The Value In Added Value
In branding, small gestures make big impacts.
At Joie de Vivre salon, Katie will put a warm towel over your face while she massages your head in the sink.
The towel comes out of an appliance the size of a mini refrigerator and is piping with steam when she coils it around your face in a spiral that ends on the tip of your nose. At this point, she’s already cut and washed your hair, but then she spends a few extra minutes working her fingers into the flesh of your scalp like a potter with clay. When you’re in the chair with your head reclined into a bowl and your eyes covered in a steamy, cottony twilight, it’s impossible to know how long the massage lasts. Sometimes it feels like hours, but honestly, it’s never long enough. When Katie removes the towel from your face, you will keep your eyes shut for a just few more moments in a fleeting effort to savor this feeling before you join her in the brighter reality that is 1PM on a Tuesday.
Katie does not charge extra for the towel and scalp massage. It’s just something she does. It’s a small service that comes with the experience you’re paying for. When asked why she does it, Katie says, “Because it’s special and it helps my clients find a little peace.” And that’s exactly the reason why she’s got an appointment book full of loyal customers. They could get their hair cut anywhere, but they return to Katie again and again because she cuts hair and then provides an experience you can’t really get anywhere else — a few minutes to check out and let go.
Across town at the DoubleTree Hotel, the front desk clerk hands a free cookie to everyone who checks in. Across the globe, DoubleTree gives out approximately 77,000 chocolate chip cookies each day, adding up to more than 28 million cookies annually. Much like JetBlue Airline’s Terra Blue potato chips, these cookies have become just as synonymous with the DoubleTree brand as the company name. Why? Because it’s a memorable, added value to the customer’s experience just like Katie’s magic massages. Also, the cookies are delicious.
Brand awareness is all about building associations here and there. Efforts to build brand awareness can range from full-scale, multimedia marketing campaigns to small, intimate gestures between the brand and the customer. And believe it or not, these small, intimate gestures can make a much more emotional impact, which is the entire point of branding in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong though; you need a mixture of large-scale, targeted messaging and you need a strategy for making personal, human-to-human connections. You want to position your company as a team of real people so that other real people out there in the world can feel connected to you. Those connections that you will strive to achieve across the lifecycle of your business are essential to keeping you relevant, significant, and profitable. In short, it’s all about building relationships with the people you serve.
You don’t necessarily have to hand out warm chocolate chip cookies or massage scalps all day, but you’ve got to give your people something original and memorable that resonates with them. That’s how you build a brand with heart.
So ask yourself: What can I do as a business-owner to show my customers that I actually, genuinely care about them?