Earlier this year I had the opportunity to hear Scott Stratten speak about "unmarketing." If you haven't heard his podcast, you should check it out here. His speech touched on brand experience and I thought he made a few really great points about branding that anyone can take and run with. The big one; at the end of the day, customers, clients and employees associate their experiences with your business as your brand, not your logo or other marketing materials. A customer's experience can be a really powerful tool, whether it be positive or negative. Here are three key tips to take control of your brand experience.
1. Map your customer journey
The first thing any business should do is map their customer journey. Figure out every point where your business has an interaction with your customer and identify any gaps. Is there a way you can interact with them that you had previously been missing? Define how you want those interactions to go based on how you want your brand to be perceived. Is there a certain way you want your employees to greet the customer or phrase an email? This might seem a bit like micro-managing but it's actually about consistency and delivering a quality brand experience for your customer.
2. Support your front line
In general, the employees your customers have the most interaction with are your most under supported and underpaid people. Whether its a cashier, waitress, or customer service rep, make sure they have the support they need to do their jobs right and do them well. Are they properly trained? Do they have the tools they need to serve the customer? Help employees understand how their interactions with customers improves the overall brand experience.
3. Take control of the conversation
Social media gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with your customers. So the next time somebody gives you a great review on Facebook or Google, or even if someone sends you a pissed off tweet, pay attention. A simple "thank you," goes a long way, or send them a $5 gift card to show your appreciation. Tell the angry person how sorry you are and let them know how you plan to fix the problem, (and again, maybe send them a $5 gift card.) People want to know that you are paying attention and that you care how they feel about your brand.
I recently had an awful experience with Delta. I tweeted about it, I posted on Facebook and heard NOTHING. Silence. This only made me more pissed off. THEY WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO ME!!! Great customer service can happen on social media; here are 14 examples of companies who are doing it well.
Social media isn't the only way to take control of the conversation. Do you have a loyal customer who has been with you for years or gives you some great referrals? Reward them, or simply take the time to say "thank you." One of my favorite things to do is to give a customer a "just because" reward. I guarantee that they will go out and tell their friends, family and coworkers how awesome it was that you were paying attention to them. Talk about inexpensive PR!
A great brand experience is really about good customer service. Brands are living breathing "things" that people interact with every day. Creating a method for how your brand is perceived by your customers will help create life-long loyalty.
Not sure where to start? I recommend developing a brand positioning statement. This statement will help define what your brand values, personality and differentiating factors are. It will also help steer the conversations you have with your customers and employees.
Get started by filling out our brand positioning guide.
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