Traditions, Connections, and Your Business

by Ken Mueller on November 29, 2012 · 8 comments

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300px Rockefeller Center christmas tree Traditions, Connections, and Your Business

Last night my family and I watched the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center on television. Generally kind of a cheesy program featuring has-beens and lightweight pop stars (though I guess Cee Lo doesn’t really count as either, on several different levels). My wife noted that watching this program probably means a bit more to us than for most people in our area, because of our connection to Rockefeller Center and the tree. For 13 years I worked just a block from 30 Rock, and would have to navigate the crowds on tree-lighting night to get my train home to Connecticut. And for most of those years, our family would spend a day in NYC, visiting the tree, the skating rink, and checking out all of the other holiday decorations throughout midtown Manhattan.

It was a tradition, and we felt a connection to the event, based on our personal and shared experiences.

The year-end holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas (and Chanukah) through the New Year is a time filled with traditions. In our family we have quite a few the involve food or decorations and other little rituals. Many of these were passed down through generations and give us a connection to our past.

Growing up, I can think of one specific business that was a big part of our tradition: Sears. Each year my brothers and I would fight over the Sears Wish Book when it came, circling everything we wanted from Santa. Even when I was beyond the age of toys and circling things, I would grab the Wish Book when it came and go to the back, where all the good stuff was, and reminisce, thinking about all the cool toys and other things I had gotten over the years. That includes the unicycle that I really wanted badly, but never learned to ride, though my brother did!

Most businesses don’t elicit that kind of response from us; we don’t feel that kind of connection. But if a business can tap into our sense of tradition, it is possible to create a connection that can influence our behavior. It’s a bit easier at holidays because of shared traditions, but how can we move these sorts of connections throughout the year. Our businesses need to help customers create great moments and memories, and those memories will help to build stronger connections.

What are you doing to build strong connections with your customers that will last over time?

 

 

 

 Traditions, Connections, and Your Business
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8 comments
barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I think you can accomplish this even in the B2B world. In fact, it's probably every bit as important if you want to stand out and create long-lasting relationships. In the past, I was always amazed at clients (professional services companies) who had a one-time party that cost them, oh from $10-$20k, and as a result made lots of business connections plus repeat business from people who hadn't called them in a while. But they didn't make it an annual thing. And these were people who'd pay way more than that on many other useless marketing programs. Or expensive company cars. 

sarahfayebauer
sarahfayebauer

Nice piece! I think Starbucks have an extremely effective holiday strategy, with their iconic red-branded cups, seasonal drinks, and attention to detail in the stores. Overarching the sense of "tradition" and connection consumers feel with Starbucks at this time is the consistency of experience. Every Starbucks cup during December is red. Every shop has the same music, same cozy decor. It's comfort in consistency, and it works.

Cheers,

Sarah Bauer

Navigator Multimedia

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Those connections make a bigger difference now than ever before. There are so many more choices of where to shop and who to spend your money with.

LizJostes
LizJostes

Ooooh, the Sears catalog!! That brings back so many memories! Love how you tied this altogether. Excellent point and something that would be extremely valuable to businesses if they were able to generate that type of reaction.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@barrettrossie It can be done in the B2B world, but a lot of those folks don't have the right sort of mindset. They just need to think creatively. Knowing what to do and when to do it can really make a difference.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@sarahfayebauer Thanks, Sarah.  I think a lot of businesses do that sort of thing, even McDonalds has a special holiday cup. But I think it really needs to go beyond that sort of thing.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@LizJostes Yeah, I don't think it's easy, but it can be done. Something to strive for. I think Hess does a good job with their collector trucks they come out with this time every year. I'm sure I could think of other examples as well. And the Sears catalog was a BIG thing in our house.

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