Tag Archives: relationships

Brand Loyalty vs Engaging Relationships.

engaging relationships

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

There are warning signs that you may be complacent about your brand.

Better analytical tools are providing organisations with the capability of making smarter marketing decisions. As a result, the scientific element of marketing is growing in importance. In the midst of this science though, we should not lose sight of the fact that humans react to social connections (Matthew Lieberman) and relationships that engage them. It should not be a surprise to anyone that a customer wants to connect with brands that resonate with them.

I believe that often, this customer desire is perceived as brand loyalty. Organisations that use loyalty metrics on which to base their business decisions, must be careful not to fall into the trap of remaining in their marketing comfort zone. We will have a look later on about how organisations may become a little complacent in relation to their brand management and, in particular, their relationship building activity.

Perhaps another (jargon warning!) way of looking at how brand loyalty is not the same as engaging relationships is to observe how customers evaluate purchase decisions. The changing marketing paradigm means a move from relative evaluation (provided by traditional marketing messages e.g. ‘our washing powder washes whiter than yours’), to an absolute evaluation, where comparative information can be sourced from anywhere, by anybody. So customers are no longer buying from brand loyalty but are buying based on absolute information.

In such a scenario therefore, it is even more important to proactively engage with customers, online and offline, so as to retain them by providing the information they need. A good engagement marketing strategy is ideally placed to meet these challenges. It also offers guidelines for growing a business in collaboration with customers so knowledge of the ‘customer journey’ is a key to this strategy being successful.

Stop selling and start telling.

The foundation for any successful organisation has always been a founder’s long term vision of what she/he wants to achieve. In O’C&K we sometimes encounter small organisations, or start-ups, that don’t believe in the necessity for a vision statement. As I’ve alluded to above, customers are beginning to choose to deal with brands that give a damn about building engaging relationships.

Often it is the vision or the ‘brand story’ that resonates with them in the first place. Thereafter, they are more open to relationship building. In this digital age, with all its noise, it is important to know and communicate your vision so as to entice customers into being a part of it.

What I’m saying here is that organisations should stop selling and start telling. A story gives people a context for decision making. It allows your brand’s personality to shine through and gives relevance to what you do. Also, the tone of how you tell your story should be one that is like that of your existing or intended audience. The days of the boring old advertising campaign are over, in my opinion, because people can just switch it off, if you don’t resonate with them.

There is a plethora of new channels through which organisations can communicate. These channels allow for direct engagement with the customer and an interface at their level. As visuals are such an integral part of the online world, there is no excuse for campaigns not to be more interesting and engaging.

There is one BIG difference that organisations should take into account when developing an engagement strategy. That is the environment in which your audience engages with your brand. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs etc. all deliver real time engagement, but in different contexts.

The user doesn’t care about how you got there, just that you are, and that you can help. Although you cannot control such environments, you can make an effort to create an experience that is relevant to the user. This is where an engagement strategy is paramount.

Tips and Timesavers.

There is a danger that when business is good, an organisation can get a little complacent about their brand and their marketing efforts. I wrote in a previous post, here, that some organisations can pick up bad marketing habits, but complacency must be one of the worst. The business landscape is changing fast, driven by customer expectations and their technology. You must keep up to speed or your competitors will whizz by you.

Here are some warning signs that you might be getting a little complacent about your brand.

  • Your existing customers are not spending as much with you as they were. – You probably have no engagement strategy in place. You may have lost touch with your customer base by being too busy to listen to them. You don’t know what they want or expect from you anymore.
  • Your lead conversions are down. – You might be basing your strategy on old research and your audience has changed. You are not using up-to-date sales tools that are available or you are not engaging with prospects in a way that they expect you to.
  • Your ‘look’ is a bit old fashioned. – Is your brand identity getting a little jaded? You can modernise your identity without affecting your vision and while you’re at it – check out your website. Even if it is only a few years old, SEO, usability, download speeds etc. can all affect your customer’s experience. By the way, how do you compare with your competitors at trade shows?
  • You still use dated photos for your marketing. – Changes in clothes, hairstyles, products, transport and even YOU, can all quickly date your image. You can upgrade sales proposals or presentations by using modern apps and plug-ins (often for free).
  • You do not use social media channels. – You might be on social media, because a ‘friend’ or a competitor compelled you to set one up. It is important that you devote the time and resources to use these tools to their full effect. 
  • You don’t have the time to attend to any of the above. –  Your existing marketing agency should be attending to these items or you can outsource projects to a small flexible company, such as ourselves.

Relationships are the new currency.

What organisations should realise is that nowadays, they must prepare to invest in engaging relationships. Everything they do, every piece of content they create from ads to emails should create a positive interaction so as to form a relationship. The interaction may be short lived, but it is still a first step. Thereafter, smarter marketing will build the relationship by using repeated engagement.

The only caveat I have for you here is to bear in mind that not everybody wants the same kind or relationship. The best kind of relationship is to provide your customer / prospect with the engagement they want, when and where they want it.

So, to summarise, don’t rely on presumed brand loyalty. Continuous relationship building is imperative, all of which should start with a positive interaction. Thereafter, repeated engagement how and when they want it, will form a ‘bond’. This bond is the difference that will stop your customer being tempted to move to a competitor. The ultimate achievement is that they would become your brand ambassador and we would love to help you with that objective.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

 

 

Customers expect a smarter business nowadays

smarter business words

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Small to medium sized businesses, in denial, need help.

What’s influencing the customer? Well, other than a growing distrust of authority, brands included, connectivity is facilitating massive changes in how people shop. As a result of technology, customers are more connected, agile, and discerning. Unfortunately, many marketers and small businesses aren’t adapting their marketing practice to this new environment. In fact, because the shape, size and impact of traditional, segmented audiences are changing so rapidly, there appears to be a sense of denial amongst business owners that the customer’s perspective has altered at all. Accordingly, many treat the new scenario as a somewhat temporary blip!

SMEs are slowly starting to realise that, how they build relationships with customers and prospects needs to be re-thought and implemented from a completely different viewpoint – that of the customer. Not radical stuff, I know but those same SMEs need to adapt smarter business models and some may well need outside help to make this adjustment.  Beware though, there are some gurus out there that appear to be taking the shiny new tools available and applying them in the old ways. That will not work in the long term.

Tips and Timesavers.

It won’t work because it’s not about new tools (although technology does play a part), or buzzwords or fashionable terms, it is about customer expectations. It is about the customer expecting someone to solve a problem for them quickly, easily and decisively. They don’t mind who does this by the way. My own teenage daughter reminds me that,

  • she only sees advertising if she agrees with it
  • she gets her information mainly from mobile devices
  • she only accepts information if it’s relevant and/or funny
  • she’s not marketing adverse if it is relevant and authentic
  • she only gives brands a once off chance to build a relationship with her
  • she’s much more ‘community’ focused than previous generations

I’m sure that you’ll agree that  those who adopt smarter business models more quickly will be those that will survive into the future.

Of course, there is a limit as to what people value from a brand. Really, it depends on the context of the relationship and what the public wants from it.

Therefore, if relationships are the foundation of business, the role of business is to have something of value to share and thereby build those relationships. Thereafter, it is the role of communication to reinforce relevancy and authenticity.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

 

Being smart about your customer relationships

measure love

If you want me to love you, treat me as a person not as a consumer.

I want to chat about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. In truth, people have probably always felt this way but I’ve worked in ‘marketing’ so, I would have segmented and targeted audiences – mea culpa.

We are human beings – not consumers.

I am writing this, not as a confession but as a rationale as to why all of us in business need to be smarter about marketing.

The societal change that’s underway right now will affect much more than the traditional marketing we practitioners knew and loved so well. You know what I’m talking about – the MadMen thingy. The funnels of love, big campaigns, slick TV ads telling the customer why they’d be better off with your product / service. It was all about agreeing a message with the client, broadcasting it to a target audience and promoting it ‘through-the-line’. Sure a lot of it worked – (nowadays that impact is lessening), but it wasn’t really about building any real relationship with the consumer, if we’re to be honest.

Authentic relationships.

As I mentioned, the change that’s happening right now is affecting much more than marketing but it may have serious implications for it and thereby clients, if not addressed. Look at what’s happened to the music industry, what’s happening in traditional media and even what’s happening to TV viewership.  After decades of broadcasting messages at people, we need to take off our blinkers and realise that society’s attitude, to almost everything, is different. Not only from a geopolitical or economic point of view (which they are) but the individuals that we so badly want to ‘sell’ to, are changing, big time. They don’t want to be sold to anymore – they want relationships. This is important for business because it is through relationships that purchase decisions are now been guided and made. So if business can develop the kind of authentic relationships that last, we have a chance of survival. Today, the public wants what they want; business can adjust to the new reality or fool ourselves into oblivion.

So if the essence of business has not changed and is still all about relationships with people – what do we need to change? Our attitude, that’s what. There are loads of new and better tools available to enable businesses to be smarter about their relationships. Let’s use them properly and everybody will be a winner.

This is our very first blog. It is our intention to provide readers with marketing tips and timesavers in future blogs. If you liked our content, by all means subscribe by clicking through the pink button to receive our regular updates.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.      Jim – O’C&K