- Thu, November 10 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I’m reading the new book Brainfluence by Roger Dooley, and there’s an interesting chapter (34) on loyalty. Here’s what it says: Researchers have found that counterfactual scenarios boost loyal feelings.
For example, if people are asked to reflect on what their world would be like if their country hadn’t come into being, they are more patriotic. Dooley also uses the example of FedEx for a corporate counterfactual. The company was “almost out of cash when founder Fred Smith flew to a Las Vegas casino in a last-ditch attempt to generate enough funds to make payroll.” He did - with blackjack winnings - and now employs more than a quarter million people. What if he’d lost? Most companies, says Dooley, have a story of how they managed to scratch their way to survival in the early days (though most don’t involve gambling). Employees have counterfactuals - what would their life be like without their time at a company? So do consumers. For example, what would our life be like if Starbucks or Target weren’t around?
I’m intrigued by the implications for us. Especially because our counterfactuals are far more compelling.
*What if your organization hadn’t made it off the ground?
*What if your staff didn’t have the amazing experience of working for your cause—how would their lives be different?
*What if your services didn’t exist?
How can you tell that story in a way that inspires loyalty? Careful—this approach could easily run off the rails with threats of going out of business or guilt trips or doomsday scenarios! Instead, think in a more nuanced and positive way. How are all these scenarios better because you’re around? Don’t think dire. Think George Bailey: How do you show you leave a mark that really matters?