Brand Admiration: The Secret To The White Company’s Success
Last month, The White Company reported higher sales and rising underlying profits in its 2018 annual report, an encouraging result given the current retail climate. During this period, it opened its first US stores on New York’s 5th Avenue and Shortlands Mall in New Jersey, as well as its first European store in Kildare, the Republic of Ireland. In a year of consolidation, the premium lifestyle brand invested in infrastructure, IT and moving to new headquarters.
How has The White Company, a premium lifestyle brand which started from Chrissie Rucker’s spare room, been able to achieve such results?
The secret is brand admiration.
WHAT IS BRAND ADMIRATION?
Brand admiration happens when companies offer the following three benefits to their customers:
They enable – Admired brands solve a customer’s problem in the simplest way possible, in a way that requires the least time, energy and stress. This results in us feeling empowered.
They entice – Admired brands make the products and customer experience interesting to the senses. As a result, we feel delighted and captivated.
They enrich – Admired brands make customers feel proud and good about themselves. We feel like we’re acting in alignment with our values. We feel inspired. And we feel connected as the brand makes us feel special by linking us to other like-minded people.
The combination of these three benefits – enabling, enticing and enriching – leads to brand admiration and this is what elevates the brand above its competitors.
LET’S EXPLORE BRAND ADMIRATION IN MORE DETAIL
Benefits that enable, entice, and enrich customers are referred to as the 3Es for short. Combined, these three types of benefits have an exponential effect on enhancing the customers’ relationship with a brand, nurturing, building and sustaining trust, love, and respect.
1. By enabling their customers, admired brands solve customers’ problems in the simplest possible way. They remove barriers, eliminate frustrations, alleviate anxieties, and reduce fear. They provide peace of mind. With the brand as a solution to their problems, customers feel empowered to take on challenges in their personal and professional lives. The White Company does this brilliantly.
We live in what’s sometimes referred to as a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). This produces a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety and anger across all areas of our society as we try to navigate a changing world that all too often feels beyond our control. In this complex and busy world, The White Company has positioned itself as an oasis of calm: a haven and a sanctuary.
For example, it’s positioned itself as an authority on sleeping well and the go-to company for bed linen. The brand experience is enhanced through its Sleep Collection, a range of products to quieten the mind and cocoon the senses with calm, making drifting off to sleep effortless.
2. By enticing customers, the shopping experience is made more interesting, stimulating the mind, the senses and the heart. Work is replaced with play, lack of pleasure with gratification, boredom with excitement, and sadness with feelings of warmth. The White Company is a master at enticing its customers.
Captivating photography across its channels creates a mental picture of the lifestyle we want for ourselves. Its glossy mail order catalogue is worthy of a space on our coffee table. The use of the Seychelles scent of bergamot, orange and amber fragrance inside the catalogue transports us to an Indian Ocean island. The hospitality-inspired in-store experience which has been designed to make be uplifting and sensorial.
3. By enriching the customer’s sense of who they are, customers feel as if they’re a good person doing good things in the world. They feel proud and good about themselves because they’re acting in alignment with their beliefs and values. By linking us to other like-minded people who act in ways that are consistent with their hopes and aspirations, our sense of connection is increased. Few brands give you the same sense of enrichment that you get when you buy from The White Company.
Better than most brands, The White Company conveys the lifestyle its customers aspire to. Whether this is having a beach perfect wardrobe, hand-crafted artisan tableware for dining al fresco or Egyptian linens for a peaceful night’s sleep, the company works consistently to appeal to its target customer.
When you combine these three benefits – enabling, enticing and enriching – this has an exponential effect on enhancing the customers’ relationship with the brand, nurturing, building and sustaining the qualities that are foundational to any successful relationship: trust, love and respect.
BRAND TRUST, LOVE AND RESPECT
Let’s explore these qualities in more detail:
Trust – We believe that we can count on the brand to ‘be there,’ to deliver consistent quality and excellent customer service and act in our best interests.
Love – We have a high degree of affection towards the brand. The brand pleases us at a visual, sensory and emotional level.
Respect – We look up to the brand and hold it in high regard. We believe in what the brand stands for because it speaks to our values, and we share similar aspirations.
Why does combining trust, love and respect have an exponential effect on enhancing the customers’ relationship with a brand? Well, trust alone only does so much for a relationship. In human relationships, trust is not enough to engender affection. For a relationship to be healthy and sustainable, love must be accompanied by trust and respect. While respect alone will not carry a relationship. Respect without love is likely to lead to an arms-length relationship.
To have a meaningful, strong, lasting customer-brand relationship, a brand must cause all three relationship-inducing variables: brand trust, love, and respect. It’s the combined effect of trust, love and respect that prompts two behaviours we want to actively encourage in our customers:
Brand loyalty because it results in high customer retention and high lifetime value.
Brand advocacy because it leads to word of mouth referrals, customers willing to both champion and defend a brand, and to forgive a brand when it falls short.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT BRAND ADMIRATION?
Brand admiration has been the subject of extensive research, most notably in a book titled Brand Admiration: Building a Business People Love by C Whan Park, Deborah MacInnis and Andreas Eisingerich. Their framework applies to businesses, new and existing, across any industry.
OVER TO YOU
How can you apply the three E’s of brand admiration - enabling, enticing and enriching - to your brand? I LOVE reading your feedback so please do reply in the comments box below.
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