Friday, June 27, 2008

Family ties

From the outset, the idea of Lovemarks was inspired by the emotional dynamics of a loving family. I have always thought that the way families adapt to one another’s idiosyncrasies, offer unconditional support and stick together through thick and thin, was a great metaphor for the relationship brands should aspire to. After all, family relationships are about empathy and love across the past and present and into the future, as well as the ability to understand differences and to enjoy them for what they are. It is by our differences that we define ourselves. Our family life is where we learn to deal with the paradox of difference. To acknowledge its importance to the creation of individuality and personality and to know that at the bottom-line, differences are always relative. Literally. I can criticize my kids, but let anyone outside the family try!

Lovemarks were also inspired by the research I did with colleagues into what makes great sporting teams great. This work resulted in our book Peak Performance. Here again we found that what makes families strong is very close to what makes sporting teams great - a sense of shared purpose inspired by the understanding that our differences can be strengths rather than weaknesses. When I am asked by businesses how they can improve their performance and help their people understand the world as their customers and users and shoppers do, I say, "Feel like a family, think like a team".