100 Percent Perfect
perfection the best characteristic for a brand? Until
recently, many might have said yes. Martha Stewart
fans certainly would have agreed. Year after year,
the ever-perfect Martha concocted one perfect piece
of decorating advice after another. Her brand-building
was perfect ... but repetition of such reliable perfection
made the occasional mistake glaringly obvious.
ultimate brand is like a real person. The more human
the components associated with a brand, the stronger
it is. The most successful brands will often exhibit
human qualities. Instances of brands that offer extraordinarily
good service usually coincide with those brands that
have a human touch.
of us have emailed or phoned questions and/or complaints
about brands. When replies have a human voice, they've
generally addressed our concerns. Such replies typically
exhibit the writer's authority and credibility ...
the authority to write as a credible individual.
customers, we demand brands deliver on expectations.
It's a minimum standard to expect a brand to reply
to inquiries within 24 hours. That's probably about
as far as we allow our expectations to go. So minimal
are expectations now, a response that deviates from
a standard automatic reply and provides just a glimpse
of a person behind it adds equity to the brand.
human touch has enormous value. A brand that exhibits
that quality it is likely to become a favourite.
achieve this, a brand must develop human behaviour.
And human behaviour is rarely perfect. To err is human.
Slips, quirks and idiosyncratic behaviours define
our unique personalities. Brands should attempt to
do the same.
get me wrong. I'm not talking about messing up your
account status or filling email messages and letters
with spelling errors. Make a brand's behaviour real.
Consistency is a valuable trait. But mechanical perfection
and artificial sameness can alienate.
huge banking corporations. Edifices in steel and glass
line our main streets, plastered with huge corporate
logos and filled with people uniformly dressed. How
don't need sterile predictability to maintain a professional
image. Adherence to conformity can reflect senior
if Martha had a cake flop ... if a painting hanging
on her wall wasn't straight ... what if she admitted
to a terrible hangover. Chinks in the image would
reinforce it, not weaken it. They would inspire empathy
in the armour only appear to be faults to the wearer.
From a distance, a consumer sees reinforcement. A
few chinks in Martha's brand could have armed her
against the day a real mistake happened.
a perfect image to the world and the world expects
perfection. Such expectations may not work to your
benefit. Before re-designing your website, TV campaign,
shop decoration, or whatever generates traffic and
revenue, consider the level of perfection you want
to maintain. Maybe perfection is not all it's cracked
up to be.