Do you embody your brand’s ultimate user experience?
As a brand, you can’t promote a state of being that you don’t embody through everything you create.
Taking the leap to spearhead your own brand, means you are ready to do what you love. Almost all of my clients, in order to launch their brand, had to leave something behind; an unfulfilling industry, an uninspired corporation…sometimes clients completely leave their established field altogether to delve into a whole new industry that until now, they’ve always kept close to their chest. Often this work includes allowing an old mindset to die that may have been keeping them back, a limiting belief, a vulnerability…As with all of life, the end of one chapter, heralds the beginning of a new one.
Congratulations on making that first, very daring and exciting step toward loving what you do! There is a secret to mastering this art of Loving What You Do, and I’m going to give it to you right now: Loving what you do is actually a two-part equation. We’ve all heard those down-trodden adages about how taking something much-loved, a dearly held passion, and twisting it into a way of making money has left many an artist and entrepreneur feeling like a dried up well. The well need not run dry for you, because after today’s episode, you will know the secret ingredient to Loving What You Do, is to Love How You Do It. Okay, so what does that mean?
I’m going to give you Three Ways To Embody Your User Experience as a simple guideline to creating an aspirational arc for your ideal end user.
Demonstrate Value, Develop Credibility, and Design the Future.
But first, let’s start by taking a look at a couple of the world’s top entrepreneurs who Love What They Do and Love How They Do It!
The first person to pop into my head is Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, (Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Mobile…). Richard Branson is a shining example of Love How You Do It. He’s built an entire empire on his own terms, and in the face of many who doubted him, by relentlessly embodying his brand’s user experience.
When you think of the Virgin Brand, can you see that sleek purple light that fills a cabin when you fly Virgin America? Can you hear the Sex Pistols tuning their instruments before they turn an arena into a mosh pit? Virgin is cheeky, it’s anti-establishment, it’s rock’n’roll. Virgin Records was actually the first label to sign the Sex Pistols. Virgin records would then go on to pick up The Rolling Stones.
I’m not embarrassed to say, when I fly Virgin – I feel pretty cool. Feeling cool is the user experience customers are meant to have when they participate in the Virgin Brand Community! Feeling rock and roll, and damn the man, is built into their brand like a hometown, and Richard Branson embodies that user experience with panache. The name “Virgin” started out as a joke, because Branson and some friends had never started a business before, and weren’t exactly sure what to do. Branson was a music fanatic from a very young age. In school, he struggled with dyslexia, and didn’t exactly get good grades. On the last day of school, Branson’s headmaster told him he was either going to end up in prison or become a millionaire. Branson once said “There is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration.” Virgin Records was born from a mail-order record business Branson started because he was frustrated at the outrageous prices being charged for music.
I want to point out that frustration cannot exist unless there’s an underlying passion, a deep undercurrent coursing below the surface; a love for what you do, and a desire to do it your way. Otherwise, you wouldn’t care at all. My favorite story about this brand, is how Virgin Records extended into Virgin Airlines. Can you guess why?? It’s a love story!
Branson had a love, a woman that he hadn’t seen in three weeks, and he was en route to reunite with her. The final flight on his journey to Puerto Rico is cancelled. Well Branson will be damned if he doesn’t smooch his love that very night. He charters an aircraft, and offers a ride to the other stranded passengers for a small fee that covered the cost. Branson was so pleased with the outcome, that he was inspired to purchase a couple 747’s and Virgin Airlines was born.
If you google images of Branson, you’ll find pictures of him kite-surfing the world (both with and without a naked model on his back…he had his wife’s permission!) Or you can find pictures of him working for a day, dressed as a female stewardess for Air Asia, because he lost a bet.
The Virgin brand has thrived since the 70’s, even though you don’t see Virgin Record Stores anymore, even though Virgin hasn’t stuck to one industry. In fact, Virgin has attached it’s name to several other enterprises you may have never even heard about. There were a chain of health clinics, a Grand Prix racing team, an entertainment company that focused on animation…up next, be on the lookout for Virgin Hotels and even Virgin Galaxy, which will make space travel possible as a vacation experience that is literally out of this world! Virgin Brand Loyalists are in it for the experience, the flavor, the panache.
Virgin is a brilliant example of a company that hasn’t needed to stay in their own lane to maintain brand loyalty. It’s a testament to the fact, that buying is always an emotional decision. Whatever the product, or experience being offered by Virgin, the Virgin Brand Loyalists are all in, because they love the way the brand makes them feel.
The Virgin brand survives because, no matter what they do, Virgin Loves How They Do It and Richard Branson, Virgin’s own rock ‘n’ roll Robin Hood, has been there from the very beginning, embodying the Virgin brand user experience. The brand survives, because the user experience survives.
For contrast, let’s take a look at a very different, but also very significant entrepreneur. The one and only, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs co-created the first Apple computer in his parents garage. In school, he was a bit of an outcast, and a discipline case due to boredom and eccentricity. He had a teacher who would sometimes bribe him with $5, just so Jobs would complete an assignment. When he was piecing together the first personal computer, it was because he wanted his own computer! He couldn’t afford what was on the market, and what was on the market didn’t have practical uses for improving everyday life. Steve Jobs had a panache, a vision, for a user experience the embodied technological excellence. And he wanted it for himself first.
Now look at Apple. We love Apple. The tagline for Apple is “Think Different”. Steve Jobs is the embodiment of thinking different, and the fruits of his labor, were born from his love of technology and his desire to do things his way. Today we have MacBook and IPhones and IPads…and an entire legion of brand loyalists saying I will buy whatever IProduct I can get my hands on. For a brief time, Jobs stepped away from Apple, and invested in a digital effects company called Pixar. His vision for Pixar led the company to making the first ever full-length digital animation film, the much-loved Toy Story.
In this example, Steve Jobs stepped away from the name Apple, and extended his embodiment of excellence in technological user experience to an entirely different company. Not everyone knows that Steve Jobs is the man behind their beloved Pixar favorites, but they responded with enthusiasm all the same. People love the user experience Steve Jobs embodies regardless of which angle of technology he is excelling at, and regardless of what name he’s working under! Steve Jobs once said “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, are very different characters, but I think you will agree, they are both characters nonetheless! What these two Love How You Do It masters have in common, is they are true to themselves down to the core. Their brands are an embodiment of what they value, strive toward, and most importantly, what they love. Without further ado, I present you with The Three Ways to Embody Your User Experience, so your brand can Come Out of Nowhere and be an Inspiration to Millions.
First we have Demonstrate Value.
Yesterday’s consumers wanted to see your product in action.
Today’s consumers want to see your brand in action. What are your brand’s values? What emotion does your brand seek to inspire in others? Look into your heart for these answers. Draw upon that coursing undercurrent that stirs your soul. When you are clear about your heart-led driving forces, you can begin to embody your brand’s user experience. Show your future brand loyalists WHY you love what you do, by letting them watch you love what your brand has done for you. Yes, it sounds tropey and saccharine! So what.
You are now in the business of Love What You Do, and Love How You Do It. Brand Loyalty is your business plan, the foundation for loyalty is love, and love begets love.
Next is Develop Credibility.
Often what this means, is a siren’s call to be fearlessly true to yourself.
A great brand is a promise kept. Once you know what user experience your brand is expected to embody, carefully curate your brand to relentlessly support that experience. People often don’t recall what they hear, or read as much as they remember how it made them feel. Keep them feeling what they come to your brand to experience, each and every time, and they will begin to trust your brand. Having a trusting brand community is a responsibility to be consistent, but the reward is brand loyalty.
And Finally we have Design the Future.
Every brand is an invitation to a greater future, a new frontier, an exciting new world. Start living in that greater future now, and pave the way for your ideal end users. Start laying track. Bring this greater future into being in your own life so you can be the beacon that proves your brand is the way home.