I've often pondered if there was a spectrum.
The bare minimum that was expected of any business was that it delivered on the value that it promised.
If Expectation - Reality = Positive, then we are satisfied.
But that's like placing that one time order in a website - cause we found a great deal (too good to pass) and it was delivered, and we were happy.
Consecutive transactions, that have consistently led to positive outcomes, start building up a reputation. And reputations build trust.
And then there is a day when you order something and an unsuspecting pleasant surprise arrives. And that surprise in some way, also connects with you emotionally, and bam, a brand is born!
The spectrum, I realized is somewhere between transaction and emotions. We start off transactionally, and the ones that go on to connect with us emotionally, become brands. It comes down to, do we really believe the story that the brand is telling.
It's almost as if, every little time expectations were exceeded, it adds up and over time, once it hits a critical point, it becomes emotions.
I've also realized that there is a way to go the other way - when you start off with emotions. That, I realized, was what politics was. All of politics is about starting with raw emotions, which is then moved towards action (in most cases, towards a vote) compared to business that goes the other way.
Coming back to businesses, I've also noticed that, The brands that go on to live are ones where over time emotions and facts don't add up. You believe the story (because you experienced it) and even if you showed up at your favourite ice cream shop, and picked your favourite flavor and it was slightly off, you are willing to give the brand a pass. You'd even defend it, that it makes it more real.
That is brand, passing the test.
PS : A good brand would know not to test its loyalists beyond what they can bear, cause a loyalist lost becomes a fiercely vocal detractor. The opposite of love, they say, is not hate, it is indifference; because to hate, you should have cared and loved it once before, and felt betrayed.
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