Can brands have body language?

By Jude Bliss, 19/10/2012

We travelled to Dublin recently to interview Stewart Kenny, who not only co-founded the €300 million business Paddy Power, but is also a qualfied psychothearpist.

He described a brand’s non-marketing related communications as their body language. That’s not advertising, not a customer service policy, not their website or twitter-feed but the energy levels or risk levels which demonstrate a particular attitude or state of mind of a brand. You can see a short clip of him explaining this in the film above.

According to the Oxford dictionary body langauge is defined as ‘the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated’. So what other examples exist of brands communicating their attitude or state of mind through their body langauge?

An example of ‘respectful’ body language could be Apple and their Genius Bars removing the barriers between staff and customers through their unique store layout; removing queues and enabling a much more equal and collaborative approach to tech support and service. Another could be Zappos the online shoe store sending customers flowers or gifts along with your shoes if they know they are for a funeral or wedding. It could be as simple as the speed with which a company replies to an enquiry or complaint.

Examples of ‘contemptuous’ body langauge could be telecomms companies keeping customer’s on hold (often whilst simultaneously saying “your call is important to us…”), it could be hotels that charge a small fortune for a night’s stay and then bill extra and per-hour for wi-fi access, it could be banks or gyms that desparately try to get you to join them but then make it near impossible for you to close your account or to cancel a subscription.

A very interesting concept from Stewart Kenny and one that feels like it has the legs to be explored further as the need for authenticity and identity (who you are) rather than advertising and marketing (what you say) become ever more important in the world of brands and business.

One Response to “Can brands have body language?”

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