Which Brands Frustrate You?

by Jay Deragon on 07/09/2008

In the Relationship Economy brands need to pay specific attention to messages, processes and experiences that create frustrations for people.

Frustration is an emotion that occurs in situations where one is blocked from reaching a personal or professional goal. It is comparable to anger and disappointment, two strong emotions of influence.

There are two types of frustration, internal and external. Internal causes of frustration are centric to not being satisfied with self, your esteem, capabilities, relationships or standing. External causes of frustration involve conditions outside the person’s control, such as buying a product or service which has constant problems in delivering the value that was expected or promised. Expectations, set by ourselves and created by others, have a lot to do with frustrations.

Frustration Are The Result of Blocking Motivated Behavior

When people, businesses, brands or things block our expected progress or disrupt our related task one can expect frustration or disappointment. If your cell phone calls get dropped during a conference call, if your internet connection isn’t working, or if people aren’t delivering on time or following through on their words, frustration is a natural response.

If you have a motivated buyer why would you want to create frustration? It is illogical to think any business starts out by saying “OK let’s build a product or deliver a service that purposely frustrates people.” Instead the related frustrating experiences come as a result of disconnects between people and processes within an organization..

Which Brands/Organizations Cause Frustrations?

If the customer is constantly frustrated with a product or service that typically reflects that the employees of an organization are frustrated as well. Frustration is a noise that points to systemic problems with an organizations design, culture, leadership and management.

Denying there is a problem, avoiding problems or deflecting blame to someone or something else is not going to cure reoccurring problems. Where there is ongoing frustration there are strained relationships. Strained relations deteriorate your brand equity and ultimately your market.

Frustration comes when people say they’ll do something then they do not follow through. Frustrations come from the disappointment in a lack of response, sincere concern and related lack of actions. The business of every business is connecting people, producing media and enabling communications. It would seem logical to focus on the critical attributes which enhance those value propositions. If on the other hand a business views itself differently than the customer views it then its relationship with the market is disconnected.

All this “social stuff” has created new dynamics that require new thinking about old strategies and processes that create disconnects. It is a fascinating space and disruptive which fuels thinking, learning and applying. To watch businesses fail at the relationship fundamentals and to experience it directly is a frustrating process. The voice of customers are expressing frustrations and doing so publicly about any and all brands.

If a brand isn’t listening to the frustrations of the customer and fixing the related processes, then sooner than later the customer just leaves the relationship for one more fulfilling. The same rule applies for listening to employee frustrations.

What say you?

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