How to Turn Customers Against Your Brand

Downtown city St. with traffic

Brands may do well to avoid this characteristic which has the potential to evoke negative reactions from customers.

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I consider myself to be a pretty positive, even-tempered person. Minnesota Nice, don’t ya know.

Until you cut me off and flip me off in rush hour traffic.

That’s the point when a darker dimension of my personality comes out. I can go from content to contempt in the flash of a blinker. (Or lack thereof.)

As I reflect on experiences that evoke strong reactions in me, the trigger is often an encounter with arrogance. It can be really tough to swallow arrogant people, politics, organizations or actions.

Stop for a minute and think back to an experience you’ve had with someone who is aggressively prideful. And they get right up in your grill.

Not good, right?

Okay now…before your pulse rate becomes visible on your neck…take a deep, cleansing breath.

I have long believed that virtue, integrity and values are the underpinnings of a joy-filled life. This starts in the heart of each person, and extends to our fundamental relationships at home, at church, and in our work and civic lives. Consequently, it also extends to brand marketing.

Here’s the key application for your brand:

Arrogance in brands repels, humility in brands attracts.

Brand arrogance is everywhere. Political parties and candidates are increasingly brash and boastful. Fashion brands strut their “I’m more sophisticated than you” values without constraint. Professional sports teams and players gush over themselves as monuments to modern narcissism.

There’s nothing to be proud of here, people.

In stark contrast, when we encounter people and organizations who demonstrate a commitment to service and humility — an others-first attitude – it’s like bees to sweet honey. Give me some of that!

Brands like Southwest Airlines and Chick-fil-A have shown that in a world full of braggart brands, those who set out to put others — e.g. customers — first, win.

What are some telltale signs of humility in a brand experience? A sincere smile. A listening ear. An empathetic reaction. An extra-mile service. In a nutshell: an others-first focus. The great news is many of these don’t cost a dime.

Proverbs 22:4 says, “Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.”

Sounds like the recipe for success to me.

Let’s work to elevate humility as the new buzz word in brand marketing. And let’s make it stick. Examine your brand and business with a pride-blocking filter and make the necessary changes.

  • Instead of “Behold our awesomeness!”, try “How can we serve you?”.
  • Instead of “Look who’s number one!”, consider “You’re our priority.”
  • And instead of “You should aspire to achieve our level.”, how about “Together we can make a difference.”
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