Connecting with your audience in ways that will astound them

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A ton of companies have some pretty big mouths, both internally and externally. What do I mean by this? Well, I'm sure you can recall at least one company you've dealt with, or worked for, that touted something to the effect of "Our customers mean the world to us" Yes, this is true, every businesses customers should mean the world to the them, because let's face it, without customers you won't have much of a business left then will you?  Connecting with your audience is of the utmost importance.

Employee Culture

Now what I want to discuss more deeply today are those company's that do a really good job of this on the external side.  It's one thing to be transactional, anyone can do that.  Gas stations are transactional, as are 7-11's, we go in and get out with what we need.  I am not looking to have a mind blowing experience whenever I go into a 7-11.  Off of the top of my head, I can think of a couple companies that are doing a really good job with this.  The first one that jumps to mind is actually Apple.  Apple goes to great lengths to do two things:

  1. Be consistent.  Every single Apple Store I've been in has the exact same setup, same level of service, and typically the same general layout.  This is important, because if you have a great experience in one place, you'll then expect that at every other location.
  2. Embrace transformation.  Every Apple employee in each of their stores will go the extra mile to make sure that you're leaving that store with the right solution.  Whether that solution is thousands of dollars worth of hardware, or a new iPhone case, you can rest assured that they'll take care of you.

There's a handful of other companies I know of that really go this extra mile to make the customer feel important, and truly valued, but today, I was actually totally blown away by a new comer to the game, Charity Water.

For those unfamiliar, Charity Water is a startup based out of NYC whose sole purpose in life is to raise money to get clean drinking water to developing nations.  This is a huge problem in modern times, so I feel a very close and personal connection to them right off the bat, but their branding and communication with their audience is truly amazing.

I know what you must be thinking, "How hard can it be for a non-profit with such a admirable cause to connect to their audience." Yes, this is true to an extent.  No one needs to be "sold" on the idea of helping people who are less fortunate, you either are passionate about topics like this, or you're indifferent.  That being said, I'd also like you to take a step back and think about some other charitable causes you've donated to.  Maybe an animal rescue foundation, or the Red Cross?  I'm sure you felt good about yourself, but were you really connected with afterwards?  Perhaps at best a letter was sent to you to thank you for your generosity?

That's what I'm talking about, and I'm going to show you where Charity Water really shone through today.  

First, let's see the email they sent me


Why this a great email:

  • Aesthetically, it's catching my eye already and it's engaging me with a still frame of a video.
  • The verbiage is very clean and intriguing.  It's asking me if I'm ready for an adventure, I mean who isn't ever ready for an adventure!?
  • For the sake of not utilizing too many screen shots, I have left out the body text, but it was very well crafted as well. It basically explained how they were changing the way that they shared how my donated money was being put to use, and they wanted to show me by visiting the website again.

Now let me show you where the magic happens


So here is what Charity Water is doing with their customers.  They're basically having employees out in the field create video series for people who have donated, to show us exactly what are money is doing, and who we're helping out.  The videos are personalized too, they actually lay down the foundation for where the employee is going to go, and how they are going to continue to help. This is such powerful brand communication, because they're not just thanking me for my donations, they're actually showing me what they're doing with my specific contributions.  The next closest thing would actually be flying me out there to see it first hand, but hey, we have to be realistic as well.

Having a business doesn't mean you have to give up your soul.  At the end of the day, you're selling a product or an idea to people, people have emotions, and will react more positively to things if you can find a way to transform their perception somehow.