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crop man getting dollars from wallet

When your product is “FREE,” is it worth it?

Price isn’t simply an amount, it’s a representation. This is how good we are, this is why you should trust us, this is the commitment, this is the value you’ll receive.

Yes, FREE can help solidify a brand and attract customers. Maybe it can make selling easier. But unless you’re using “free” to establish consistent revenue, is it worth it?

When you circumnavigate hassle with a free label, you might sacrifice perception in return.

Free could just be an easy way out.

What is marketing?

When I changed industries — from social work to advertising — I was skeptical. Why would an international branding agency want to hire me, a M.S.W. (social work) graduate from Columbia?

They did, and here’s why:

Empathy.

They knew I could question: How to analyze behavior and communities, how to look for factors that contribute to the way in which someone sees the world; how to start conversations to learn how people see themselves.

This is marketing.

As part of my social work degree, I had two clinical internships. For the second, I was placed in the counseling clinic of an all-girls college. My experiences prior to this was with drug and alcohol addicts, youth on probation, middle school students. Yet now I was playing the role of therapist in a clean office, listening to educated young women talk about their anxieties and frustrations.

These women had resources. They had money and options and opportunities. Yet their worries were the same as those kids on probation and the middle schoolers who walked up flights of dark stairs in Section 8 housing to go home.

Will he/she love me?
Will my family be proud of me?
What should I do for work?

Since then I’ve worked with Buddhist monks and young leaders in Nepal. Our yearnings are largely the same, but our resources are not.

If we fail to recognize these differences as marketers, we have no chance of winning.

I believe we can use this same awareness to create incredible marketing campaigns — and a better world.

Which audience will I care about?
Who do I want to impact?
Which traits do I want to develop?

Who are you making this for?

It’s fun to think about what you’re creating. Sometimes it can be difficult to pause and consider who you’re really designing for.

Before you get too involved, too excited, too invested in your project, take time to think about your intended audience:

What do they want?

What do they need?

Where do they go?

You’ll save yourself a lot of headache by planning accordingly.

(What’s important to you might not be important to them.)

The business of attraction

Chemistry is frequently considered in terms of human relationships, yet brands and businesses must also evaluate the chemistry they bring to their offerings.

Similar to personal relationships, initial sparks of excitement intensify interactions between business and consumer. From completed projects to the seal of a sale, emotion is embedded into business transactions. Skipping hearts and genuine smiles aren’t just for new loves; chemistry influences buying behavior.

How can brands weave chemistry into business?

As certain people are more open to the thrills of chemistry — those who are self-aware, thoughtful and personable — brands exhibiting similar traits can benefit from mindful demeanors.

Interest

Curiosity is how connection begins. When a business showcases what a client needs (or wants), the foundation for a relationship is set. To move prospects through the complete client journey, brands can plan for pleasant experiences to increase attraction and compel customers to engage in subsequent encounters.

Communication

Clear communication builds trust and rapport between entities. Communication is key for both business and relational development, ushering in assurance and confidence into business dealings. When communication is straightforward, expectations are fixed and boundaries for deliverables become reliable and well-defined.

Warmth

People and brands who present genuine, authentic traits are more likely to be perceived as considerate and understanding. Trust and loyalty hold weight in business circles, and positive dispositions enhance brands, attracting customers and keeping them returning for more.

Attraction

To be desired and perceived as desirable is something individuals and companies strive for. The most successful companies understand the value of appeal: They take time crafting beautiful products and experiences through careful branding and strategy.

Values

Values represent what you, or your company, stand for; they define why we do what we do. Businesses who match or try to amplify the values of their customers have an easier time setting long-term streams for revenue and profit.

What other traits contribute to brand chemistry? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

1:1 coaching – in person or online

After receiving so many requests to “pick my brain,” I’m offering one-on-one coaching slots, both in-person and online. We can talk about community building, organizing, branding, marketing, personal development, and more.

What’s available:

  • New York, New York (face-to-face – limited slots available)
  • Denver-Boulder, Colorado (face-to-face – limited slots available)
  • Worldwide – Zoom or Skype call (live and online)

If you’d like to schedule time with me or wonder how I might help you, send me a note. I enjoy watching others make the most out of life.