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As if brands didn’t need enough of a reason to build emotional connections with consumers in their 20s, an interesting article titled The Mysteriously Memorable 20s: Why do we remember more from young adulthood than from any other time of our lives?, reminds us of the importance that this meaningful stage of life plays in the construction of our identities and the way that we formulate our personal narratives.
Building brand relationships during this crucial stage of identity formation by having even a small role in one of those integral memories of self-actualization can create extremely meaningful lifelong associations and loyalty. And if the ultimate mark of a successful brand is the ability to become so entwined in a consumer’s life that the brand has become a part of that consumer’s identity, then there is no time better than the 20s to be there with consumers as they define their self-image.
Another interesting issue that this article raises, especially for those that are in or entering their 20s, is that this period of life is not a time to be spent wondering “what if?” Memories, as the foundational aspect of our self-identification, are our most valuable possessions and the 20s are clearly an essential time for creating new and unique memories by exploring and experiencing life to its fullest.
So what are some of your most cherished memories from this formational period of life and are there any brands you associate with those memories? Do those brands play a role in your identity today and do you still have an affinity for those brands?
Consider how you open and close an email today compared to how you may have ten years ago. Do you start out strong, addressing the recipient by name, or begin more respectfully, showcasing your knowledge of old-English phraseology?
In his dissection of this simple, yet valuable subject, James Morgan explains that what we may have considered business-appropriate language years ago may seem overly intimate or unprofessional today. This sentiment strikes me as ironic, seeing as the “Hey” we resort to nowadays is just about the most casual way in which we could begin a corporate relationship.
So how do we seem genuine, professional, yet approachable at the same time? It simply depends on the situation. Some say “Dear” should be used when addressing problems or beginning a new professional association through email, given its old-fashioned, sincere connotation. However, lately even the most subdued professionals have been going with a more laid-back greeting, beginning correspondence with “Hey Folks” or no subject line at all.
The closer presents a similar conundrum. Your signature statement can be sincere and uber-professional or casual and conversational, depending on the nature of your business. What is paramount to remember in this situation is what every English 101 teacher tells their pupils on the first day of class: First and foremost, consider your audience. If we become familiar with the email recipient’s expectations we can best choose words that accommodate their style while maintaining our own.
Alan Cumming, the actor, recently founded with a few other gents, a networking site: http://www.itsasickness.com/. It’s a bit different from the average virtual networking site in that it focuses on what the team coins as “object” and not “social” networking. In other words, these guys could care less about the number of (often shallow) ties we make with other people chatting about our day-to-day and general thoughts about life. Rather, the purpose of “sickness” (i.e, as in “it’s so cool it’s sick”) is to establish ties with others over the things we, as people, obsess over, i.e. foods, political causes, clothes, movies, whatever…
The reasoning goes that we recognize, and bring out of the closet, placing front and center our over-focused relationships with things, allowing us a public forum to gesticulate our love for them. So, instead of spending our precious online time interacting with a horde of heterogeneous people on subjects that really aren’t relevant or of interest to us, we spend our time with like-minded obsessives, who care most about the same things, too. By happenstance, we are more likely to build stronger ties that bind akin to our existing longterm relationships due to mutual self-disclosure of these hyper-interests.
The beauty is that it’s not trying to be politically correct and hence, users fake one’s style of communication as we go about glossing over our online interactions i.e. LOL, awesome!, that’s great 🙂 Instead, it’s direct and to the point, addressing only what we really care about spending our time discussing. In the end, we spend our time online focusing on things that give us immense pleasure, without having to wade through all the junk we don’t care about on social networking-focused sites, such as the sausage and pepper sandwich my brother ate for lunch.
A great window into the psyche, for sure.