When I started the blog a couple months back, my intent was to keep things going and try to write a post each week. I try my best to work ahead and keep a running list of topics that I’m considering. However it’s been pretty rough for me and my family the last few days and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get something out this week. And writing about something that was evenly slightly related to work has been on the outskirts of my mind.
Without getting into too many of the details, my father has been battling some health issues the last few months and things came to a head over the weekend. While in the hospital for some tests and procedures, he suffered a traumatic incident and ended up in the ICU. Not knowing how things were going to turn out, I hopped into my car in Minneapolis on short notice and made the trek to Kansas City. Over the last three-plus days things have taken a positive turn and we are developing some optimism.
On the drive down here, I couldn’t help but think about some of my favorite experiences with my father. We really love doing things together that revolve around music, sports and travel. While taking that mental trip down memory lane, several things popped out:
- Seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Liberty Hall in Lawrence as a little kid. (How progressive, or crazy, is it for your parents to take you to see that flick when you’re under 10 years old!)
- Getting to watch Devo live in concert at Memorial Hall for one of my first live concert experiences.
- Attending games six and seven of the I-70 World Series showdown.
- Watching Danny and the Miracles on television make that crazy run to win the NCAA title.
- Getting to hang out in the historic recording studios of Capitol Records.
- Keeping up our tradition of talking on the phone to debrief after every KU basketball game. Especially this particular one.
- Getting to see one of our favorite singer-songwriters perform an intimate show at the historic Troubadour in Los Angeles.
Thinking about all these wonderful memories it became clear to me that these were all about shared context. They were experiences that were not only personally important to us individually but ones that were made even better by sharing them together. And when you think about it, isn’t this what really drives relationships? Or taking it a step further, doesn’t this really drive the idea of community? Shared context…that is rooted in emotion. It’s hard to beat that.
These are pretty obvious lessons for brands and marketers. (I’m not going to take this too far in that direction – frankly I’m too mentally and emotionally worn out to be wearing my professional hat for very long at the moment.) Brands don’t always intend to steer clear of the emotional connections with customers, but it’s just so much easier to be transactional. Focus on price. Offer deals. Appeal to the lowest common denominator. But really, how personal is that? Why and how does that create a relationship, let alone a lasting one? And with that as a focus, why should consumers really care beyond just the actual purchase itself?
I wanted to take the time to jot down some thoughts – not only to keep the rhythm of my blog going but also to distract myself a bit with everything that is happening. I’m going to leave it there for now on the marketing and personal fronts – I don’t want to keep looking backwards. Not now. Instead it’s time to focus on going forward, riding the momentum and supporting my family through this stretch.
(photo courtesy of Creative Commons license: Pol Sifter.)