Are you letting people love you?

Do you remember the band Silverchair? I was basically obsessed with their bassist, Chris Joannou, for a good portion of the mid 90s. Next to Beyonce and John Marsden, he's really the only "celeb" I've been crazy about (crazy, as in going into the State Library to find a NSW phonebook so I could call ALL the Joannou's in his state in the hope of reaching him #epicfail).

Years ago, I ran an event at Vivid Ideas with my fellow biz friend, Kate Dinon, all about building brand love. I put a pic of Joannou in my slides and also a pic of my husband. The point I was making by doing this was that brand love can go from temporary lust (i.e. Chris) to full on lifetime loyalty (my husband).

How does a brand instil the latter in their audience? By moving them through three main stages:

  1. Know

  2. Like

  3. Trust

I was thinking about these three stages last week when I went to pick up some new reading glasses. Now, I've worn glasses since I was 17 and I'm supposed to wear them 24/7 (I have frames for reading, non-reading and sunglasses). As glasses have become cheaper and, well, cooler, I've racked up SO many, mainly from one particular brand.

So, here I was in this brand's store and I started thinking about ALLLLL the frames I had at home. I asked how much it was to get new lenses put in old frames and was told it's $10 cheaper than getting new frames. I then asked if perhaps I could bring in all my frames and they might recycle them or donate them to people in need (with no expectation of payment or discount). I was told, "Oh no, we don't do that...you could try a charity".

Now, obviously I know and like this brand, but in that moment my ability to truly trust and LOVE them was removed. How does a business whose only product is eyewear and that actively promotes people update their glasses every 12 months not have a strategy for recycling or donating all the glasses already sold? Unlike many businesses, they cater to a group that will need their product, in the main, for their ENTIRE lives. If I live until I'm 90 and don't get contacts (#JustCantDoIt), I'll go through roughly 40 pairs of glasses. What happens to all those frames?

Yes, I can just get new lenses put in old frames and do my own small amount to help the planet, but short of having Warby Parker enter the Australian market, I'm at a loss to find a eyewear brand I can 100% LOVE and stay loyal to for decades.

Consider your own business and the lifecycle of what you offer for its products or services. Ask yourself, how are you getting your audience to not only know about you and actually like you, but to become a brand they trust and absolutely can fall in love with? What is important to them that they see reflected in your brand's promise? Is it giving back, continually innovating, being first to market or just consistently showing up with valuable content not found elsewhere?

To paraphrase Leandra Medine Cohen of Man Repellar, you don't need to be something to everyone, you just need to be everything to someone. Figure that out and you're enabling people — your ideal group of people — to love you.

Ps. Brands I love because they offer something different and have a great story behind them: Warby Parker, Melody Ehsani, Everlane, Art Comes First, Glossier, Collective Closets, Apple (#MyBankAccountDoesnt) + loads more!

Fiona Killackey