Just sit with the thought of these items in your mind for a moment. You can consider them separately, or together if you’re into that kind of thing. Each one of these items is an icon in its own right, complete with values and sensations that are associated with your experience with them.
These are items I have an affinity for. I know you have your own list of brands you happen to prefer when shopping or web surfing or eating out or whatever…
So, how did my affinity for Irish Spring, Barbasol
and Frank’s RedHot get started?
Irish Spring was the soap my grandfather used. I was maybe five or six years old in the bathroom at his house and the look and smell were completely otherworldly compared to the Dial or Ivory we used at home. Today, it still evokes the memory of being at my grandparents house long ago.
Barbasol is a no-nonsense shave cream at a good price. No matter how many televised sporting events I’ve watched over the years trying to sell me something else, I have never felt the need to abandon my Barbasol. Pragmatism wins this round. Plus, if it was good enough for my dad and my uncles, it’s good enough for me.
Then there is Frank’s RedHot… or Frank’s Extra RedHot or my new side affair with Tobasco Chipotle (my mouth watering now!). I don’t think I had even tried hot sauce until my early twenties. It had NO appeal to me or my family whatsoever, and was something no one else around me liked either. However, when I was broke trying to make my way in the Silicon Valley, as a special treat a friend and I would go to a restaurant on Friday nights and we would order a heap of Tabasco wings and pitchers of beer and pretend we had a social life. The goal was to get your nose running and your forehead sweating – and it was true love. From then on I would joke about how food was only a method to get hot sauce into my body. I was changed forever!
So why on earth am I sharing this with you?
Whether we admit it or not, we get attached to the things our hearts and minds prefer, and it’s not something we can control. It’s not a rational attachment. No one can tell you to like mint chocolate chip ice cream – you just do, or you don’t. My wife thinks it’s like eating toothpaste. No matter how much we blame marketing or advertising for pushing their way into our lives, we still like what we like and probably buy stuff simply because we ENJOY it and want to use it again.
You are alive at the perfect time.
Technology has provided us the means to find the people who share our passions. It’s the flip side of “curb your enthusiasm.” Today you can find an Affinity Group and share your likes with like-minded people around the globe. Do you collect discarded left shoes? There’s a crowd for you!
So now consider your own business. Are you passionate about your product or service? Do you want to help customers who need or already buy what you sell? Are you open to sharing thoughts and ideas about how and where your products are used? You may not have an affinity group for your products or services (yet!), but chances are there is a group one click away discussing something your product might help them with. Find the groups, listen for a bit, then jump into the conversation when you can clearly add something worthwhile. Your brand will thank you.