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From Good to Great to The Art of Enchantment, big thinkers and business gurus have long been counseling companies on how to rise above the fray and become enduring brands.
Things were no different at the AIIM Conference in Orlando, Fla., this week. In a session titled "The Art of Enchantment," based on his best-selling book, Guy Kawasaki, Apple's former chief evangelist, revealed what he describes as the "three pillars" of great organizations that can enchant consumers and alter behavior.
"The key to implementing technology isn't so much about the bits and the bytes and acronyms," he said. "It's about enchanting people. It's about changing people's hearts and minds and actions."
Kawasaki has spent some time digging deep into the art of enchantment and what wins the hearts and minds of constituencies -- and what that looks like in terms of creating products and interacting with customers. With humor and a helping of personal anecdotes, he outlined these common denominators of great brands that win the trust and loyalty of consumers.
The key to implementing technology is changing people's hearts and minds and actions.
Guy Kawasaki, Apple's former chief evangelist
But how can brands reach into the chests of consumers, touch their emotions and prompt new behavior? Kawasaki outlined the three principles that have enabled great brands to do just that:
1. Achieve likeability. Individuals and companies need to be likeable, Kawasaki said. This is a tall order in an era where contempt for corporations has skyrocketed, and consumers' expectations have increased exponentially.
Kawasaki gave an example: Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, asked him if he ever flew Virgin Airlines. Kawasaki replied no, that he traveled on another carrier. Branson then got down on his knees to simulate shining Kawasaki's shoes. "That's when I started flying Virgin," Kawasaki recalled.
An important aspect of achieving likeability, said Kawasaki, is "defaulting to yes." "I've done this for my entire career. The downside of being taking advantage of seldom happens. The upside of creating a relationship almost always happens," he said.
2. Achieve trustworthiness. You can be liked but not trusted, Kawasaki emphasized. Building trust means understanding the sequence of the dynamic: You have to demonstrate trust before you can expect others to trust you. Amazon, Zappos and Nordstrom, he said, all have built trust through customer policies that favor and trust customers. Amazon, for example, has a one-week e-book return policy, and many buy e-books because of that return policy.
Kawasaki encouraged companies to think differently to achieve trust. "Become a baker, not an eater," he said. "Eaters see the world as a zero-sum game, where the pie is only so big. If other people eat the pie, I eat less of the pie, so I have to eat as quickly as possible. Bakers see the world differently. I can bake more pies, I can bake cookies and cakes."
3. Perfect products or services. Finally, good service goes only so far. Companies also need to create outstanding products that rise above those of other companies. "It is a lot easier to enchant people with great service than with crap," Kawasaki said." Great stuff has lots of features, functionality; it is intelligent where the product addresses consumers' pain; and the product is complete. It is the totality of the service, and in the software business, it is the ecosystem around the software."
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While Kawasaki's session on the art of enchantment had only a peripheral bearing on the theme of the show -- information management -- it resonated with conferencegoers.
"Even the way he presents demonstrates the principles he's talking about," said an information manager from the Midwest who preferred to remain anonymous. "Being exceptional, standing out and connecting with people really are basic tenets of any business that wants to be more than competitive."