In his book Audition, Michael Shurtleff gives twelve guideposts for actors to follow in order to “get the part.” The first guidepost mentioned is relationship. Shurtleff stresses the importance of understanding your character’s relationship with the other characters in the scene. He encourages actors to ask themselves “feeling questions” about their emotional attitude toward other characters. Do you love him? Do you hate him? Do you resent him? How much? Do you want to help him? Do you want something from him? He emphasizes that these are the most important questions you can ask. They will allow you to function in the scene.
Do you ask these questions about your company/service/products? Do you understand your relationship with your target market? Do they love you? Do you love them? Shurtleff urges actors to “always say yes to the question of love.” Without love there is no attraction. Without attraction, what keeps the characters on the stage? Similarly, Saatchi & Saatchi promotes the idea of Lovemarks as relationship.
Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without. Ever.
Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people will protest its absence. Lovemarks are a relationship, not a mere transaction. You don’t just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them passionately. That’s why you never want to let go.
Do customers love your company/product/service? If you can’t answer “yes” to that question, then your brand is in trouble. What do they want from you? What do you want from them? (greater than their money, you’d probably want their undying loyalty) What is the attraction? Maybe love is there, but it’s not obvious. In a scene where love seems absent, Shurtleff recommends considering all the various distorted and perverse forms of love. As a parent scolds a child, their love may seem absent but it may be found in concern for the child’s safety. Find your customer’s love for your product, even if it is slightly misguided.
Relationship is also valuable in understanding your placement in the market. What is your relationship with competition? Higher quality, lower price, friendlier customer support? How does your target market feel about your competition? If they have a great relationship, that makes your job harder.
Many of these questions can be answered with a little bit of customer research. Create some simple spreadsheets with these questions. Ask your customers and fill in their answers. Pay attention to patterns, because that’s probably where the truth probably lies. Look at relationship issues and find ways to address those issues. Maybe you’ll need a counselor (marketing / branding consultant) to help with this. Or maybe it is common sense after you take the time to step back and evaluate.
These could be the most important questions you ever ask. The answers will help you to function (and hopefully thrive) in business.