Updated: Aug 20, 2020
An American coffee manufacturer attempted to sell coffee into the Japanese market and failed miserably. The Japanese simply wouldn’t drink much coffee. The Americans decided to research what is preventing the Japanese from consuming the brown liquid. They surveyed the history, the habits, cultural aspects and still could not get to a conclusive understanding. Luckily, they had someone on their staff who specialized in Emotional Intelligence. They decided to examine the emotional attachment of coffee within the American culture. They figured if they found out what emotionally connects the average American to coffee drinking they could perhaps do the same in the Japanese world.
Amazingly, they found out that the emotional part of the brain that is triggered when craving for coffee in the average American’s head is the same part in the brain that yearns...Mother!
Digging a bit deeper the research has shown that growing up, the average American kid, would wake up on a typical Saturday/Sunday morning, walk towards the kitchen where their mom would be percolating coffee. The weekly repetitive emotional experience, including the Aroma and the homey feeling has served as a deep emotional anchoring for that kid. Growing up, every time they would smell that Aroma, they are triggered towards craving coffee when in reality, their Emotional Relevance, that unconscious part of their brain is seeking that motherly, homey feeling. That virtual hug we all so want and need (but afraid to admit).
I received a note from one of my LinkedIn contacts yesterday. Saying hi and that he is really happy for me for some of the latest stuff he has seen I have been posting. To be honest, I did not remember how we are connected but I did remember it was a positive experience. The Emotional Anchor, the one set by an emotional experience is so powerful and lasts for such a long time, that even if you don’t remember the name of the person, you remember the feeling. And if it was a positive one, and in this case it was, it will affect your next move. We exchanged some notes and set up a call to catch up. I am really looking forward to possibly working with him again.
Every interaction with your customers, prospects, colleagues, whoever, you want to try and take them through a positive emotional experience that will be engraved in their minds for a long time. That experience can be a collection of small things, an ongoing project where you got to know each other better and experienced a few small yet touching experiences. The key is to give them, and yourself a feeling of….home. Make your customer feel at home, comfortable, make them be themselves and you have trust and a long lasting relationship. It takes time, efforts, consciousness and you might need to trigger something that happened a while back in order to make them feel like "home" but it’s there. Trust me.
I arrived in Tel Aviv this past weekend to visit family. My mom went to stay with her sister so I can spend the mandatory 2 weeks quarantine at her place. Kind of weird to be back at the same apartment I grew up in. Home?
Mom left her famous dishes in the fridge, my favorite ice cream in the freezer and even got me those special cookies you can only get there and that she knew I love. She made me feel at home. Got me thinking - ice cream, cookies, triggered that homey childhood feeling of motherly love from...well....many years ago.
The American coffee manufacturer, understanding these Emotional Relevance elements, decided to do it right and invest for the long term. They decided to create a homey feeling for the Japanese kids while they are young so when they grow up, that smell of coffee will trigger that craving. That longing for something homey, something positive that "hugged" them when they were young. Since they couldn’t get to the mothers to start percolating coffee on Saturday mornings they simply started flooding the market with coffee flavored candy and ice-cream. Millions of Japanese kids are now experiencing an emotional experience that in a few years, their minds when smelling the aroma of coffee will signal them - hey, I want that. That feels comfortable, it reminds me of something warm and homey.
Kind of like my mom, the ice cream and the cookies she left for me. Also got me thinking that my real home right now is in Atlanta....
So I guess there is a place like home.