Purple pleasure: turning dread into brand love

I fly a lot. You probably do too.

So let’s play a little free association game.

What comes to mind when you look at this?

Airplane cabin

Here are my results:

  • Annoyance
  • Back pain
  • Germs
  • Body odor
  • Crabby spouse
  • Sleeplessness
  • Visine

I’m hoping your list is sunnier, though it’s probably not. Because while air travel is miraculous, the experience is often purgatorial.

And for however lavishly airline brands seek to advertise their way into the happier reaches of our minds, the truth is that flying is flying and it mostly sucks.

But must it…really?

Take a look at this picture:

Virgin America Cabin

That’s the cabin of a Virgin America plane. Virgin flies the same planes every other airline flies. The number of people who stink on a typical Virgin flight is, in my experience, consistent with what you’d smell on, say, United.

It’s still flying.

But when I step onto a Virgin flight at 6:00 a.m. dreading my coming insomniac interludes with Nancy Grace, well, for just a moment, I feel something good.

In fact, I feel almost cool. Which is hard to do.

All Virgin did to effect this was to change the color of the lights. Oh, and they pipe in House music while you’re boarding. It kind of makes you feel like you’re in Ibiza, not coach.

These are very small things. But they deliver a significant difference in the experience of flying. They roll customers’ expectations on their back and tickle them with something they’ll remember.

I go out of my way to fly Virgin.

What are your purple lights?

Think about what your prospective customer sees when they see a real estate office. Or a Realtor. Or what they think about when they contemplate the often-challenging prospect of buying or selling a home.

If we’re honest with ourselves, it isn’t pretty.

And more advertising isn’t going to change that. Nor will making your logo bigger on your home page.

Delivering a better real estate experience will. If you do it, people will talk. Like I am now. And while you’ll still be in the real estate industry, you’ll be freed, by a small but meaningful measure, from the accumulated negativity that surrounds it.

Of course, delivering a superior experience requires that certain basics are covered. If you recruit anyone that can fog a mirror and pay a tech fee, you’re pretty limited.

But if you’re truly in the real estate business, it’s worth thinking about what your own purple lights might be.

We’ve been writing about this for a long time. And a lot of what we do with clients lies in this area.

I’d love a real estate company that made me feel good. Or cool.

Wouldn’t you?