The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Charm Keeps You Coming Back For More.
August 16, 2006, 10:36 am
Filed under: Comment

I have been doing quite alot of work with clients recently about the importance of charm. 

It’s been alot of fun and so far the results [and comments] have been really positive … even though alot of the time I’ve been poking holes in their brands, briefs and communication.

The basic premise is that organisations are so [1] ’bottom line’ focused and [2] obsessed with ‘quantifiable results’ … that any element that cannot be directly attributable to fulfilling the short and long-term goals of the brand are generally ignored and/or discarded.

This means one of the most important elements of brand communication … ‘charm’ …. is featuring less and less, ultimately driving significant decline in the emotional connection between brand and consumer.

Ages ago I met the chief architect for Stanstead Airport – and he was wonderful. 

He explained his job wasn’t just about creating a building that enabled the efficient delivery of passengers to planes – but the creation of an environment that attracted people to come back over and over again.  To achieve this, he ensured his building had a ’soul’ … which is why he included little ornate touches that showed a flair and charm you don’t normally associate with airports.

Branson also subscribes to this point of view …

When he briefed the designers for Virgin’s Airport Lounges, he said their goal was to create an environment where people WANTED their flight to be delayed!  A great brief – perfectly demonstrating why Virgin is held in such esteem by the public.

Our job IS to make more money for clients … but this constant quest for quantifiable effectiveness is resulting in less and less brands having a ’soul’ … meaning less and less brands have an emotional connection with consumers … meaning less and less brands can achieve success unless they ‘own distribution’. 

It’s things like charm, flair and imagination that created buildings like the one above [Lincoln Cathedral] … a place that has a magnetic hold on people even if they are not religious.  If we used today’s corporate ‘efficiencies’ to build new places of worship, we’d probably end up with Cathedral’s that featured Four Walls And A Flat Roof – because it effectively fulfils the business objective. [as probably proved by numerous focus groups]

Is it any coincidence that in movies that depict the future, most show cities of simple, clean, common shapes rather than of variety, texture and colour? Lets bloody hope it is!

5 Comments so far
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Nicely put. We need more people like you in communication, especially on client side. Keep up the excellent work.

Comment by Pete/Attik

Next time you are in the Midlands I suggest you go to see Peterborough Cathedral. It has a painted ceiling which is amazing.

Then get the hell out of that craphole…

I completely agree with your point though, charm is a medium to long term effect; which means it often gets overlooked. Good brands with charm are so valuable.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Peterborough … Thomas Cook land … are you kidding me, it’s bad enough being from Nottingham!

Comment by Rob

Thats the one. Seriously, I think its probably as bad as if not worse than Nottingham.

Its a violent, unfriendly, gang laden hole.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just bare this in mind about my glorious home city …. per capita, Nottingham is now the most dangerous place in Europe.

And whilst its only in isolated areas, there are 2 core reasons for it …

1. Students
2. Middle England

In the last 10 years, Nottingham developed its education facilities to ensure it offered some of the best courses of its type. This increase in student demand led to retailers ‘upgrading their premises’ in a bid to maximise profits.

Doing this not only ensured more and more people came into the city, but also attracted people from a very wide capture area.

Suddenly a cottage insdustry was created offering all sorts of ‘weekends of fun’ in Nottingham – and stag nights, travelling footie supporter stopovers, hens nights all ‘joined in’.

And wherever there are people together, drugs are bound to follow – and with Nottingham’s central location in the UK, it became a central distribution point for the country.

So with lots of people contained in a relatively small city area, huge amounts of alcohol and drugs, many gangs trying to capitalise on the financial ‘opportunities’ they see available – crime escalated to a level where the police are the only force in the country [or history] that now carry guns all the time.

Now that’s a tipping point. Unfortunately for the wrong reasons.

Comment by Rob

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