions of compatibility” is based on survey questions that examine multiple dimensions of the human person. Answers to the questions are used to find these overlapping dimensions and help match up would-be couples. eHarmony categorizes these dimensions into “core traits” and “vital attributes” such as social style, relationship skills, values and beliefs, and key experiences.  eHarmony asks question such as,

“How do you relate to other people and how do you express yourself?”

“How do you deal with and resolve conflicts?”

“What values and beliefs impact how you think about the world around you?”

“What are the key experiences in your life that have shaped who you are?”

So, what if brands approached consumer relationships in a similar way? Such an approach could present an opportunity to find deeper connections with consumers. Consumers could theoretically be armed with a greater understanding of brand and therefore connect emotionally with brands on multiple levels.  The product works great? I’m willing to start dating. The product works great, shares my sense of humor and expresses values that I share? Now, I’m starting to fall deeper in love.

Perhaps the secret of transitioning from casual dating to going steady with consumers is about finding these multiple levels to connect on. It takes a shift in mindset for most marketers, however – instead of a strategy that attempts to appeal to everyone, it’s about putting yourself out there and attracting like-minded people, and being o.k. with the fact that some people will not feel the attraction. But in the end, fewer customers who care more deeply about the brand (and are willing to buy more often) could offer a more sustainable approach and business model.

What’s your take?

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