Giving Thanks: A Brand Love Letter
Molly Murphy in Brand Design, Brand Engagement Survey

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Do your customers or clients love you enough to write you a love letter? Will they proclaim their love for you from the mountaintops? Congratulations if they will! This kind of emotional engagement equals loyalty and revenue for your brand.

Gensler’s 2013 Brand Engagement Survey polled over 2,800 US consumers and the results reveal that there are three keys to brand engagement. Achieve these three things and your customers will love you – really love you. They are:

This year I am declaring some love for Zappos. They emotionally engaged me by delivering, declaring and delighting. Below is my love letter:

Dear Zappos,

I remember when we first met. I was an online shopping neophyte. It was 2006 and my friend Jessica showed me her trunk full of new shoe boxes. She told me about you and that with you, I could buy as many pairs of shoes as I wanted to and return the ones that I didn’t like at no cost to me. There was intrigue at first sight! I was at a point in my life where I had shopped and shopped. I was tired and I needed an online Prince Charming. I wondered if you would be the online brand of my dreams.

My first experience with you was via your website. What a great first date! I seamlessly filtered through running shoes to find a size seven, all-terrain, glow-in-the-dark, hot pink, medium width, Adidas pair, suitable for winter wear. You told me everything I wanted to know. You showed me every angle and even had a model try them on for me and point out their best features. You made me a promise to allow me an entire year to make returns with no apologies required. I appreciate that you encouraged me to do the soul searching required to make the right decisions.

Over time our love grew. You created a beautiful app that allowed me to sort and filter in a million ways and place the perfect pair of comfortable gold sandals in my cart while I waited five minutes for the subway to work. Design is important to me and you knew that. You created a clean design without annoying pop-up ads or other distractions. Our transactions have always been natural and effortless.

You told me about how you believe, as I do, that creating a great company culture increases productivity and inspires innovation. And the people who appear in your product videos genuinely seem happy. I felt great about buying from you since you have been ranked five times in Fortune’s top 100 companies to work for. You are kind and fun.

Because we have an honest relationship, I must confess that as I gained more online shopping experience, I flirted with some of your competitors. I have always had a place in my heart for a big box from the Pacific Northwest. The big box offers some brands that you don’t and since they still don’t have a New York location, I tried to build an online relationship. The big box just wasn’t as consistent and forthright in talking to me as you have always been. Sometimes they had a product video, sometimes they didn’t. And when I had to make a return I had to find a pen and write product codes, descriptions and my reason for returning in super tiny font on a packing slip. Why couldn’t they just trust me like you do?

You and me are not without our tough times. I remember last year when I came to the realization at 11:30 pm EST the night before my much needed vacation that my sandals, swimsuit, and beach bag had not been delivered. I cringed that I was going to have to break up with you. Disappointed and angry, I called your customer service line. To my unexpected delight, I experienced the best conversation with a customer service agent I have ever had! In 30 minutes, she creatively devised a miraculous plan to get my order from your warehouse in Las Vegas to my doorstep in NYC by 6:00 am EST. It arrived. We made up. How could I not forgive you? You made me feel good on my vacation and you made me a VIP customer.

I know our love will last because you continue to invest in our relationship. You built Zappos Couture for me because you know that I love fashion and needed a wider selection of brands. You knew that I would go elsewhere to find Rachel Zoe and Michael Kors. Thank you for paying close attention to my needs. And this year, you told me how much community matters to you. You shared with me how you are investing in revitalizing downtown Las Vegas where you live (and I once did) and I admire that.

I look forward to the future as you expand and evolve with your partner and parent, Amazon. I know that you will act with my best interests in mind and continue to delight me.

Sincerely yours,

Molly Murphy

P.S. Look for some holiday orders from me soon!

Declare. Deliver. Delight. What brand love letter would you like to write? Share your brand love letters with us. Let us know how your favorite brands won your heart.

Molly Murphy is a principal and studio director in Gensler’s New York office and the Northeast Brand Design Practice Area leader. With a background in architecture and strategy consulting, Molly leads design teams to create engaging brand experiences. She is passionate about storytelling. Contact her at
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