Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Importance of a Brand Experience Culture

A recent article in MediaPost (‘Branding meets customer service’) explains how some companies are guiding employee behaviour so that during every ‘interaction’ with consumers they are aiming to deliver and delight.

There are a couple of quotes that are important:

How your employees speak with your customers is, quite literally, your brand brought to life.”

“.. each brand has its own unique brand personality characteristics that should colour the language employees use to help differentiate the company from its competition.”

Ensuring these interactions are right is clearly vital.

Brand organisations should train employees to ensure they deliver brand experiences that delight consumers.

The article highlights how companies set-out to get this right.

Nordstrom's corporate culture is humbly taught to their employees from their first day on the job with only one rule for customer service:

Welcome to Nordstrom.
We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Nordstrom Rule #1: Use good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

One of Abbott Vascular’s (five operating) Principles is: We keep customers first. Our ability to significantly impact our patients' lives requires that we always keep their needs in mind. We have a responsibility to be responsive, and a commitment to care about our customer."

Key for me is: a) the need to define clearly the customer brand experience culture and b) to ensure that everyone in the brand organisation commits to delivering it from day one.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Delighted customer hotline

I love this idea from John Caddel (Marketing & Innovation Blog).

A telephone in your hotel room that you can call when you are happy (or not).

What a great way to get actionable consumer feedback.

All brands want to delight consumers.

Why not set-up a way to find the brand experiences that do delight, so you can work out how to deliver them to others.

Okay, the hotline might invite critism...but that is okay, finding out what customers don't like is equally valuable.

I'm sure this idea is tranferrable.

Brand organisations should think about how they can apply this approach to gain competitive advantage vs competitors

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How to plan role of social media on the Path to Advocacy

It is a fun and simple way to explain the powerful role social media plays in building advocacy.

I blog about Brand Experience and the Promise ~ Deliver ~ Delight framework.

The framework is designed to help stakeholder silos (marketing, sales, customer service, etc), within a brand organisation, to think more deeply about the brand experiences they need to build to help move consumers through each part of the Path to Advocacy.

This framework is particularly useful when developing a social media strategy as it highlights the different role each channel can play (Search, Twitter, PR, DM, etc), and the importance of having a joined-up approach.

Any brand team that is developing a social media strategy should use this framework and reflect on whether the brand experiences they plan to deliver will really ‘delight’ people and get them to talk about the brand

After all, it is worth getting it right given that positive advocacy will drive long term sales success.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Deliver customer service brand experiences that build sales

There is a great post at ICC│Decisions.

It basically says that brand organisations should flip there thinking about customer service and regard it as an investment not a cost.

When brands get customer service right it can have dramatic effect on sales.

It is not a new idea.

I’ve posted about it before. I think it’s simple.

A consumer that contacts customer service usually has a problem. This is terrific opportunity to deliver a brand experience that delights.

The more magical the better.

As Jeff Jarvis says in his recent book ‘What Would Google Do?’: “Your customers are your ad agency.”

A delighted consumer will buy again; and maybe even talk about the brand.

Friday, 12 June 2009

This film (for Dream Job Brazil) should get noticed

This is a good way to get noticed.

It's a simple formula. 

Make a film that viewers will:
  • enjoy watching (in this case I guess it will be mainly men)
  • laugh at 
  • pass on to their mates
That's how social marketing works. It can be a very effective way to deliver a brand experience. 

[Read previous post about how other brands have done this well]

Monday, 8 June 2009

Best Buy & Wells Fargo use digital to help deliver winning brand experiences

To win brand organisations have to deliver the brand experience promised (usually via advertising).

Moreover, the brand experience has to be aligned with the expectation, every time the consumer touches the brand.

Smart organisation work with employees using the type of approaches made possible by digital technology (social networking, tweeting, texting, etc), to design guidelines that ensure delivery to the consumer is consistent at every level of an organisation.

Forbes.com had a useful post about two brand organisations that do this well.

The first is Best Buy, where Michele Azar say:

"The Web is a platform for customer delight. Tapping into this delight requires leaders to be open to new ways of listening and learning through social technology and open approaches....”

Another company is Wells Fargo. In a speech at a recent Association of National Advertisers conference, Kate Frohling told participants:

 "We all know that customers can form their impressions of a company from a phone call, a web site, a retail counter, a reservation agent, or any number of other encounters. To make employees not just advocates for their corporate culture, but allow them to operate with the same voice, 'our voice,' it's essential to make customer conversations part of our training. The customer's experience is our No. 1 priority. We give our employees the digital tools they need to ensure the customer's experience is consistent wherever they touch the Wells Fargo brand."

These brands get it.

Any brand organisation that truly aspires to deliver and consumers should work-out how to use digital approaches that enables them to listen to consumers, and develop guidelines that will ensure they exceed consumer expectations at every touchpoint.

That’s how you can build loyalty and advocacy.

These are two consumer actions that will ‘turbo-charge’ brand success in today’s inter-connected world.