I bet you can recall most of the times a truly magical moment happened in your life. Our brains do a funny thing when we connect with a magical moment - we create a photographed memory the likes of which lasts a lifetime. These magical moments are what create the value we receive out of an experience, making it worth every penny invested and even more. These created experiences should be the ultimate goal in business and life.
Imagine what business would feel like if companies focused on creating these magical moments in time, to craft our experiences with them so thoughtfully that it feels like a service. Companies like IBM, and thought leaders like Jay Baer, author of "Youtility" are trying to pave the way for this concept, but the reality is, it's becoming increasingly harder to create positive experiences, no less magical ones. Have you done a search for the hashtag #fail on Twitter? I ran a social listening report and analyzed, over a 30 day period, the term "#fail" versus a much more positive term, "#thankyou". As you can probably guess, #fail appeared 578,532 times - or 68% - versus just 264,985 - or 32% - for #thankyou. Clearly, complaining on social is much easier than complimenting. Saving my rhetoric on our propensity to focus on the negative, I do believe humans legitimately have higher expectations for brands than ever before, because we, as customers, have a very loud voice through social.
Here are five ways to make your marketing magical:
1) Listen. Those of you who know me have heard this over and over. It seems simple, but most companies aren't utilizing the social web to listen in on what's going on around them, and especially their competition. This is not a "one hit wonder" exercise; I recommend an ongoing deep dive on social listening to see what your customers and competition are saying. Either way, the exercise should give you upfront answers to help you foster and create ongoing positive experiences and engagement.
2) Provide Value through your Service. I am absolutely in love with Uber, the app-based car service that, at the touch of a finger, provides you with rockstar transportation for about the same cost as a taxi. To me, they stick out as the best example of a company who took a commodity - ride service - and turned it into an extraordinary experience. It's just a taxi service with an app, right? Wrong. Black Lincoln town cars. Fuji water waiting for you inside. No tips allowed. Some drivers even sport iPads with Spotify for the riders to choose their own tunes for the ride. The true value in their service is the communication the app delivers at every step of the transportation process: a driver rating system you can trust, and accuracy from front to end on pick and delivery. This, coupled with magical moments along the way, makes it the best in class. (And side note: why their model has taxi companies up in arms staging protests across the country: How dare they challenge the broken system everyone's grown accustomed to?! Disruptors be damned!)
3) Create the Unexpected. It may sound hard to create something repeatable and consistent to deliver the unexpected, but it's not. Delivering the unexpected comes on an individual basis when they're able to deliver service authentically and in context of the situation. This means you have to empower your workforce to listen and deliver independently, and intently. Teaching how to deliver unexpected experiences should be a mandatory company-wide class for those who believe in the power of magic.
4) Gamify your Moments. Let's face it; games are fun! I'm always a proponent of making things fun and a competitive experience, because by human nature, it keeps people engaged, motivated and talking. Gamifying your brand experiences touches upon each person's unique need to see their individual contribution AND company-wide rate of growth, while creating momentum with the crowd.
5) Make it a Surprise. I am so gratified and delighted when I see the look on someone's face when they receive something unexpected. I also love hearing - and sharing - the stories about random acts of kindness that made a difference in someone's life. When you create opportunities for people to share these experiences with a sense of pride, say, across social networks, you'll soon see that delighting people is surprisingly repeatable.
Key Takeaway: Simply put, brands need to work harder to craft magical moments to create everlasting loyalty to your product or brand. Yes, it's a moving target, but if you're not afraid to embrace emerging social tools and shed your fear of failure, the joy, surprise and delight of your customers will be nothing short of magical.