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customer experience
Alex Wilmott
  • By Alex Wilmott
  • Feb 18 2016

Love is as Fickle as it is Blind

Dissecting Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day passed by once again, under a growing scepticism of the British public. With people taking to Twitter en-masse to ridicule, challenge and expose so much of the corporate nonsense that surrounds the event, it is becoming clear that the market is open for brands to get creative about their USP. But business leaders will first need to recognise that when it comes to delivering a customer experience that people love, ironically; love doesn’t have much to do with it.

“The driving force of kinship is the desire to build deeper relationships, where we can feel part of something rather than a loyalty scheme. It’s key to engaging with others who’ll be proud to wear the badge, where everyone feels a sense of belonging” Tim Wade

I’ve heard it said that the test of a marriage comes when the feelings of the honeymoon fade and it comes down the two parties ‘choosing’ to love. This relationship truth applies for customer acquisition and retention in the modern world.

It feels great when a customer says they ‘love’ a new product or a new campaign, but what happens when a competitor steps in and completes one of these three tasks:

  1. Improves on your product
  2. Offers a more complete customer experience
  3. Provides a similar service for less

What consumer choices will your customers make when their feelings for your brand fade?

If a customer’s love is the sole objective for marketeers and sales teams, the success might not stand the test of time. At Smith + Co we would argue that ‘kinship’ is definitely as important, if not more so, when it comes to how your customers feel about you. Tim Wade underpinned the ins and outs of this notion of ‘kinship’ in his no-nonsense article for Contagious Magazine last year.

“The driving force of kinship is the desire to build deeper relationships, where we can feel part of something rather than a loyalty scheme. It’s key to engaging with others who’ll be proud to wear the badge, where everyone feels a sense of belonging”.

Brands that managed to look beyond Cupid’s bow this Valentine’s Day also saw great online customer engagement.

Giffgaff, renown for taking a unique approach to mobile communications, Tweeted an alternative Valentine’s message: “Mario’s red, Sonic is blue, Valentine’s is rubbish and video games are a lot more fun than sending cards”.

Ann Summers, the revolutionary underwear brand, took a whole new approach and decided to celebrate February 15th as well: ”Today is ‘Singles Awareness Day’ so tell us why you love being single… in Emojis! Best entry will win a Moregasm Move toy!”

Netflix also wandered off the beaten track and launched a video highlighting how important it is to take an interest in your partner’s TV favourites. Attached to the well-executed short film they simply tweeted: “Dating. With Netflix. It’s a thing.”

Effective organisations are possessed by relentless commitment to improvement, and seeking a better way. Valentine’s Day, much like Black Friday, is seen with scepticism and disdain by large consumer groups in the UK. Ambitious brands will need to carve out a better way of intgerating their stories with these annual events. Sometimes this ‘better way’ comes in the form of a game-changing innovation, but often it is just the everyday focus on innovation in many small ways throughout the business.

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