At my home studio, I used to have this mat at the front door, with large H E L L O letters. This side of the studio gets a lot of direct sun beating down on it each day, so the doormat started to look a little worse for wear. Then one day I went out to the studio and saw that the “O” letter had come away from the mat surface and moved. All of a sudden I had the words H E L L staring back at me. What a welcome! Despite this, it got me thinking about how our brand experience creates “Invitations” in our business and even in our lives, that set the tone going forward. Likewise, many of us don’t even think twice about some of the “Invitations” we send out to the world.
We make “Invitations”…
- consciously and subconsciously
- with intention and sometimes by chance
- to bring people closer and at times to polarise, and
- in alignment with who we are and sometimes in an unhelpful way against our natural style and approach.
The “Invitation” is not only found in the mat you use to welcome new feet. Moreover, it’s in your sense of self, your values, your sense of purpose, what drives you, in your business strategy, in the photographs you use to market yourself as an expert, in your positioning, your level of product/service and how your client travels through the buying experience with you. Additionally, it’s in the way you speak and listen, in your body language and in the way you dress. You are constantly Inviting the world to engage in different ways with you.
Your Brand Experience
On the other hand, when you take into account WHO you are, WHAT you stand for and HOW you want others to perceive you, this ultimately sets the tone for your entire personal brand. Furthermore, an “Invitation” has its own psychological ecosystem that is experiential in nature. Specifically, some would call it the onboarding process for new clients or the call-to-action that you use in your marketing. However, it’s so much more than that. Alternatively, it is in the way you answer a phone call from a client, how you ask them questions, how you leave a relationship, and even how you wish someone a happy birthday.
Overall, the “Invitation” isn’t only found at the very start, as they walk over the mat into my studio. It’s at all stages of the journey that they experience with me.
However, without clear “Invitations”, relationships and interactions can come across as missing something. When you are following a prescribed strategy that is not in alignment with who you are, you go against your natural style. For example, some people will focus so much on the “welcome mat” approach for how they bring clients into their business funnel. However, they forget to prioritise others just as engaging “Invitations” throughout the whole customer experience. Unfortunately, clients can become confused, lose interest or even feel disconnected from you when you fail to emotionally motivate them.
Your Brand’s Emotion will drive your Success in Business
According to research by Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, the TOP 10 “emotional motivators” that drive consumer behaviour are:
- To stand out from the crowd
- To have confidence in the future
- To enjoy a sense of well-being
- To feel a sense of freedom
- To feel a sense of thrill
- To feel a sense of belonging
- To protect the environment
- To be the person I want to be
- To feel secure
- To succeed in life
These are the perfect types of “Invitations” that you can intertwine within your brand identity, your business structure and your client experience.
Deepen your Customers’ Connection to Your Brand Experience
Why not also get playful with other types of “Invitations” you can create for your brand experience and your business? Specifically, ones that are aligned with WHO you are, WHAT you stand for and HOW you want to be perceived by your customers.
Some examples of how you can deepen your connection with your customers:
- Ask questions that are meaningful
- Step up and be bolder, and invite your customers to join you
- Share more about you and your team
- Explore, be playful, challenge, inspire with ideas
- Be still and present
- Share a common purpose, obsession, or experience
- Make an impact and invite your audience on the journey
- Polarise people and make a stand about something
- Inspire an uprising or a movement
- Build a community
- Build trust and truth-telling
- Be vulnerable
- Be creative
To bring more Invitational type emotional motivators into your business and life:
- Be super clear on your own personal identity – your values, beliefs and purpose.
- Establish your BIG picture blueprint for where you are headed and what impact you want to make in the world.
- Less talking and more listening to what your clients are wanting.
- Flesh out the ultimate customer experience, and how you can bring “Invitations” into each step.
- Develop a bold message that you stand by, that has an “Invitation” flowing through it.
Wise words around The Invitation
Approximately 20 years ago, I came across this poem below which 100% sums up who I am, what I stand for, and how my clients experience my work.
The Invitation, written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool, for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty, even when it is not pretty, every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation