SoLoMo? How About EmFaVe?

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Chad Kaszer, Sub Rosa
Chad Kaszer, Sub Rosa

What's the real marketing opportunity SoLoMo presents?

Advances in technology undeniably have changed the opportunities that marketers have to connect with consumers. The proliferation of digital platforms has provided increasingly diverse tools for expression and connection with like-minded people, allowing for greater brand tailoring and targeting. SoLoMo gives marketers an ideal scenario, a way to communicate directly with potential consumers exactly where and when they desire.

While this type of targeted communication is quite attainable, and the relevancy of serving up an interesting offer to a nearby customer is enticing, it only reveals half of the opportunity. Relevancy is equal parts timing and taste; having these coordinates only awards marketers the chance for consideration—it doesn't guarantee engagement. So what does? If SoLoMo technology provides the reach and delivery of a message, how can marketers take advantage of the access to ensure their message becomes a memory?

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman posits that memories are created from experiences that are threefold: new, significant, and have an eventful ending. Interestingly, there seems to be a difference between the self that experiences an event and the self that remembers the event. Kahneman also says the memory of an experience becomes the story of the experience, not the experience itself. When it comes to recall and recommendation, we don't choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. If an experience enables us to learn or feel something new in a significant  way and it ends well, a positive memory is formed (this also works conversely in the formation of bad memories).

The key is the connection between access and attraction. If SoLoMo presents the opportunity to reach anyone anywhere, how should marketers design experiences to pull in customers so a message has the chance to be converted into a memory? Since we live in the age of the acronym, I thought I would put together my own: EmFaVe—empathy, familiarity, versatility. While SoLoMo reaches consumers where they are for the chance of a personal encounter, EmFaVe is a way to think about how to design each customer experience to make positive memories.

Empathy establishes common ground

Understanding the feelings of another person actively demonstrates care and consideration, establishing a platform built on a shared experience. Understandably, for most brands this is a challenging line to walk. That said, a growing number of brands, such as Warby Parker and TOMS Shoes, have found success by demonstrating their empathy through the integration of social and ethical missions. Some brands in the fashion space put their mission front and center as the driving force behind their reason for being, such as Apolis and Everlane. In both cases the brands are leveraging SoLoMo technologies to pull consumers close, allowing customers to understand their empathetic and considerate ethos.

Familiarity creates compatibility

Once marketers establish a common ground with customers, a closer relationship can be formed as intentions become apparent and appreciable. Traditionally, familiarity with a brand generally forms after repeated interactions over an extended period of time. Thanks to SoLoMo technologies these encounters can be more frequent and more relevant, providing greater chances for customers to become familiar with a brand's essence and values. In particular, social media channels provide a great opportunity to foster deeper and more intimate connections on a consistent basis, demonstrating daily to customers the compatibility between their personal values and those of the brand.

Versatility reinforces reliability

Compatibility provides a brand an opportunity—perhaps even an invitation—to earn a relationship. In today's multichannel world a brand's ability to be versatile and to respond to the needs of its customers across many functions of the company reflects its unfailing commitment and the promise of reliability. For example, many brands have taken great strides to integrate social media disciplines into all aspects of the company, understanding that the flip side of SoLoMo technologies has created consumer expectation that a brand should be versatile and meet them wherever, whenever, and however they desire.

So what's the real opportunity SoLoMo presents? An anonymous writer expressed it well: “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with argument.” SoLoMo provides the opportunity for a personal encounter, heightening the possibility of a personal experience, but an experience in and of itself does not make something memorable—or even worth sharing. The real opportunity of SoLoMo lies in pulling consumers close to the heart of the brand where its values and essence can be tangibly and holistically felt, presenting the greatest chance to turn a marketing message into an impactful memory.

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Chad Kaszer, Sub Rosa

Chad Kaszer is strategy director at Sub Rosa, a strategy-led design and innovation firm, He's responsible for the direction of its strategy discipline. Kaszer heads a team of strategists whose mission is to discover and chart opportunities for businesses to learn, grow, and explore. Prior to joining Sub Rosa, Kaszer led the corporate media strategy for Sony Corporation of America, and before that he led the social media strategy for the Sony Pictures Entertainment brand Crackle. He's also active in his church—Liberty Church—and co-leads Liberty City, a nonprofit sister organization of the church. Kaszer is a soccer enthusiast who also loves collecting rare wristwatches.

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