There are ALWAYS balloons in our house. My daughter loves balloons. She has small helium balloons that last forever that we bought her (I don’t mind these too much) and often when you go to restaurants or birthday parties you can leave with a balloon.

Recently we went to an event (or tried to, we were actually too late) and there were balloons. Because we were late, we didn’t have a balloon and my daughter complained of this fact while we were in the play park only to have a kind parent give up her sons balloon to her. This was very generous and instantly improved my daughters whole day! The balloon came into the coffee shop with us, visited the animals at pets corner with us and went on the park train too. She was delighted. When we got back to the car I decided that I needed to put some air in the tyres so I got my gadget out and plugged it in. My daughter put the balloon in the car and got back out to eat a biscuit (there is to be no eating in the car since I vacuumed it out) – but she left her door open and the balloon sailed out of the door and up into the air. We were parked under a bridge so it go stuck right where we could see it. She jumped but couldn’t reach it and concluded that we needed to go home and get some springs to stick to the bottom of her shoes so we could get it back.

Up until the point when my daughter was given a balloon she’d been sad that she didn’t have one. Every child we’d passed with a balloon she’d said “they have a balloon, I want one” and I’d had to explain – again – that we were too late so she couldn’t have one. Having a balloon made her feel better. It made her feel that she belonged, even though there were lots of people in the park who hadn’t been part of the event, she wanted a balloon because a lot of the kids around us had one and she wanted to be like them.

What could you offer to your customers to help them feel that they belong? That they are relevant, important, worthwhile? It could be a badge – like the Blue Peter badge, helping them feel that they belong to a club, to something important, or a certificate if they complete a course or maybe for them it’s just about owning your product makes them feel special because of what it is. What do you have or what can you offer to improve the mood of your customers and help them to feel that they belong in your audience?

Belonging is really useful as if people feel that they belong in your group then they would need some serious persuading to buy what you offer elsewhere. People have strong connections with brands. Some people will only buy Coca-Cola, or they might be an Apple person, maybe they’ll only buy Fairtrade bananas or Free range eggs because they believe in those things, a certain brand of jeans or a particular brand of tea. If you can help people to feel that they belong – that they are part of YOUR tribe, then you’ve achieved something great.

What can you do this week to help people feel that they belong? And how will you make sure that they don’t lose that sense of belonging? (Keep the car door shut)

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