February 26, 2002 Volume 1 Issue 38
What am I doing talking branding? Well, Lois Geller in her new book Customers for Keeps introduces a concept titled "Friendship Branding". It's a giant step beyond customer service.
Lois begins with a statement in her introduction that sets the tone; "Turns out the very attributes I look for in friends are the same ones I look for in brands." You might say, "dah" - yet, frankly, I never thought of it that way. Yet, we all know it is people that make things happen. In your life. In your business. Lois has an idea that fits.
Let's define the phrase. According to Lois "Friendship Branding is a method of creating a warm emotional bond between buyers and sellers ... between businesses doing business with each other ... in short, between any two parties to a transaction."
The idea is to treat customers the same way you treat your best friends; in the very best way. First, as people. And then with first class service. A top quality product. You reach out and touch ... hold their hand ... be their teddy bear.
Lois says; "The odd thing is when you start thinking of your customer as your friend all of this falls into place quite naturally."
There are 4 necessities that need to fall into place;
#1). human contact - talking to a real person when you need to talk to a real person. Machines are AOK to a point - people still make decisions.
#2). community - belonging. "Clubs" and associations exist because we like to be with others similar to ourselves.
#3). trust - this reflects to #1 ... you must trust the person you're talking with. My experience says people want to trust - you must give them a reason and "feeling" they can trust you.
#4). recognition - not talking privacy here. Am talking personal - when the waiter or hotel clerk remembers your name. For years I got birthday cards from a pair of hotels I'd stayed in - because of a simple conversation with a sales rep during my visit. Strangers rarely do business with you. Make a friend.
"Friendship Branding" does not replace your day to day friends. Yet, it can add that same emotional touch.
There are eight stages of "Friendship Branding". Let's do a quick review;
I. Putting a Human face on Your Company
People buy from people. Sure, there must be something behind that - yet, "nice" and human is important.
Humor may fit. Certainly generosity, understanding and obviously helpfulness. Lois says; "The essence of Friendship Branding is "action" - specifically, what you, as a company, are willing to do to keep customers happy."
II. First Impressions for a Lasting Friendship
Part of any impression is what you want your message, look, feel to be. Know that and then project it. Hold true to the line ... sometimes very hard to do.
III. How to Connect with the Right Customers
Not everyone is a prospect. You do not want everyone as a customer ... no one does. Just as not everyone is a friend - not everyone is a customer. There must be a common bond - usually several things that tie you together.
IV. Listening to Your Customers
Ah, what a thought ... listen to the customer and learn. Amazing things happen when you do.
Listening does not mean you agree. It does mean you heard, your understood. An important part of friendships.
V. Sharing with Your Customers
Now that you've listened, there may be some ideas you need to share. Tell your audience what you've heard, understood. Sometimes it is "tell", sometimes it is "share" ... and you ask for feedback.
VI. Making Customers Feel Secure
What you say you must do. That begins the trust process between you and the customer. Customers need to be "comfortable" with you. You must be believable. When you are your audience will trust your company and trust your products.
VII. Building Trust Between You and Your Customers
This is all about loyalty ... loyal customers like loyal friends. Customers must "feel" your commitment. And dedication. All of which reflects on the previous points in this list.
VIII. Creating Friendships That Last
Even when things don't go as planned, no one wants a one night stand. Friends last. And customers should, too.
When things do go well - what do you do? You build upon it - and make it even better. You "walk the extra mile".
Well, you get the idea. For an in-depth look at "Customers for Keeps" visit your book store, favorite web book seller, or go direct to Lois at LoisGeller@MasonGeller.com.
Bad Time? ... Right Time!
Three months ago NCR president Mark Hurd, talking about the ailing economy, said;
"I will argue to you that the winners, the people who will enjoy market capitalization when things turn around, will be based on decisions made today. It will not be the decisions made after things turn around."
Joyce Bosc, founder & CEO of Boscobel Marketing, an innovative lady running a branding, PR and marketing/consulting firm, talks the same way. Joyce repeats the fact we've all heard - and frequently ignore;
"Every U. S. recession for the past 50 years consumer spending has actually increased. People do not stop spending ... they simply make purchasing decisions more carefully. That's why it's important to stay aggressive with your marketing ... studies since the 1920's have shown organizations that increase or maintain advertising expenditures during an economic slowdown experienced substantially higher sales growth during and after the slowdown."
S T O P P I N G your marketing has never made sense to me. It's like tossing a debtor into debtor prison until he can repay you. Which of course he never can unless you offer the opportunity to earn.
Your prospects and customers won't spend with you - if you don't let them know you care. Are available. Are ready. And willing to work with them during rougher times. For their benefit ... and yours. When you reach out you're much more likely to keep what you've got ... and grow, too. Sure, slower. And very possibly not as profitably. Yet, you WILL be there ... when your competition is not.
Now is the Right Time!
"Speaking" is a much misunderstood discipline. Sounds so romantic and adventurous. Fact is, like just about everything worth while, it takes elbow grease to make it successful.
Still, it is lots of fun to travel, meet different people, enjoy unusual experiences. So, I speak.
This is a good time to tell you about my special
speaking & product BONUS:
There is no fine print. For details about Ray speaking at your meeting, E-Mail Ray@RayJutkins.com, fax him direct at +1+928+244-6148 or phone 1+928+785-9400.
The idea behind quotations is knowledge. Sure, some are funny, vs. being intellectual. Still, each offers something worthy.
This interesting Tibetan saying is this weeks contribution from Anonymous;
"If you want to know your future,
How very true.
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
The good folks at Target Marketing are offering a series of 4 book titles you may find worth considering.
Each begins "The Secrets of ..." and continues with a specific. Such as " ... Direct Mail Testing", " ... E-mail Marketing, "... Direct Marketing Arithmetic", and lastly "... List Research".
Each collection is that- a collection of practices that work. Gathered from a variety of experienced sources. Condensed to quick reads you can put to use now.
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by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.