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The Power of Connecting

During this time of constant media coverage of the impending Presidential election, I am constantly reminded of the words of Dr. Frank Luntz, world-renowned professor, political consultant, and author of the book Words that Work.

In the book, Dr. Luntz discusses the “Beer Factor.” He says that, although many factors weigh into electing a President, one of the most important things a candidate can do to create a loyal following is to sit down and have a beer with potential voters. Bill Clinton was wildly successful due to his charisma and an overwhelming majority of people found him interesting whether or not they agreed with his past. Thus, he passed the Beer Factor test.

The underlying principle here is that he had the ability to connect with people. This principle is one of the pillars on which the concept of Celebrity Branding® stands. The reason “people buy people” is that a person can engage you more concretely than an inanimate object, logo, or slogan. When was the last time you really wanted to have a beer with Nike? What about Donald Trump?

If I had said Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, your answer would likely have also been yes - but these are not the business minds at work at Nike. They are hired personas Nike chose so that consumers could connect better with the Nike brand. But that is a lesson in itself: a company without a Celebrity CEO has to hire someone else to fill the role.

So our question to you is: Even if you could hire Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, why wouldn’t you also want to leverage your own Celebrity status to get people to connect with your business? We know that it’s much easier on your budget, not to mention the fact that you can control yourself much better than you can control a third party. Just think about what might have happened had your company hired Michael Vick to promote your product. Pretty scary, huh?

You have the power to connect with consumers based on the fact that you share similar traits. We all know that you can’t connect on a personal level with every consumer and, arguably, you shouldn’t try, but you’ve got a better shot at it than anyone else. You know more about your product or service than anyone else and you probably have a great deal more passion for what you do than a Celebrity who just shows up for a paycheck.

Take advantage of this fact! People love to learn more about other people, which is why Celebrity culture has dominated the newsstands and television outlets for years. Take the chance to let your audience know more about you. Take the chance to connect. Let your audience know more about your hobbies, your family, your favorite foods, favorite places to vacation, and even some of the stuff you’re not crazy about talking about. All of these little facts, as insignificant as they may seem to you, make you human and allow others who have similar feelings to connect with you in ways that create much stronger bonds than if they were just reading corporate rhetoric.

Connecting with your consumers breeds much higher customer loyalty and, when leveraged correctly, much higher transaction sizes and profits.