Attraction: Why “Letting it Come to You” Works in Life and Business

Attraction is an invisible force that draws people and opportunities toward us. Promotion is the act of reaching out and selling ourselves and our products. We all know the difference: it’s the cool, calmness of a confident person who walks through the world with purpose, versus the frenetic neediness of someone who is constantly selling.

In nearly every category, we can find examples of people or products that use the laws of attraction to build lasting loyalty and enduring profits.

Apple > Dell | Patagonia > Columbia | Tiffany > Zale’s | Gaga > Miley

These leading brands do more than rely on gimmicks and advertising to drive sales — although granted they all do some advertising. More than that, however, they create a magnetic tractor beam through quality, curation, and integrity that literally draws us towards them. When we talk about them, we express loyalty, love, and admiration. They are more than consumer goods; they become part of our personal brand.

5 Reasons Why “Letting it Come to You” Works in Life and Business

1) Attraction is Scalable. Promotion is Linear.

Over tea recently, a friend made the pithy claim that “Attraction is scalable.” Today, thanks to the unbounded potential of the Internet and social media we can share images and ideas quickly to an unlimited number of people. As a result opportunities are naturally drawn towards attractive people, products, and ideas that other people are talking about.

Promotion doesn’t really work like that. When something is strictly promoted through paid advertising, the level of exposure is limited by your budget — clicks, views, and impressions. Sure, you may have to prime the pump of an attraction campaign with paid advertising, but after that, the power of attraction takes over — if it is truly remarkable in some way. If the video or content you are trying to push is not something people want to associate their personal brand with, the campaign will flop.

2) Attractiveness is a State of Being. Promotion is an Endless Process.

Once something is attractive, generally it can remain attractive with modest upkeep. Think of George Clooney, the Beatles, or the Ritz Carlton. They have an ageless staying power regardless of how long they’ve been around. They could not produce anything new for years (or ever again), and we remain loyal to their brand. And when they do produce something new, they make every effort to deliver on the same attractive brand promise.

Less attractive people and products, on the other hand, must rely on promotion and spectacle to remain relevant. The success of Miley Cyrus and other tabloid figures like Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashians revolves around us asking “What insane thing did they do now?” not “Who are they and how can I be like them?” By focusing solely on promotion (and spectacle) to build their brands, the tabloid regulars may intrigue us temporarily, but they do not inspire us in the long-term.

3) Attraction is Patient. Promotion is Desperate.

There’s really nothing worse than feeling pressured. It’s the biggest turn-off in both sales and romance, but we all do it from time to time in both arenas. The attractive company is the one that produces a quality product and lets its design and utility speak for itself. The promoting company runs constant sales and “limited time” offers.

Sure, Sales and Marketing 101 tells us that products do not sell themselves. You need sales operations and marketing budgets. Hell, that’s how I’ve made a living for most of my life. But there is a difference between hard-selling and attraction-selling. Apple spends millions on sales and marketing, but even their stores and their billboards deliver on the attractive quality of their overall brand.

Think of purchasing something at an Apple Store vs. Best Buy. There is simply no comparison. At Apple you can come in a play with the products all day in a slick, modern environment. At Best Buy, you are overrun with products, offers, and poorly trained sales people.

4) Attraction Sows Unforeseen Opportunities. Promotion Harvests Pre-determined Targets.

Traditional promotion marketing campaigns have three parts: 1) Identify target audiences; 2) Structure messages that please or convince your targets; and 3) Use paid communications channels to deliver your messages as efficiently as possible to convert your targets. In this model, converting non-targets is at best good fortune and at worst evidence of a poorly executed campaign.

Attractive campaigns, on the other hand, are generally less targeted and controllable. Sure, you might have a target audience for your product, but you aren’t limited to that audience. This may seem unscientific, but it can create opportunities in new markets and demographics you never considered. This allows for serendipity and coincidence — twists, turns and opportunities that we never thought possible — sometimes leading to better results than our best laid plans.

5) Attraction is Enduring. Promotion is Forgettable.

We never forget elegant design, a touching story or a display of generosity, but we will expel ugly products, mindless marketing, and blatant self-promotion from our minds in a matter of seconds. Beauty, generosity, and quality are all timeless, attractive elements that render people and products extremely memorable. The one caveat to this statement is that the attractive power of your brand must be consistent; you must deliver time and again on your brand promise to stay attractive. Lose your quality and consistency, and you will lose your attractiveness.

FINAL WORD: Attraction Doesn’t Work in a Vacuum

Every year millions of attractive people don’t appear in the pages of a magazine. And thousands of elegantly designed products go completely ignored by consumers. That is because attractiveness alone does not guarantee distribution, notoriety, or success.

Despite the “Universal Laws of Attraction” laid forth in this article, every Attraction Marketing Campaign requires a certain level of promotion to prime the pump. We would never have heard of George Clooney or Brad Pitt if they didn’t first move to Los Angeles, hustle for auditions, and eventually hire first rate managers, agents, and PR teams.

That said, the point of this article (if it hasn’t been convincingly made yet) is that great marketing and PR alone do not make for enduring products and careers in the public eye. You need to deliver consistently on an attractive brand promise something that people really want in order to remain attractive.

So, what will you do to make your personal brand or that of your company more attractive this summer? What works for you in creating attraction campaigns? What hasn’t worked? Let me know!