Now, let’s talk soul.
Listening to the song “Kandi” by One EskimO, a friend of mine noted how much “soul” the song had, and lamented the lack of soul in today’s music. He commented that even most R&B music today lacks the soul found back in the Motown days.
What is soul?
Soul, in the music sense, is essentially the merging of R&B and Gospel music. Deep funky grooves combine with heartfelt lyrics to blend together and create an emotional experience for the listener.
Rock star brands also have soul. Brands with soul do exactly the same thing – they blend elements together to create an emotional experience for the consumer. From emotional experiences come powerful brands with intense loyalty.
How can your brand have more soul?
1. Be human. Brand strategist Bernard Leibov noted that “it takes a soul to touch another soul”. Exposing your faults and imperfections is a great start, since human beings are inherently imperfect creatures. You can also gain trust by recognizing the flaws in your product category, like certain airlines have done. Be honest and human, and you’ll begin to build trust.
2. Communicate. Since we started drawing on caves we have told each other stories. We communicate. Your customers shouldn’t have to endure automated systems to communicate with you. It should be easy and painless, like leaving a Twitter message for Frank at Comcast.
3. Act. Communicating is great, but acting on that communication is even better. It doesn’t take much to act, even saying “I understand” or “we’re working on it” is a start, and fixing a problem is even better.
4. Be universal. Soul songs touch us because the are universal emotions. We all feel love, pain, loneliness, and hurt. When your brand stops talking about itself and starts talking about universal emotions, it develops soul. ”Free parking” is not a universal emotion. Neither is “our people make the difference”.
5. Be soft. Friends don’t give friends the hard sell. Friends refer. Friends share stories. Talk to your customers like they are your friends, and they just might actually end up being your friends. This cartoon from the brilliant mind of Hugh McLeod says it all.
Here’s the song with soul… “Kandi” by One EskimO.