Brands today need to create a ‘wonder dimension’. How else can they expect to stand out in a sea of sameness, and compete in a hyper-competitive global marketplace?
Obviously, by creating awesome products. But also by telling engaging stories and creating amazing experiences that evoke a sense of childlike wonder in their customers. By taking a leaf out of the magician’s playbook and strategically using curiosity, mystery and surprise, you give a wonder dimension to your audience.
A brand that does this superbly is Cirque de Soleil.
The circus industry was in decline until Cirque de Soleil launched and completely re-invented the impossible. Their performances are enchanting and extraordinary – combining death defying traditional circus feats with storytelling, humour and rich, evocative imagery. Cirque de Soleil is a true WONDER BRAND and their shows have been seen by over 150 million people.
The rise of digital, and the death of wonder
With the advent of digital technology and marketing automation many businesses and brands have been so caught up in the ‘how’ that they have forgotten about the ‘wow’. ‘How’ only gets you so far. It gets you to where everyone else is. It gives you parity, but it doesn’t create differentiation. ‘Wow’ takes you further, igniting the market with positive word of mouth and propelling you ahead of your competitors. It’s this ‘wonder dimension’ that creates the ‘wow’ and magic.
Having a wonder dimension helps you connect on a deeper level with prospects and customers. When wonder is awakened, curiosity comes alive and customers become more open to experiencing new things. Most of us live in predictable (sometimes boring) day-to-day routines. The final episode of Game of Thrones may spark some conversations at the office, but all of us crave that childlike sense of wonder and discovery. We want to be moved, engaged and fascinated by the world around us, and see what’s around the next corner. We’re constantly searching for the next enlivening moment.
So, practically, how do you give your brand a wonder dimension? Here’s 2 strategies to get started with.
The first is… communicate to the inner child in your customer.
At first glance, this might seem a bit fluffy for a business audience, but it’s incredibly effective and has been proven by neuroscience. Neoteny – the retention by a species of juvenile characteristics into adulthood has long been recognised as an important factor in human evolution.
None of us ever fully grow up, and all of us have an inner child-like persona that is curious, likes to play and explore, and is more open to trying new experiences. This is the deep persona your brand should be targeting. Many brands are starting to get onboard with this strategy. GE (a serious B2B industrial company) ran an inspiring campaign a couple of years ago where they talked about their wonderous inventions through the eyes of a child. You can view some of their brilliant commercials here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0Qa8Qn6e5w
In a recent article Trendhunter.com says that many brands are also getting onboard with the concept of grown-up playtime. Childhood pastimes are getting revamped as branded adult experiences, whether it’s playing in ball pits or colouring on walls.
Check it out: https://www.trendhunter.com/protrends/grownup-playtime
The second strategy is…tell stories that have a unique or magical quality.
Great stories are powerful because they disarm cynicism and judgement and evoke the sense of wonder and curiosity that is present in children. In other words, they are a fantastic trojan horse to get your message through the fortified citadel of your prospect’s mind.
What types of stories should you tell? In my experience there’s hidden “story gold” in every business or brand. You just need to spend time finding and refining it.
Is there an interesting angle in your origin story? A special ingredient in your product. An inspiring story about one of your customers? The story about your product and where your company comes from doesn’t just have to be a list of features. It can talk about the values that you have as a company, why you come to work every day to do what you do, what you believe the future of your industry looks like. Or it can simply talk about the power of an idea.
Here’s a great example from John Lewis & Partners – a department store in the UK. It tells a magical story about Elton John and the piano his parents gave him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNbSgMEZ_Tw
In my next post I’m going to talk about using wonder gestures to help create a wonder dimension for your brand.
I recently put together a presentation called BUILDING A WONDER BRAND.
It’s full of practical ideas and examples of how to add the wow to your brand – the Wonder Dimension.
Email me at [email protected] if you would like me to present this to you in person.