Interaction Bank: Building and protecting your brand

When someone touches your brand, whether it is your website, brick and mortar store, email or a sales call, their goodwill only goes so far. It could be said that you are an interaction bank and depending on the experience who is interacting with your brand, you will be in credit of debit. Building and protecting your brand is vital to your business.

How much credit do I have?

The amount of interaction credit depends on a lot of factors:

  • The strength of your brand
  • Previous interactions, events, emails, calls, using your product/service
  • Recommendations from people they know
  • PR/Your brand in the news
  • Delight Factor
  • Thought Leadership

The strength of your brand is the most important of these factors. Potential customers will forgive a lot if you have established a positive brand. All the other factors in the list feed into the strength of the brand.

When someone has a bad interaction with a brand they don’t automatically abandon the brand. So for example when Sony was attacked, resulting in the personal details of 77 million users, they not only survived, they went on to win the latest round in the console wars with Microsoft.

Building a brand takes time and seems like a daunting task.

How do I build my brand?

If you think about your brand in terms of credit in your interaction bank, building your brand becomes straight forward: add credit, reduce debit.

By making every interaction you have with your customers and potential customers a positive one, you can add to your credit. If you work on making the experience excellent, enjoyable of even fun, you will add to your credit.

The funny thing about it is that you can increase your credit with people who you have no connection with at all. For example, recommendations from friends. News reports and social media are other ways that can effect your credit indirectly.

If you continually add to your interaction credit, overtime, you will build a strong brand. To build a brand quickly, you will need a lot of interactions in a short space of time. To build a strong brand, these have to be direct interactions.

A really good example of building a brand quickly is Uber. They created a system where there are a lot of interactions with the brand, and ensured the quality of the interactions by using a driver rating system. This allowed Uber to survive many scandals. This goes to show that many small positive direct interactions can vastly outweigh indirect interactions.

The opposite is also true. There is a brilliant documentary on Netflix about the Fyre festival. A party on tropical island promoted by super models on social media. The indirect interaction credit very quickly turned to debit on the first direct interaction.

The Fun Factor

I read a book on how to remember things called Moonwalking with Einstein. In the book the talk about techniques on how to remember decks of cards, lists, long numbers etc. One of the things that the book talked about was that if people find something fun, it will be easier to remember. The plus side is that if it is fun it is always a positive experience. Creating fun experiences is extremely difficult, and if they backfire they can go horribly wrong.

Where possible, try to make the mundane as exciting as possible. A good example of this is the trend in packaging. I bought a chromebook from hp recently and it came in a plain brown box with some foam. When you compare that to the Lenovo Carbon X1 unboxing, it’s definitely a different experience.

Can you see the balance in the interaction bank?

This is a tricky one. It is very difficult to measure how much an individual enjoys interacting with your site or service. There are survey and feedback tools that can be used that will give an indication of how some users (those inclined to leave feedback) feel about your interaction performance.

The best way to gauge performance is on the aggregate. Measure engagement and interactions. For example, if you run a website, a high bounce rate will mean that your credit is low and needs some investment.