- Services offered
- Former clients
- Case studies
- Awards received
- Social media presence
How true are your brand’s promises?This post was originally published on our blog in 2011 and has been updated and re-published. Growing up in a small town in South Carolina meant that everybody knew everybody’s business. So, when a cheating spouse was spotted slipping around with someone other than their lawfully wedded partner, it was across town in fifteen minutes, tops. Some partners just can’t keep their promises. Sometimes companies are like straying marriage partners; they can’t keep their promises. I mean brand promises. In marketing your brand’s promise is the inherent pact you create with consumers based on your marketing, your communications via e-mail, phone and face-to-face.
Promise Keeper or Promise Breaker?If you can’t keep your promises, you might offer *quality products* and then break the implicit brand promise to the consumer by refusing to replace that quality product when it fails. Or you might say you care about your customers and have the world’s hardest to negotiate phone system, demonstrating how you don’t care. How about the oft read claims, “Worlds best food” or similar notations printed on menus and then never read the customer suggestions deposited in the “Suggestions” box. Have you ever reviewed your actions and communications to determine if you are keeping the promises you state or imply? You may be startled to learn the truth, or then you may find out you are a faithful partner. One of the most derided consumer facing brands is Comcast, now called Xfinity. Consumers regularly call out the poor customer service they have experienced. Yet, on their customer service website the leader of the division states that you — the customer — is priority number one and that the company is there for you. Yet this doesn’t square with examples such as this tweet:
While there was an Xfinity response to this tweet, there is no method for the public to judge who is more truthful, especially since a search for the company name and customer service brings up hundreds of tweets about the lack of service . One of the most basic rules of branding is: The last interaction the consumer had with the brand is the brand’s promise, kept or broken. Faith is difficult to earn, hard to prove and very easy lose. While national brands are always going to struggle in the face of consumers who may not comprehend, accept or understand your terms of service, limits of liability and other aspects of meeting their needs, your brand must always strive to provide evidence of care and concern. This begins with open, transparent help and support and demonstrations of sympathy. With regard to this, Comcast / Xfinity gets that right with their message
@Xfinity unbelievable horrible service..not only do I have continuous issues with my service the customer service representative just laughed at me while I was trying to get assistance…im furious and fed up…the unprofessional and incompetency is at an all time high.— Rox-Ann Wallace (@roxy_us) May 4, 2019
Never forget, consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your brand. How can you ensure you have demonstrated your caring?
Hi there. I’m very sorry to hear about your experience with us. Please send me a DM with your name, the account holder’s name, and the address so I can assist. -EW https://t.co/sJXooIESMk— ComcastCares (@comcastcares) May 4, 2019
6 Points to Review to Determine if Yours is a Faithful Brand
- Is there congruence between your outward marketing messages and your corporate behavior?
- Do you take regular customer satisfaction surveys that allow anonymous responses?
- Do you publish the findings from your consumer surveys, at least as customer concerns slated for improvement?
- Do you regularly implement a series of steps to correct the negative findings from your surveys?
- Does your senior staff model all the brand promises?
- So you allow staff and employees to have an active hand in the company’s direction? AND Do you have a method of surveying your employees for their views on the company’s direction?
The mysterious business elevatorOver the years, I’ve had lots of calls from executives and business owners who want to take that mysterious business elevator “to the next level.” Just the other day I read the following in a press release about the hiring of a new CEO for a breakfast restaurant franchise,
“Having a leader of [Name redacted] caliber and experience will allow us to take the brand to the next level. His particular expertise in helping founder-led, franchised restaurants realize their next stage of growth will be of tremendous value as we leverage the increasing popularity of breakfast-based concepts and attract new franchise partners to our family.”Even in this press release there was no specificity behind the desire to elevate the brand and grow to the next stage. How can potential franchisees reading this comprehend where the business is headed? If after a few years in business, you want to surge forward, increasing your business footprint or adding a new line of services, or increasing capital investments, but unless you’re specific, “taking my business to the next level” doesn’t mean anything to a marketing consultant.
How can you help your marketing consultant understand the next level?In the marketing world, we work with quantifiable audiences and goals. We quantify who we want to receive our messages, where they will find or consume our messages and how frequently we expect they will engage with our messages. So we need to be precise. You, too, should be precise when consulting us. We rejoice to hear goals such as, “I want to increase my Facebook page engagement 20%,” or “I’d like to gain 10 new customers per month for my warranty service.” This laser-focuses us on your business development goals and allows us to begin honing an audience segment. But to get that focused, you need customer insights.
Customer insights — what are they and where to get themIt’s not simple to arrive as these numbers. You need to track your sales trends by customer, period, service, and product. This implies you have the type of data system to allow you to retrieve this insight from either a CRM system or at least a POS system. Some industries use loyalty programs to help them get data on a segment of their customers who have opted-in to a loyalty / rewards system. Grocery stores love loyalty programs for this very reason. They provide incentives to customers which cause them to use loyalty / rewards cards and the company then has a meta understanding of their purchasing/shopping behaviour. In my career I’ve established loyalty programs that allowed us to identify our best customers and get more insights on their frequency, recency and preferences. We could identify those who dined infrequently and incent them to dine more. Restaurants are generally able to pull up metrics such as how frequently particular entrees are sold and cross reference that with daypart/time. This type of insight can help spot the dogs on a menu or the upward trends in taste preferences. This alone can help identify market segments for a restaurant. If your company does not have a CRM system or way to extract the data, what do you have? Sales associates. They are a real gold mine when it comes to customer insights. They know about issues and customer satisfaction. And they often have insights into new segments or uses for your product. Sometimes growth can simply be stopping or reducing the customer churn. Everyone loses customers. It happens. But if you’re not staying level, then you’re declining. Your sales associates and customer service staff ought to be able to help identify the reasons for customer churn. Ultimately, the best way to grow customers is to provide simply amazing service, so that no one wants to leave you. High customer satisfaction comes at a cost. It implies that you have high quality products and services and are constantly refining or improving every aspect of what you do and why you do it. So next time you want to take the magic business elevator to the top, stop and determine what all the floors are between you and the penthouse. Still need help to determine what the next level is? Here’s a template you can use to be more specific regarding next level growth when you’re going to talk about your marketing with a consultant.
Quantifying the Next Level – A strategic approach to identifying what you’re going to accomplish.This is not meant to be an exhaustive planning document. This is an outline to comprehend where you want to go and what is required to get there. Obviously greater planning of every component must be undertaken. What would you add to this? Leave your comments below. Step 1: Identify the Goal Over the next _____ (months/years) our company will grow. Specifically we will:
- Add ____ (number of ) customers for ______________________________ (service/daypart/segment) and we will expect these customers to spend $00.00 per person per ____________ (week/month/quarter/year).
- Increase our top line sales by ________ percent
- We will open ____ (new storefronts/add new sales outlets/distributors) in ________ (locations).
- We will increase customer satisfaction after the sale by ___________ percent. We will measure this using our customer survey.
- We will increase customer retention from __________ (months/years) to ___________ (months/years).
Step 2: Outline Your StrategyOur strategy for accomplishing these goals will be: Enumerate and outline exactly what will be required to accomplish this growth. Include all necessary components and their expected cost.
- Bricks and mortar
- Raw Materials