Consumers Energy just asked every residential customer in Michigan to turn their thermostats down to 65 degrees - they can’t pump natural gas out of the ground fast enough due to the cold.
Since then, many people have gone to their thermostats and turned them down to 65. But many other people have blown a collective gasket that an energy company would make such a demand.
HOW DARE THEY, says the internet.
Sure, this uproar is partly due to people’s love of internet-based acts of anger and defiance, but the other part is a lesson for business owners: your brand determines your ability to ask things of people.
How could Fyre Festival convince so many people that what they were offering was legit while an energy company can’t convince people that if they don’t turn their thermostats down a few degrees there’s a chance a majority of an ENTIRE STATE could go without ANY HEAT in -40 degree weather?
It’s marketing, it’s brand, it’s reputation. Fyre created a brand that supported their ability to make outrageous requests of people without any evidence to support they could follow through...people said yes.
For years, Consumers Energy has been plagued by poor customer service, accusations of price gouging, mishandling of bills, purposefully misreading meters, charging people for an entire’s years worth of utilities in a single month, etc.
So when they make a request - and in this case, a relatively small one - people refuse because the company doesn’t have a brand that convinces people they should say yes.
On a smaller scale, when a small business asks a potential customer to buy something, to like its page, to share it with friends, to come to an event, to enter a giveaway- those are requests whose success depends on brand.
Do people trust you? Do their friends trust you? Do they like you? Do you look legit? Do you look happy/authentic/professional/helpful?
Many times, a “yes” or “no” answer doesn’t depend on the size of question, but rather who’s asking.