This is your captain speaking …

Just over six years ago, I wrote a post about the futility of pilot announcements. In it, I asked:

“Why do pilots always insist on giving us details of the flight plan and our intended altitude? Because, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care how high we’re flying or the course we’re taking – just as long as we get there. I just need to know they’re present and correct, and in an appropriate state of body and mind to do their job. And besides I have no way of knowing whether it really is 27,000 feet or not, so what’s the point in telling me? …”

Every brand would like to tell their audience more about what they do. They like to think that explaining in detail how hard they work and how much they know quantifies the value they add. But what it really amounts to is the brand having a “conversation” with its customers on terms it feels comfortable with.

It’s smalltalk, disguised as information. The pilots probably aren’t iinterested. They signed up to fly. You’re probably not interested. You paid up for a seat. But it happens anyway – because somehow the airline’s not happy with silence (it seems unfriendly) and the passengers understand they can’t actually ask to just be left alone please (which might also seem unfriendly).

So in reality both parties are probably engaged in an exchange that neither genuinely wants but both feel compelled to have.

So here’s my two questions for the next time you’re thinking through how to differentiate your brand experience. What “experiences” do customers get from your brand because you feel comfortable delivering them? And what do they not get that they would actually like?

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