Cross the bridge of connection to deeper, more meaningful relationships with people and with brands.
We all live within a network of relationships. Much of our existence, and the quality of our living, are associated with the quality of our relationships. The success of our relationships determines our sense of satisfaction, achievement, enjoyment and the fulfillment we experience. Much of the meaning of life (both personal and professional) is intrinsically connected to our relationships and the experiences that define them.
If our relationships are successful, we see ourselves as successful. If our relationships fail, we see ourselves as failures. Without relationships, we atrophy. You know that old expression, “No man is an island”? Will, it’s absolutely true.
Here’s another truth: “No man is an island,” it can also be said that “No brand is an island.”
Just as we build relationships with one another, we also build relationships with brands, and brands build relationships with us. Just as there are people we love, there are brands we love. Just as we learn to trust those people who are meaningful in our lives, we learn to trust brands that become meaningful in our lives. And just as we share values in common with those whose relationships we deep trustworthy, we also share values with those brands we deep trustworthy.
During the five years of conducting the Most Trustworthy Brands research, the value of connection has emerged as one of the most pivotal and powerful predictors of trust.
Over the course of studying the dynamics of the values that cement sustainable brand-customer relationships, it’s become apparent that connection is the defining bridge between shallow, short-lived encounters and deep, meaningful and sustainable relationships.
Not surprisingly, connection is one value that many companies (and individuals) struggle with. It’s because in order to go deep, you must take the time to truly identify with the customer (person) in the relationship. You must tune in to the things they value most – understand and meet their needs. Unfortunately, the business cultures many of us have grown up in have been based on rewarding immediate results rather than valuing the longer view of success.
The same goes for the relationships you have with your employees and your peers. How many of your customers or employees would say they feel connected to you and the organization? How much time and what resources are directed at identifying shared values? In the end, the longevity and fruitfulness of your relationships will be in direct proportion to the amount of effort you expend.
Not surprisingly, the effort put into identifying and connecting with your family, friends, co-workers and customers adds to the meaning of your personal and professional life. Setting your sights on building relationships that move beyond the episodic, transactional and casual interaction will always pay back immeasurably.
Just on the other side of that transaction are the more gratifying outcomes of satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy, and trust. However, to achieve these sustainable results, you must first make the conscious decision to “cross the bridge” of connection.