Quite simply, a wave is a transfer of energy from one place to another. A “brand wave” is also a transfer of the energy. The energy that is transferred is value, or more precise, perceived value as the company and customer both see it. In a brand wave, there are usually two simultaneous energy transfers – a transfer of energy from the company to the customer and a transfer of energy from the customer to the company.
The company transfers its energy to the customer by meeting or exceeding the customer’s positive expectations, by giving back to the customer’s community and by providing valuable experiences for the customer.
The customer transfers her energy to the company in the form of making regular and repeated purchases across multiple product and service lines, by enlisting herself as a evangelist who spreads positive word of mouth to friends/family/coworkers and by providing feedback to the company with ways of improving the experience.
If you think about it, brand waves have the same properties as other waves. Let me explain:
- Amplitude – Magnitude of maximum disturbance. When I say “disturbance”, I am not referring to the disturbance of unwanted advertising. What I am talking about is a disturbance in expectations. When I think of most used car dealerships, I expect loud radio commercials, balloons/inflatable objects in the parking lot and having to play the game of “let me talk to my manager” with the salesman. This is what I expect. Instead, what if a used car lot was subtle (relied on the word of mouth from an astonishing customer experience) and employed women as the salespeople? The maximum disturbance of expectations is usually achieved by doing the opposite of everyone else in the industry.
- Frequency – Number of occurrences of a repeated event in a given time. Do you regularly give back to your customers with something of value to them? Have you filled their “trust account” with many positive and disturbing (see above) experiences? Is your trust account overdrawn? Loyalty is something that is earned over time by consistently providing your customers with frequent, memorable customer experiences.
- Period – The time for one cycle to be completed. Time…we all have it, but there never seems to be enough of it. Customers expect the lines in super markets to be as short as possible and patients expect to spend as much time as possible with the doctor. Find out what time is expected to complete one cycle with your customers and then try to exceed their expectations.
Are you making waves with your brand?