It's All in the Experience!

“Customer comes first” is what the CEO of this retail organization told me recently.Of course, that has been true since eons but I believe now looking to their customer facing team for new notions, leadership and competitive advantage.

Customer service is now seen as the heart of a business. It’s that point where your team interacts with customers every day. It’s where the customers touch points are across functions. Here, prospective customers ask questions, people who are about to be customers clear up last minute hesitations, and existing customers get support.

Customer Advocacy=Consistent Experience

Create an amazing service experience that gets customers to not only come back, but to also share that experience with their friends, colleagues and family members. That is the best form of marketing there is.
But beyond the actual customer experience, the interaction and engagement that happens before the sale – which is part of marketing – needs to be considered as part of the experience. Smart companies have figured this out. It’s about engagement, interaction and relationship building… before the customer ever decides to spend any money with you.

Marketing from the inside out

that is, perfecting the customer experience for your advocates to boast about — is the most effective marketing you will ever do. Once you’ve done that, and the experience is so immaculate and hypnotic that your customers become your most vocal and loyal brand ambassadors, you can then go about doing external marketing to invite strangers into the experience.

Yes, Small Businesses do need a Brand.

Frank Mason Robinson, book keeper of John Pemberton( founder of Coca Cola) decided that Coca-Cola's logo should be written in the Spencerian script accountants used because it would differentiate it from its competitors. It's resulted in a logo that has been untouched for more than 100 years to become imprinted in the minds of people around the world!
Branding is one of those big words that marketers and multinationals see as core to business.The Coca Cola brand value today is 80 billion USD. But what if you’re not a giant company with a huge budget?
In the world of small business, where every dime counts and every mistake makes an impact, does branding deserve a place as a line item in your budget?

The Brand m├ętier
To understand more about this let us know why is a brand created. A brand is far more than a logo. It’s more than a color scheme, a clever punchline or a visually engrossing website to showcase a product or service. It can never be manufactured internally, no matter how creative the minds behind it.

What is it then?
The definition below elegantly unravels the complex concept to five key elements:
  1. A promise...a commitment from the company.
The organization and its employees live up to the commitment that is at the heart of the company/customer relationship
  1. A customer
The company needs to understand the interests, demographic profile, characteristics, motivation of the customer. What makes them tick? Who are they?
  1. A quality
A it an experience, physical good, or relationship
  1. An image
A set of mental associations that complement the interests and self-image of the customer
  1. A differentiation
A clearly unique proposition that is effectively communicated to and understood by the customer

So it does not seem so difficult now!

But how do you make a strategy out of it?
Here a few simple ways without spending a lot of money.
1.    Make a list of your company’s guiding attributes
These are the core values of your company, the kind of message or vibe you want your clients to feel towards you. Some examples would be organic or fair trade, trustworthiness, innovation, community involvement, etc.
3.    Create a strategy for your brand’s visual identity
This doesn’t have to mean you design a completely new logo and visual identity; however, in some cases this may be necessary. On a simpler note, it means reevaluating your visual identity by choosing only the styles that match your guiding attributes.
4.    Develop your tone of voice
Something often overlooked when it comes to branding is the tone of voice, which you can think of as your brand’s personality. If your brand were a person, what kind of things would it say? Would it be funny and witty or more reserved and serious?
6.    Echo this style through your online platforms
If you have a website, now is the time to evaluate if it fits with your new brand message and visual style. If not, it might be time to consider some improvements – your website is, after all, your most important conversion tool!
Brand is money!
Brand equity is a set of assets or liabilities in the form of brand visibility, brand associations and customer loyalty that add or subtract from value of a current or potential product or service driven by the brand.
 It takes longer to build a brand, but the brand built without money is that much stronger than the brand built with money. One is more hollow than the other. Or to put it positively, one is stronger than the other. Brands built bottom up are stronger than top-down built brands. So go for it. Don’t abandon the journey even before it has started.
And why this effort towards building a brand?
There will be less reliance on advertising for a long-term, enduring brand. Word-of-mouth is so effective right now. Look at the companies with the highest brand values on Interbrand. Google is near the top of that list and they spend next to nothing on advertising.

Push your Linkedin CPC and CPM rates up- A distinct guide.

 A typical scenario for 90% of Linkedin Sponsored Ads-they zoom with a CTR of +1% and slowly fetter down to around 0.2% or lesser as the impressions grow.The challenge faced is to wait and see if it gets to the average rate or tweak and optimize it.The dilemma faced is that the audience is the same but the appeal has to be effective enough. Check out few of the optimization techniques that will make a difference to your metrics.

1.        Segment the audience and call them out clearly:
Audience is the king!
Carefully look through the audience targeted. Is there a particular segment that is more valuable. If you’re targeting by job category, mention that category in the ad. If you’re targeting by job title, use that job title in the ad.If you are not very clear how your offering will appeal to them, then highlight features of your product or service.

2.        Whiteboard the content strategy:
Targeting can only get you that far. The engagement with your right set of people happens with the best content..For this, you need to have a dual view- the outside and inside view. It is important to decide on the content that best represents your company and is most relevant to your audience. Get into your audience persona shoes and understand what they might want to see when they sign into your network.
Brainstorm and whiteboard content!

3.        Keep your ad copy/headline short and compelling:
Use the waterfall method to zone in to the best compelling copy that can be the perfect match to your image. A long copy is huge mistake as the viewer needs only a few seconds to make his decision. Bright visuals and pictures further accentuate the ad.

4.        Amplify visibility with multiple channels

Tailor your messages according to the platform used and amplify to reach to a wider base. Now that you have a narrowed down target with clear messaging ,it is time to  reach out to a wider set that will help spread the message far and across.Integrating the Sponsored Updates with Facebook and Twitter also gives your company the opportunity to tailor messages that are appropriate for members according to platform: a professional, more results-oriented tone for LinkedIn, a personal appeal on Facebook and a concise, catchy message better suited for Twitter.