I recently attended a Greater Green Bay Chamber Lunch & Learn event. The speaker was Mike Haddad, President/CEO of Schreiber Foods. Mike had a lot of great ideas and nuggets of advice, but one that really stuck with me is this: people connect to people, not to machines or processes.

Your business machines or processes may be what get the job done, but they won’t build strong brand loyalty. Your employees may be using the latest and greatest machines, processes and procedures, but those won’t create long term employees. People won’t be loyal to machines or processes; they will only be loyal to people. That doesn’t mean that having functioning equipment and foolproof processes and protocols aren’t important – they’re obviously crucial. But machines and processes are not something with which people can really build a connection.

For example, people don’t wear Harley Davidson hats and shirts or have the logo tattooed on their shoulder because of the types of metals used in the engine. They sport the company logo because of how loud the engine is or, more importantly, because of the connection they have with other Harley owners.

Those of us who live in Green Bay (and others around the country) don’t love the Green Bay Packers because of the process the team uses for drafting talent – we love and connect to the players that get drafted. We love the team because of the excitement we get from the team. We fall in love with the players and are heartbroken when they sign with or are traded to another team. We could care less if the team switched their workout equipment to a new supplier even if it makes the players better because we love the players.

No matter the company or industry, people may buy your product or service, they may benefit from your machines or processes, but they build their connections with other people. Brand loyalty is not about the machines or processes; it’s about the people involved.