What signals are you sending?
Everything sends a signal. Every detail of what you say or don’t say, what you show or don’t show sends a signal. To the recipient of that signal it goes in and it gets processed and a meaning is assigned. That is just neuroscience. That’s what happens.
A great example of this, there’s a photo of clothing brand line called Ivanka Trump. The photo has a sweater, it has the label Ivanka Trump, and it has a price reduction by Marshalls from $36 or so down to a dollar, and then it shows that it was made in China. There’s a lot going on in this particular photo. It’s sending a signal, so there’s a social message about the price knocked down, the price breakdown, and then there’s the brand itself, which is a lot of controversy around stores dropping this brand because it’s not selling.
The made in China piece is in direct violation or incongruent messaging based on what that brand stands for, which is making American great again. Everything sends a signal, and that’s a great, great example.
Trust is the gateway emotion.
A similar topic was a red hat that said, “Make America great again,” and inside the label it says, “Made in China.” That’s exactly, what it does is it completely erodes trust. Trust is the gateway emotion. You’ve heard me say that, if you haven’t you’re going to hear me say it a lot in my material. Emotional connection, what happens is like any relationship, is we walk through gates of connection, almost like hurdles of connection. There’s awareness and there’s curiosity and intrigue and actual interest, and then there is engagement and then there’s trust. Trust is the linchpin to the rest of the relationship. It’s what I call the gateway emotion. Everything sends a signal for or against building upon that, the experience of the brand, of the relationship, either adding or detracting from the value.
Customer experience is the culmination of many, many touch points. Everything you do, everything you say or choose not to say, verbal, non-verbal, every communication, visual, multi-sensory, is communication, and it sends a signal. You want to get clear about the signals you’re sending, how they’re being perceived in the minds and hearts of your audience, and then go to task for designing that experience so that you can control to the extent that you can control what’s being perceived about your brand. Design the experience.
Kerri Konik is a seasoned brand strategist and leading expert in igniting emotional connection and optimizing customer experience to drive business growth. She is a consultant, advisor and speaker on catalyzing the emotional bonds between customers, brands, and leaders to increase value, progress, and accelerate the speed of change, growth and desired impact. An entrepreneur at heart, Kerri has launched five businesses, and is the CEO of InspireFire, a women-owned brand strategy and marketing consultancy based in Philadelphia.