Excitement: A feeling of eager enthusiasm and interest : the state of being excited
Many of us are familiar with brand. That bundle of emotion and rational reasons to buy. This applies to both the B2B landscape as well as B2C. Indeed emotion probably plays a bigger role in B2B as clearly set out in Google and CEB’s 2014 paper From Promotion to Emotion – Connecting B2B Customers to Brands.
The analogy of The Elephant and the Rider is simple and effective in highlighting the importance of emotion in decision making. As outlined by Jonathan Haidt, in his book; ‘The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion”. The analogy of the Rider on the elephant is our rational mind, looking to provide good sound reasons why we should act or not. However the rider struggles to control the elephant - our emotional mind. When emotional triggers are activated, this can overpower the rational mind and speed decision making.
So whether it’s B2B or B2C, we look to create emotion in our business, products and services proposition. Certainly any brand, business, product or service that appeals to customers emotions is doing many things right – what could be better?
But, is this enough? How can we push emotion further?
Businesses need to EXCITE. Excite those that work for the business and those that buy form the business. People will advocate and champion your business, product or service with energy and passion when they are excited.
If staff aren’t excited about the brand, product, company or service, then who will be? According to a US Gallup poll in 2015 over 68% of employees are disengaged with their work. What a huge loss of focus, capacity and energy for the business. Not least the cost of replacing disengaged staff who will inevitably leave through choice or poor performance.
It’s not just excitement in terms of thrill or that tickling pleasure of experiencing something you can’t wait to happen. It’s that defining connection between what we want and what we get. Something that feels right and makes us feel the way we want to feel – be that reassured, safe, confident, important, loved, beautiful, healthy, successful, independent, belonging.
Excitement affects our brains and our bodies. ChangingMinds.org tells us what happens to our minds and bodies when in a state of excitement;
“Arousal starts in the brain, where the Reticular Activation System connects the primitive brain stem and the cortex and affects sleeping-waking transitions. In arousal, it's acting to increase our wakefulness and consequent alertness and attention”
If you think about the businesses, products and services that excite you – they fit with your values and needs, but how do they make you feel?
I can think of several examples in my world:
Uber. A disrupter brand, constantly innovating, pushing the boundaries of assumptions in the taxi industry. Uber has an energy and clarity of purpose that makes it exciting whether you are a customer or member of staff.
Shopify. The e commerce platform, delivering a flow of useful apps, web design styles, helpful support and simple tuition for the budding entrepreneur as well as the established business.
Bellroy. An Australian wallet company, now a global brand, striving to deliver slimmer, better designed wallets. A philosophy of freshness and ‘Carryology’ the principle of convenient and stylish design that fits the way people live.
These businesses all have a defining purpose and an excitement about them. We can all think of our own examples of brands we love. It's the ones that are exciting stand out.
However, excitement in isolation can be fleeting, like a firework. For strategic success, excitement has to be seen with creating sustained value - for both staff and customer. When this happens the business creates flow, that freedom that comes with growth and efficiency. Where excitement is fleeting or temporary, with low sustained value, it's a firework i.e. it's soon over. This means the strategic aim of a business to generate excitement must be part of it’s DNA. It means it has to be embedded and be authentic in the way the business works. Ultimately, it’s finding that connection between what excites the business and what excites the customer. i.e. Your SCA – Sustainable Competitive Advantage.
5 steps to deliver excitement
1. Start within. Challenge your business culture and values. It’s often said that it all starts with culture, which is guided by behaviour (values). Start to get clear on this and everything else, including strategy falls into place much more easily.
2. Understand the business or product/service vision. A vision is just that, a picture of the future that looks, well exciting. This vision then has to be underpinned by a one page strategy, that highlights key areas of focus and actions to get there. Share and engage staff with the vision, tell stories, allow them to contribute – how can we deliver this, what will this look like?
3. Identify your perfect customers. Segment your market and create customer profiles or avatars for each segment. What are their frustrations, fears, wants and aspirations?
4. Find what excites you and what excites your customer. This overlap is your brand positioning, and a source of your sustainable competitive advantage.
5. Use your one page plan to focus on priorities and create accountability and ownership in your business. Connect staff objectives to strategic objectives. Give them clarity and freedom to make mistakes.