“Given our goal of achieving a strong relationship with the prospect, it’s vital to know what the inner layer is…shared values are the foundation of strong relationships.” ~ Jim Signorelli, StoryBranding
Research shows that “shared values” are the main reason customers develop ongoing relationships with businesses and brands. The question arises — how do entrepreneurs and marketers effectively leverage their effort to build these kinds of relationships?
We all love loyal, long-term customers, but the fact of the matter is that people aren’t actively looking “brand loyalty.” Rather, they seek to get things they want in the best and/or easiest way possible. They’re not interested in your business except insofar as it appeals to their self-interest.
When you boil is down, people aren’t loyal to your business; they’re loyal to themselves. They will keep buying from you as long as you accommodate that.
Perhaps this is the ultimate shared value. Your customers have their own priorities, motivations, needs and desires. They will always put themselves and their loved ones first. If you also put your customers’ needs first — and make it supremely easy for them to meet those needs by doing business with you — being loyal to your business becomes another way they can be loyal to themselves.
Gary Bencivenga, one of the greatest copywriters in history: “Let me tell you something—I’ve never bought an aspirin…because I want a relationship with my druggist. I buy aspirin because I have a headache!”
The relationship isn’t the main point. Getting rid of the pain is.
You don’t go to the hospital because you want to be around doctors. But when you’re sick, you prefer to call the family doctor who already knows you and your medical history…who you already like and trust.
You don’t latch onto products, services or companies because you need brand loyalty in your life. But when you have a need, you choose the one you believe will best satisfy that need.
A business gets extra credit when it also values what you value and makes you feel comfortable being yourself. The positive emotions surrounding that experience can become their own justification for long-term patronage and referrals.
Sharing values with your target audience is important and powerful, especially for services and high-priced products.
When I disparaged shared values in the previous newsletter, I should have been clearer. I strongly advise you to figure out your story and your values, but make sure you spend just as much time getting familiar with your customers’ stories and values. Connect your values to theirs — or find customers with whom you have common values and with whom your story resonates deeply.
Take a courageous stand for something you believe in and you’ll rally a faithful army around you. Or at least you’ll be closer than if you didn’t stand for anything.