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Brand Management

How Rapport Propels Brands

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How Rapport Propels Brands

The word “rapport” sums up everything we desire as marketers. It is taken from the French verb rapporter, meaning “to bring back, or refer.” To marketers, it means a lot more.

Rapport is defined as a relationship of mutual trust and respect. The very notion of “bringing back” as is described by the French definition, closes what is hopefully a vibrant, continuous, and even infinite loop of shared experiences. Rapport is one of the most important features of subconscious communication. It is commonality of perspective: Being “in sync” with, or being “on the same wavelength” as the person with whom you’re communicating – whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone, texting, or emailing.

You know when you have rapport with someone, and you certainly know when you don’t. It’s true of course, we like people who are like us. We are naturally drawn to relationships that have a component of rapport.

Rapport = Trust

At the heart of rapport, is trust. Being “in sync” with someone requires that you trust. David Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford in The Trusted Advisor, came up with a formula for calculating trust. They called it “The Trust Equation.” For a high value of trust, credibility (the signals people send out to show they are who they claim to be and as good as they say), reliability (delivery of what is promised on time) and intimacy (do you feel comfortable around them?) are scaled up, while self-importance is scaled down.

The Mood Factor

It is important to note that rapport is classified as subconscious communication. It’s a connection on a very deep, real, albeit intangible level. A gauge of “mood” must be included in order to function “on the same wavelength.” Both individuals and constituencies are affected by the pressures the world exerts. These can be positive pressure as well as negative pressure. Being able to forecast shifts in pressure, or respond to knowledge of a shift in pressure empowers you the ability to set your wavelength to maintain rapport.

Frequency of contact and proximity of that contact make this activity much easier to achieve. In the digital age, we’ve leaned to rely so heavily on data, that at times we’ve forgotten the emotional aspect of communication – we’ve forgotten rapport.

Regardless of how technology seems to have shrunk the world, the reality is that the world has not shrunk in billions of years. Clients and constituents need to be visited, often, e-mailed often, listened to and heard often, pinged often. It’s not about the technology, it’s about rapport with people – living, breathing human beings.

Relationships are kindled by contact. While that’s easiest to do in a person-to-person relationship, it’s more difficult, but still possible in a brand to consumer relationship. In this “new normal”, there is no global. It’s all local. People have opinions and feelings. How you tune into those frequencies will determine the level of rapport you have.

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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