My ex-husband is a great guy. In addition to a million other things like how to scare a bear away from your chicken coop, how to pick chokecherries and turn them into jam and how to pray in a sweat lodge he introduced me to John Fluevog. Oh those shoes!
My first pair, I’m living in New York City and a group of us are developing a business. I decide to part with the $300 necessary to own a pair of these beauties. They represent everything I want my life and our business to be. They are beautifully crafted, interesting, cool, they don’t look like anything else, they’ve got a great story and people like Madonna, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Alice Cooper and Jack White wear them.
They arrive with a hand written note from the sales person who I had personally spoken to on the phone to assure they would arrive before the big party I was attending. All the excitement and trepidation of living in the city and launching a business rolled up in this purchase. The note wished me success and guaranteed that the beautiful leather perfectly placed above the curve of the heel would bring me luck.
Ten years ago and I still have never left the house in these shoes without receiving a compliment. Perfect strangers go out of their way to come talk to me about my shoes.
These shoes are not for everyone. In fact I would venture to say they are not for most. They are uniquely themselves every day and have been since their launch in 1970.
Recently I had knee surgery and have been forced to wear sneakers for months. To celebrate my return to the mobile I decided to purchase a new pair of shoes. Once again my heart returned to my beloved Fluevog. You see I am not a sneaker person. I wear them to the gym because that is where one wears sneakers.
Why do we buy your car or not buy your car or drink your beer or eat at your restaurant or buy your computer?
These are how we characterize ourselves. I’m not using your brand because of you. I’m buying it because of me. I buy what I buy because it supports my definition of myself.
As it was with that first pair in NYC it’s because I want to be the person who wears John Fluevog shoes.
People are going to use your brand because it supports their definition of themselves. Do you know how your customers define themselves? You can change your offerings but if you change the qualities that your customers are using to define themselves you will need to find new customers.