When people face a world that is too complex to understand and constantly changing in unexpected ways, they put up barriers of distrust and caution. This environment creates debilitating distress, and most people don’t have the tools or training to deal with it. This affects decision making and can lead to irrational choices driven by fear.
From the cancel culture to the mass resignation, people are acting in ways never anticipated as they scramble to find ways of coping in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. When you present your services as an antidote to some of life’s uncertainty, however, you build client loyalty.
The concept of an enchanted brand offers a positive path (inspiring thinking) with tangible tools (the branded product/service) so people are motivated to take action to reach their desired outcomes. You and your business can be viewed as a way for clients to fulfill their dreams of a secure financial future for themselves and their families.
On a foundational level, the enchanted brand possesses these six characteristics:
- Intention: Make clear, relevant points. The enchanted brand has an emotional and practical outcome it aims to achieve in the life of everyone who touches it. It should inspire specific thinking and action and help people overcome the challenges of a VUCA world. It should stand for an idea with a high level of meaning. For example, don’t focus on the details of how life insurance works; instead, focus on the outcome of a life insurance benefit at a time when a family most needs it.
- Engaging: Spark curiosity. An enchanted brand is designed to make people “feel good” and stimulate new thinking. It challenges people so they move into the imagination. This is what sparks a strong desire to know or learn something. For clients, you may be showing them new ways of viewing their challenges with solutions they had not considered before. For example, your clients will likely only retire once. You, however, have helped many clients retire. This means you have a variety of tools and insights for them to create the retirement they want. Show them the joy your other clients are feeling in retirement by placing photos in your office of your clients enjoying their retirement while on a dream vacation, spending time with family or enjoying their hobbies, for example.
- Enriching: Stimulate the imagination and clarify emotions. The enchanted brand seeks to open the aperture of life by opening the mind to new possibilities associated with positive emotions. Rather than fear something new, people gravitate and embrace it. Think how people feel enriched by the level of creativity that the Apple brand makes possible for them. Help clients understand what’s possible with solid financial planning.
- Authentic: Tether to a compelling truth. The truth can be found in what people are facing and what the product can actually do. Most people fear running out of money too soon in retirement. You may have products, such as annuities, that can give them a steady income stream
- Aligned: Attune to anxieties and aspirations of the real world. Historically, brands have sugar-coated the world and have not recognized the real human difficulties at work. Therefore, many lose relevance. The enchanted brand maps to enduring human challenges by providing an antidote to specific anxieties associated with them. Your clients’ lives may be fraught with anxieties related to finances and asset protection that you can assist them with.
- Enabling: Promote self-confidence and personal value. The enchanted brand is designed to create more personal agency in the world. The purpose of the brand is to counteract the disabling effects of the VUCA world and to strengthen the sense of personal power that is being overwhelmed. People feel empowered when they have plans in place to navigate through life’s uncertainties.
During this time of epic change where daily people face the dehumanizing effects of revolutionizing technologies in work, life and society, we need to strengthen what it means to be human. The power of their imagination for a better future is what propels people to try and buy products, work hard, invest in the future and stay loyal.
Jane Cavalier Lucas, CEO and founder of BrightMark Consulting, is a nationally recognized brand strategist, board member, blogger and author of “The Enchanted Brand.” She helps organizations conquer a changing world with powerful brands and reputations. Recognized for creating breakout brands like Snapple and Qwest, Cavalier has worked with over 100 organizations, including American Express, ExxonMobil and the U.S. Navy. For more information, visit brightmarkconsulting.com.
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