Tag Archives: Brand Loyalty

How to Rise Above the Noise and Be Heard

21 Feb

In today’s marketplace, there is more ‘noise’ than ever before. The number of companies (all sizes and levels of resources) and volume of content competing for customers’ time is staggering thanks in large part to social media, the Internet and mobile technologies. How can your company rise above it all and be heard? Tell Your Story.


People remember a good story.  Every business has one. If you think you don’t, take some time to remember why you started your business. What is your vision? What does your business stand for? What are your core values?  What do you want to be known for?  What are your customer successes?

By creating your story and consistently telling it again and again, your business develops a persona that customers identify. Story telling isn’t new.  In this day of sound bites, tag lines, and elevator pitches, telling a story may seem a bit long winded.  But, an effective narrative can tell a memorable story that has impact and matters more to your customers than advertising jargon.  Be truthful and authentic in your story and customers will develop trust in you and belief that you will deliver on your promise.

For the B2B Company:  A Great Story Can Rise Above the Noise

For B2B companies, customer successes are a great way to tell a story. How did your company help solve a problem for your customer or your industry? What did you do that sets you apart from the rest?  An employee success story can confirm your core values with customers and serve as a guide to employees in their decision making and interactions with customers to ensure consistent customer experiences.

Best Media to Tell Your Story

The best media to use when telling your story is always the one that most effectively reaches your customers and best fits your story.  Video is an important part of Cisco’s product offering so, it isn’t surprising that Cisco uses video for its story-telling and launched the Cisco YouTube channel in September 2011. Video is a powerful way for companies of any size, not only the largest, to reach and engage with customers as an alternative to standard text.

Businesses don’t make buying decisions.  People inside businesses make decisions.  Make the connection with them through your story.

Resources:

Name that Brand Story… by Rob Marsh, http://www.brandstoryonline.com
The Power of a Good Brand Story, Mark Thomson, the BrandChannel
The Importance of Story-Telling in Lead Nurturing,  Jeff Ogdon, Fearless Competitor
Are You Telling Your Brand Story, Steve Woodruff , Small Business Branding
Strategy:  Story’s More Powerful than the Brand, Tom Peters, You Tube

No Less Than 5 Thank You’s – The Importance of Thanking Your Customer

6 Feb

thank YOUOn our way out of Esin, a very popular neighborhood restaurant the other night, we counted no less than 5 Thank You’s.  These came from every employee we passed on our way to the door, the wait staff, the bartender, the managers, and the hostesses.  Each stopped whatever they were doing when they spoke.  It made a memorable last impression on us.

How often do we make our customers feel appreciated and that their business really matters to us?  Probably not often enough.  We, as business owners, managers and employees need to take the time to Thank our customers.  It can be as simple as a verbal Thank You like our recent experience, or a hand-written note, (a nice touch that stands out in our digital world), or a gift that relates to your business.

Saying Thank You is part of the overall experience a customer has with your company and part of building a consistent and memorable brand experience.  Make the Thank You heartfelt and sincere. If it has any other intention than to truly thank them for their business, your customer will see it as disingenuous.  In other words, don’t also ask for something you want from them.  Make the Thank You about showing your gratitude for their business.  You’ll leave a positive lasting impression and your customers will be glad they chose to do business with you.

Resources:

The Experience Effect, Jim Joseph
A Tale of Two Thank You’s from a Customer Experience Perspective, Sean McDonald, Ant’s Eye View
Thanking Someone for Being a Customer Should be Automatic,  Kevin Stirtz, Customer Think
Saying Thank You to Customers, Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Identify Your Unique Value Proposition and Grow Your Business

9 Jan

Do you know the unique value you bring to your customers?  The need to define a unique value proposition is key to success whether you are a B2B, B2C, for profit, or non-profit.  Being able to fulfill a customer ‘want’ that no other company can and clearly articulating that value to your customers will grow your business.

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is much more than the benefits that your company or product delivers.  It defines why a customer should do business with you and not anyone else who provides the same product.  It is the unique value that a customer cannot find anywhere else.  Your product must have at least one  differentiator that sets it apart from the rest to be successful.

Believe it or not,  a value proposition shouldn’t be more than ten words to effectively communicate what is distinctive about your product. Be specific, clear and concise.  This isn’t easy to do and requires time to refine but essential to the success of your product.  You and your team may consider an off-site away from the distractions of the office to get this done.

Finding Your DifferentiatorA value proposition is brand defining

Unique value is a key element in brand strategy. How you uniquely fulfill the needs and the wants of your target customers defines your brand.  Find out What makes your customers happy and what keeps them up at night.   When your unique value provides an emotional benefit to your customers, you create brand loyalty and your customers will buy from you.  Define your value proposition and you define your brand.

Steps to identifying your unique value proposition:

1.  Take an inventory of your skills, what are you good at?

2.  Clearly define your target customer and their needs and wants.  If your product is segmented by vertical markets such as education or healthcare, each of these segments has its own set of needs and wants and most likely different competitive solutions.  You will want to define a unique value proposition for each segment.

3.  What gaps need to be filled in the market?

4.  Complete a competitive analysis.  What sets you apart from your competition?  What is distinctive about your product?

5.  Test.  This is a key step. Questionnaires, interviews and focus groups are good ways to see if the value proposition resonates with your customers.

6.  Once your value proposition is defined and you are able to clearly articulate it, communicate it throughout your marketing efforts, website, collateral, and social media activities.  Keep the message consistent but, you can customize it to fit the media.

Resources:

Powerful Value Propositions, How to Optimize this Critical Marketing Element – and lift your results. Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Director, MECLABS group (webinar)
Make Customers Feel the Love and Keep Coming Back, Jim Joseph, (Vocus webinar)
Your Brand as Your Value Proposition, Chris Hughes, Vistage, (You Tube Video)
Defining Your Unique Value Proposition, ASAE & the center for association leadership

Learn from Your Best Customer Experiences and Improve Your Business

21 Nov
Nordies Sign

Nordstrom will Celebrate the Christmas Season AFTER Thanksgiving

by Susan Lowe

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  I planned to share some air travel stories with you on this blog.  I was certain that I would have some good (hopefully not bad) customer experiences to share from my travels back east.  But, something happened the other day that I had to share .

While shopping and getting ready for my trip, I stopped by Nordstrom.  Yes, I’m a Nordstrom Facebook Fan.  On my way in to the store, I noticed an interesting sign in their window.  The sign says Nordstrom won’t be ‘decking their halls’ until Friday, November 25th because they like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.

In the great Nordstrom fashion, the company decided not to put up holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving.  Yes, after Thanksgiving. This is big news.   If asked most shoppers don’t like the idea of beginning the Christmas season right after Halloween.  Yet, retailers continue putting decorations up that early year after year.

Why did Nordstrom decide to wait on the garland?  They listen to their customers. Nordstrom is one of the best at delivering great customer experiences and delivering what their customers want.  We can learn from Nordstrom and others who make it their best practice to listen to customers and then incorporate the best of these great customer experiences into our own business practices.

Thank you, Nordstrom.
Share your Holiday shopping Best Customer Experiences by commenting to the blog.

Make an Emotional Connection with Your Customer

17 Oct

By Susan Lowe

Recently, I received an email from Larry Baer, the President and COO of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.  Ok, the email also went out to millions of other Giants fans but, it felt personal.

Larry Baer’s letter was heartfelt.  It reached out and grabbed at my emotions. As I read, I felt the incredible excitement of last year’s season and the World Series Championship win – the anticipation of doing it again this year -Saturday afternoons watching the Giants play at one of the most beautiful major league baseball parks. And I felt the disappointment of this year’s season that started with Buster Posey’s horrible injury.

The letter connected on an emotional level and brought Giants Fans together one last time this season. It is an example of great marketing that reinforces the Giants brand and fan loyalty. This was a season ending that didn’t meet expectations making it all the more important to reach out to the fans on a deeper emotional level.  In the book, The Marketing Power of Emotion, the author, Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy states “Emotion is the adhesive that, when mixed with trust, equals loyalty.”  In his letter to the fans, Larry Baer provided that adhesive.

The take-away here is find ways to connect with your customers’ emotions.  Brand loyalty is more than providing great products or services at the right price.  There are almost always emotional factors in a buyer’s decision. You need to determine what emotions you want your product or service  to evoke with your customers and then incorporate these into your branding strategy and messaging.

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