Monday, July 24, 2006

Emotional Connections

Have you noticed how many restaurants have names like The Texas Roadhouse or the San Francisco Oven? Did you know that The Texas Roadhouse is based out of Indiana and the San Francisco Oven is based in Ohio? I guess the Cleveland Oven doesn't evoke the same emotional connection. How about the Indiana Roadhouse?

Isn't it interesting that communities, like people and organizations have brand images? I was reading Richard Florida's book, The Rise of the Creative Class and was fascinated with his observation that the type of community environment has a big influence on the type of people it attracts and the type of people influence the community. Sounds rather obvious but how many communities are intentionally creating the environment (not just buildings but the entire experience)for a certain population segment. Texas says "cowboy". Within Texas, Austin says creative people. San Francisco evokes a certain feeling of creativity and sophistication. Ohio... well I've been there and enjoyed myself, but in my mind they don't instantly create a strong emotional connection other than that of large manufacturing facilities with union disputes. And Indiana, other than the Colts, the movie "Hoosiers" and the Indianapolis 500 I'm at a lost to describe a particular emotional connection to Indiana.

So, how are you creating an emotional connection? It could be with a city, a color, a design, a smell, a taste, a location, a person, any of thousands of things that touch people's emotions, even if it's in a very subtle way.

How are you creating an emotional disconnect? It's usually not intentional. For example, I'm currently sitting in San Francisco Oven and I'm thrilled they have WiFi (emotional connection) but the noise level is almost unbearable because of the bare concrete floor (emotional disconnect). Which do you think I'll remember? Hint: I see a Panera's across the street.

Let me hear some of your favorite places, people, things that create either an emotional connection or disconnect. You've seen what's in my head... What's in YOUR head?

1 comment:

Charles Collie said...

Since I wrote this blog post San Francisco Oven has gone out of business. Panera's, however, is still serving my favorite bagels.