Chemistry is not just something it is that special ‘oh la la’
Chemistry is not just something it is that special ‘oh la la’ we all know in our lives, whether it is love, lust, a determined sense of belonging, a brilliant co-op, a fairylike fusion, a magical mix or a flawless creation. Chemistry is what makes us roll, tick and rock. So when exactly do we feel this enchantment? Let us take a closer look at business chemistry whether it is consultant client fit or brand consumer fit.
It all starts with communication and dialogue. The Austrian Jewish philosopher Martin Buber 1878-1965 has stated that dialogue is of true meaning as it arises. True value lies “Dazwischen” in between people, as the reciprocity of an inner act, as it happens, it ascends, and it augments. This dialogue is not a gratuity, but a condition for a meaningful human life.
“Inscrutably involved, we live in the currents of universal reciprocity.”
Buber makes a brilliant point yet one difficult to contextualise. We ask ourselves, what is true dialogue, reciprocity and chemistry in commerce? Does it even exist?
Client Consultant fit
A client once told us the following. He sat in a number of credential presentations, all of which were perfectly good, animated, and the Agencies were all clearly capable of undertaking the project. So he thought to himself: Which one would I like to have a beer with?… Fortunately it was with us, and that beer together has taken place on several occasions. The client consultant fit is so very important.
But the question had a serious undertone to it. Who can I work ‘with’? Who’s going to take time to truly understand my brand and my aims (and the hurdles in achieving those aims)? Who is going to support me in a Non-Exec-like capacity rather than simply an arms-length away Agency? Who is going to see opportunities beyond the brief? And if the shit hits the fan, who’s going to be there shoulder to shoulder with me problem solving? No shit has hit the fan, instead brand traction and commercial success has resulted and the relationship will be one into our dotage.
Brand & customer fit
A healthy company and business ecosystem reflects on everybody within. However even if client centrism is of the uttermost importance it does not automatically imply it creates spirit. Excellent service per se does not imply magic; it needs reciprocity to become excellent. Chemistry comes into play when it gets anchored in shared beliefs, values, trust and purpose connected to special moments and experience. We transgress from standardized to personalized -especially in marketing. But where do true values, preferences, and expectations come together?
The customer has greater choice than ever possibly conceived before, so it is important that a brand, while staying true to its core values, constantly adapts and re-adapts. These adaptions can be quantum stepped changes or minutia in scale such that they are literally not visible to the human eye, like the constant design and innovation of a McLaren Formula One car to gain a millisecond advantage over a competitor. In terms of a brand, it’s about staying relevant for a modern customer audience. Showing true colours in real time, chameleon style.
Brand & brand fit
Reaching a point of over-saturation or colours fading…
A trend of late has been the world of collaborations. Diversity in perspective can create super-synergy, unfortunately some collaborations just lead to a grey slush nobody really asked for. As we already mentioned in one of our previous articles, a lot of companies use each other’s brand for improvement of sales figures not for something new-fangled. Most co-ops enlarge, embrace or endorse something already happening at customer level.
Examples are plenty
There are enough examples: G-Star with Pharell Williams, Holland & Holland with Range Rover, Uber and Visa, Nike+ with Apple, Pellegrino, Missoni, Bulgari plus others in their ‘Italian Talents’ bottle wrap project, Missoni x Converse and Nike’s cross-over designs with designers like Pedro Lourenco and many, many others in retail.
Of course, there are differences in depth and approach; some brands only ‘wrap’ themselves around each other, while others merge their brands and use each other’s creativity. These collaborations inevitably have commerce as their starting point but in the field of true collective innovation there are few that create brand bang! Clearly they do in terms of advertising traction, brand reach and sales, however the trend is reaching a saturation point. Turning grey… One + One doesn’t necessarily = Sales. Brands need to think about self-sufficiency, reinvention and constant improvement. Not a fusion of labels, but a merge for experience…
Smart and functional service
Recently KLM has embraced Airbnb and Uber, now this is a fusion based on user experience, it is not necessarily a brand fusion. The new KLM app facilitates the complete travel process. It emphasises what KLM has done for years, being a digital frontrunner. Thriving with their customer service on Twitter (24 hrs response) and now incorporating the disruptors. A smart strategy to embrace when price fighters challenge you, just pump up the service level. But is also a benefit to their customers as Airbnb is a community that thrives by the likes and trust of people involved, can we call this reciprocity? Or a very smart business model…where is the client chemistry?
And The Fit is….
If we look at chemistry being the centre of science, brand chemistry or brand bang should be the centre of commerce. The Fit -we find- is pure reciprocate energy. To stay with Bubers philosophy; this particular energy is not a gratuity, but a condition for meaningful commerce where sparks will fly. When a brand anchors its shared beliefs, values, trust and purpose and connects them through special moments and experiences for others, a fit takes place. A pulse and racing heart beat, making a business less static. Just screw business as usual and adopt a self-sufficient re-invention. And a fading line between business and pleasure while making money will prevail.
By Marilijn Boumeester & Gregor Jackson of BBGP