What Advertising Agencies Know That Can Help You Create Deliriously Happy Customers for Life

“I was looking for really happy energy,” the director responded when I asked why he selected me as one of the actors for the newest Coors Beer national commercial campaign. He had auditioned over 1500 professional actors for the 10 very small (3 second) principle on-camera roles, one of which I had gotten.

The director was the famed Conrad Hall, Oscar Award-winning cinematographer (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty, et al) and he had been hired by one of the most successful advertising agencies in America to create a commercial ad campaign for the client.

I must have looked puzzled by his answer because he went on to explain, “People start changing television channels very quickly when commercials come on. If they happen to see your face as they are speeding through, I want them to see something that makes them stop and think, ‘Wait. What’s she so happy about? What does she know that I don’t know? I want what she’s having.’”

It was many years later in my career as a sales person and as a customer service trainer that I learned a concept that aligned perfectly with what Mr. Hall had told me. It was this: People aren’t really buying your product or service. They are buying the emotional state they think they’ll get – when they receive your product or service.

 The fact is (and the most successful advertising companies all know this) that everyone, on some level, is seeking the emotional state of happiness. And if what you are selling promises to bring happiness to the party, then you are ahead of the game.

Evidence: IHop isn’t selling “pancakes and waffles.” Their offering is for you to “Come hungry – leave happy.” Cocoa Cola doesn’t invite you to “open a bottle of soda,” but rather, “Open happiness.” Walgreens doesn’t ask you to “buy your drugstore needs from us,” but instead asks you to come to the “Corner of Healthy and Happy.” And who didn’t want the cheese that came from those happy cows? Even companies providing products and services that you would never associate happiness with – have jumped on the Happy Wagon. A while back the American Cancer Society aired a television commercial that clearly suggested that if you got your colonoscopy – you would end up being very happy camper.

Here’s my question to you: Do you capitalize on this idea in your business? Are you consciously selling happiness?

Do your customers hear a voice on the phone when they call that makes them think, “Wow, what is she so happy about? I want what she’s having!” When they see you in person do they immediately see a genuinely happy, warm, smiling face that makes them feel, well, happy? Does every single person on your team embody the attitude, “I LOVE working here! This is the BEST place EVER! This place makes me really happy!” And does that attitude actually show up in their faces and in the sound of their voices? And not only in how they talk to and interact with the customer, but with each other as well?

Speaking as a customer, let me assure you, we see those interactions. We are on hyper-alert. We do not miss a thing. From our first interaction with you we are desperately looking for information to answer our copious questions.

Am I safe? Are these people going to take advantage of me? Am I just a number to them? As we scan the environment, we pick up billions of bits of information and draw our conclusions based on what we perceive. And get this: while a lot of that information may impact us only on an unconscious level, it can actually influence our behaviors. We DO something in response to what we are perceiving, and we don’t have any conscious awareness of why.

  • I leave after my first appointment and never come
  • I don’t leave a voicemail message when I call for an appointment and only get an impersonal
  • I miss appointments (“Whoops, I forgot…)

And here’s what happens next in this model. Since happiness is contagious (you can thank your clever little mirror neurons for that), your customers/clients/patients/guests will pick up your happiness and start feeling it as well. So they will actually start to feel the benefits of your staff’s happiness from their very first encounter.

Now let the positive associations begin. Watch what happens over time:

  • They hear your happy voice on the phone – they feel happy
  • They see your happy faces in the office – they feel happy
  • They smell the DELICIOUS (oh please make them delicious) smells in your office or place of business – they feel
  • They see fresh cut flowers and sparkling water with lemon slices – and they feel
  • They hear happy voices and laughter coming from down the halls – and they feel happy

People can now just THINK about you, your product or service, the people who meet and greet them – and feel happy.

It starts with every one of you being committed to create the kind of customer experience that makes people so deliriously happy that they want to scream your praises to everyone who will listen and be loyal to you for life.

And that requires everyone, individually, making a conscious choice to bring their happiest self to the party. It means that instead of embodying NEUTRAL ENERGY (“I’m just doing life, on auto-pilot, getting my work done, nothing’s really great – but nothing’s too bad either”) everyone commits to embody HAPPY ENERGY (“I LOVE my job, I LOVE my customers, I am grateful that get to be a part of this phenomenal team!)

Make this shift in thinking and behaving and watch what happens. People will want what you’ve got. They’ll want to be in your space. They will be nicer and easier to be around. They’ll buy a ticket to ride in your Happy Wagon and won’t blink at the price.

I’ll leave you with the words of Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”

Sing it, Al!

Copyright 2018. Linda Larsen, CPAE Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker®


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