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The scent of a brand.

So you’re talking with a stranger and as you begin to talk, you realize the parallels in your life.  You were here, doing this.  He was in a different place doing something similar.  You attended this concert, and he attended the same event in a different city.  You share some of the same likes and preferences.  It’s amazing!

This values to values connection is deeply rooted as an intuitive part of our psyche.  It is a “scent” we give to others in conversation, appearance, mannerisms that allows people to quickly learn about us, connect and build friendships. And if these values go deep and wide, the connection can last a lifetime.  Of course, when we’re out of sync with another, you can’t leave the room fast enough.

We learn to trust another when the fundamental values we hold sync with another.  When they break down, we question, judge and limit the relationship.

Similarly, as a brand or organization, the values we project are revealed in our programs, products, our sales people, channel partners, our service reps, our communications, advertising, websites and social media—all hints to our customers and the broader world of who we REALLY are.

Managing these perceptions is ultimately the job of the CEO.  Trust in the company, its leaders, its vision of the future, and its investments in people, products, programs and innovation provide a “scent” and reveal the true heart of the company.  Prospects and customers may lock up and become a friend for life, or may not like what they observe and just purchase and move on.

The power to build lifelong customer advocates is based on the CEO’s values and his or her ability to articulate them and expected associated behaviors, drive them through the organization, out the door and engage customers with similar values on their front porch.

This is the power of connection -- the fundamental cornerstone of shared values that create trust and reliance between people, and create glue and advocacy between people and the brands they love.

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