At a recent client summit, the group discussions and presentations I participated in were focused on creating brand ambassadors, the rapidly changing digital landscape and flipping customer loyalty on its head – in other words, how brands can be loyal to their customers. We also discussed the challenges of delivering outstanding experiences – which distinguish an organization from its competition. Here are my top 3 takeaways from these sessions. I hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me.
How can you distinguish your brand across the deep, busy and varied ocean of options? The key is to go back to basics. Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What does your product stand for? Why should anyone care? “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Brian Fanzo, Founder and CEO of iSocialFanz.
This is a provoking thought that Simon Sinek also defined well in his famous TED talk and his book titled Start with Why.
Starting with “why you are in business” instead of “what” or “how you do business” makes you more than just a service or product company selling features and capabilities. By giving a meaning to what you do and by leveraging emotions associated with your brand or product, you may not only successfully distinguish yourself from the competition but also offer a truly authentic and high-quality content while you’re at it, attracting customers who share your fundamental beliefs.
Segmentation and personalization is a characteristic of any good strategy. However, according to Tom Koulopoulos, President and co-founder of Delphi Group, “Generational thinking only serves to divide us.” “Businesses should focus on behaviors that can unite us,” said Koulopoulos.
Koulopoulos thinks to manage and treat everyone on your team as a peer, with respect and open mind – regardless of age or experience – is vital to leveraging the power of your intergenerational workforce. According to him, we have an incredible opportunity now that five of the most industrious generations are working side by side to institute “dual mentoring.” That is, an older worker could mentor a younger one and, in exchange, the younger worker can mentor the older.
In the digital era we are living, it’s no longer McDonalds vs. Burger King, Coke vs. Pepsi or Nike vs. Adidas. It has become “your brand” vs. “a customer’s detractor video” or “the service you provide” vs. “everyone else’s services.”
Randy Almond, Head of Data Marketing for Twitter, spoke very eloquently about the importance of instilling a customer relationship culture that goes beyond your company’s products and services. Today, consumers consider your brand’s reputation, personality, availability, approachability, social presence, reviews and much more. To attract and engage consumers and potential buyers, you must establish a well-polished tone and voice, understanding your audience’s goals and enabling your teams to respond properly.
The Vice President of Operations Support for a major clothing retailer was inspirational when talking about the importance of really humanizing the employer branding, and how it will not only help to attract the right talent – but it can also help to retain employees. In short, engaged employees play a vital role in creating customer promoters.
Very few companies can achieve or sustain high customer loyalty without a cadre of loyal, engaged employees. Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their work and your company. Happy employee promoters power strong business performance because they provide better experiences for your customers, approach the job with energy and come up with creative and innovative ideas and solutions to your problems.
There were some amazing examples shared on how the education, empowerment and most importantly the partnership between employees, their managers, and the leadership team have created a truly human culture of “People-First” where everyone is pushing toward the same goal – to find, attract, hire and retain the best talent together.