Do people want to hang out with your brand?

Imagine you are at a party. Only the guests are not people, they are brands. John Lewis is there, so is Superdrug, Armani and Boots. Who are they as people and would you want to hang out with them?

This is who I think they are and what’s going on.

John Lewis is a 55 year old man. Smartly dressed but understated, he’s engaged in a conversation about the economy. He’s listening more than talking in the group and people value what he’s got to say when he does talk. Not exactly the life and soul of the party, he’s still the person people want to have there because he’s respected and can talk to anybody about anything.

Superdrug is a 19 year old woman. She’s a little overdressed for the party (with too much fake tan) but she brings the fun. She’s bouncing round talking to everybody and getting people up to dance. She’s also trying to find the karaoke machine.

Armani is a 35 year old man. Immaculate appearance and likes to be the centre of attention. A little too self-absorbed for some, he’s still holding court with a few people who want to hear more about his lifestyle (and indeed aspire to it). He’s doing most of the talking (about himself).

Boots is a 32 year old woman. She’s not the leader in her group of friends but is down to earth and likes to have a bit of fun. Boots is good company and she’s talking to somebody about recent holidays and the antics their kids are getting up to. She’s bright and articulate. And drinking white wine.

Fast forward three hours and John Lewis about to drive home in his Jag. He offers Boots and Superdrug a lift into town as they are going clubbing (Boots normally wouldn’t go but after a few wines Superdrug has managed to talk her into it). Armani left a while ago, making sure he let people know that he had some VIP thing to attend.

Apart from John Lewis I’m not really the customer for those brands. You can see that from the way I’ve written this post, and they’re the brand I want to hang out with. Some others doing this exercise may see John Lewis as snooty, some may see them as boring. The point I’m making is that your brand identity means different things to different people. But if you do this exercise then you’ll get a stronger sense of who want to be to your own customers (and what you’re not).

People want to feel a connection beyond the transaction. If you’re a challenger brand this is even more important as you’ve got to get somebody to break off an existing relationship to come and spend time with you.

Who are you at the party and why does your customer want to hang out with you?