What do you know about dinosaurs?

Not much? Don’t fret, neither do I. But I learnt.

Why? Because my 5 year old nephew is obsessed with them and I am obsessed with him.

He can recite a dinosaur name starting with every alphabet in the English language. Allosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ceratops, Diplodocus….you get the drift, right?

It makes me beam with pride and I like to take a little credit for this demonstration of intellect since I had introduced him to the Diplodocus when he was a toddler. Back then it was just a funny word and most of my focus was on teaching him things that would annoy the other adults in the house leaving the two of us in splits.

But naughty, kiddie fun stuff apart, I also slip in the educational learning from time to time. This happens when the nerd in me takes over and on one such occasion I wanted to teach him how to solve a word search puzzle. So naturally I picked a dinosaur themed puzzle book. I tried to get him excited with “Look, Look…I found the STEGOSAURUS!” “Now let’s find the TYRANNOSAURUS.” On the third one he said to me, “Ash, I found the PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS”. And just like that, this little boy went on to find the remaining 7 dinosaur names by himself in the alphabet mix. Mission Accomplished! Even before I could say dinosaur!

Moral of the story you ask? It is basic human behaviour. If you really want to connect with someone, you have to find out what they are interested in, learn it and use it as conversation fulcrum.

For a brand that aims to connect with its consumer in order to elicit a favourable behaviour, the same insight holds true. If you want your consumers to be involved with your brand, you have to get involved with your consumers. It’s the only way they will show any interest in you or your offering.

To quote Dale Carnegie, “To be interesting, be interested.” More so, if you are in it for the long haul.

Ensure you spend time understanding your consumer and learning what matters to them. Learn to speak their language and they’ll reward you with the secret handshake.

For brands, be it old or new, this basic principle is essential more today than ever, given that media fragmentation is off the charts and preferences and loyalties shift with each tweet and post.

It’s a slow process, but if you keep at it steady, you certainly stand a chance to prevent extinction and maybe, just maybe, win the race.

Curious to know more? Write to me at ashwini.vr.nair[@]gmail.com