If you sometimes feel that the business world has a rigid, bureaucratic nature in which everyone is oriented with numbers, then perhaps the following story will convince you that there are aspects of interpersonal relationships that cannot be captured by bars or graphs that are crucial to the success of a brand.
This topic would likely not exist without the user research that I had the pleasure of doing. Their primary objective was to compare two establishments selling quality dog food. We were interested in the thoughts of the target audience and in learning more about how dog owners choose pet food – whether they have created strategies for making dietary changes and what factors they employ when introducing a new brand into their pet’s diet.
Thus, we encountered pleased owners and guardians of purebred dogs that carefully monitor their diets. In the initial phase, we discovered that the selecting process itself is extremely complex. It involves the understanding and empathy of the caregiver. Especially if the pet is a purebred dog, the pet must go through the process of switching foods gradually so that the owner’s good intentions do not result in stomach upset.
In the second phase, we evaluated two stores simultaneously. The responses to the question “which one would a specific pet owner choose and why?” played the most significant role. One remark in particular has stayed with me:
“I chose “this” store not because of practical reasons,but because of the general vibe. There appeared to be more to it than simply making money. In addition to selling it commercially,”
The speaker’s words moved me personally. She described the effect, which consisted of numerous, not always apparent variables. Contrary to expectations, the argument for one of the stores was not quantitative factors, such as technological or advertising solutions, but rather a complex emotional reaction created by the store’s unique “environment.” A bond based on putting your heart into the well-being of your pet, which has become a shared value between the store and the customer, solidified consumers’ faith in the brand. He felt respected and understood. The link was formed on the basis of shared ideals between the store and the customer. He believed that product dedication and quality were directly influenced by these principles, which constituted a complex profit statement. It is not difficult to predict that such an effect would have almost no probability of occurring if the corporation was primarily concerned with numbers.
I believe that the pet owner’s perspective is a very fascinating indication for many firms operating in premium areas and beyond. Customers value human values if they are found in a coffee roaster, chocolate factory, or any other business that promotes love and passion, for instance. And it makes little difference if they are intended for the family, pets, houseplants, or even automotive accessories for true fanatics. Demonstrating that you have the same beliefs or interests as your clients is an effective way to earn their trust.
This encounter confirmed my view that regardless of data accuracy, performance indicators, and KPIs, it is worthwhile to highlight the human side of business. It is true that, logically speaking, the primary objective of any business is to remain on the market, acquire customers, and generate a profit, but in times of high competition and an uncertain market, logic is no longer sufficient, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with numbers alone. Increasingly, transactions are based on the quality of the connection, fostering trust and loyalty. And these are mostly emotional in nature.
If you manage a company of this nature, you should consider how to demonstrate that your logo serves a purpose beyond producing money. What deliberate steps do you take to foster in your customers a sense of being understood, valued, and… cared for?
I urge you to cultivate the human side of business because it pays off tremendously.