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 uninspiring.
don't need sterile predictability to maintain a professional
image. Adherence to conformity can reflect senior level
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 with her.
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.