As a brand, you know how important it is to prioritize your customer. Putting the customer at the center of your leadership, product development, strategy and operations enables your brand to sense and respond to market circumstances.
A positive customer experience is crucial to the success of your business because a happy customer is one who is likely to become a loyal customer who can help you boost revenue. The ultimate goal here is to create loyal advocates of your brand. People that are not only consumers of your product, but also believe in your brands message, what your brand stands for, and the way in which your brands goes about conducting business.
Affinity for your brand is more than just your offerings, it’s the culmination of your offerings combined with the feel people get when associated with your brand. This is especially important in our current landscape where the relationship between brands and customers has shifted from what “the brand is saying” vs. “what peers, influencers and other consumers are saying”.
Think about this for a minute. A large aspect of a marketer’s actions is in listening to our customers, and their opinions of us.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to create a beautifully-crafted brand message, aesthetics around design and feel, and an experience that is timely and relevant – but, this all should be done in the context of your customers wants and needs. We need to not only listen to them, but also adjust around what they are saying. This encompasses brand aspects of content strategy, design and experience all the way through core product development, positioning and delivery decisions.
In this sense, customer experience is an integral part of the brand-building process. Be prepared for your brand to start thinking about shifting mindsets, pivoting work tasks, recalibrating performance and finding funding to make customer obsession foundational to the business.
Is Your Brand Customer-Focused?
This is an important and honest question. Truly being customer-centric means your customers wants, needs, preferences, and feedback drive all business decisions. This encompasses product development at the onset. It means your company is primarily focused on solving the customer’s biggest needs and creating value for them. This is a huge deviation from everything business schools have been teaching for 50+ years of “maximizing shareholder value”. The beauty here, and the reason why customer-first works so well is that by giving your customers what they need, you will sell more, gain market share, profit and grow as a brand.
Here are some examples of what it means to truly be customer focused as a brand:
- You find products for your customers, not customers for your product.
- You regularly question whether your customer is at the forefront of business decisions.
- You constantly seek ways to get to know your customers better.
- You question how you can improve your customers’ lives with your products.
- You talk to your customers, you ask them questions, and you listen to their feedback.
- You set internal meetings frequently on how you can solve your customers’ needs better.
- You create products for your customers.
Customer-Focused Ideas in Practice
Here are some practices we have been following that should help your brand get started on a Customer-Focused strategy.
Champion the voice of your customers
Maybe your customer would like the option of a neon green or hot pink vehicle to get them to and from, rather than only black and white as color options. Think about a viral post from someone asking for different color options from your brand with 1.2 million views in the first day. You see the post, you see the impressions, and you get a sense of the general sentiment around the topic; let’s assume that most responders agree with the poster.
Brands that respond with “we heard you and we’re going to give you what you want, give us some time to get aligned on our side, and we will find a way to make this happen” will gain loyalty 100 times greater than brands that respond with “we heard you, but due to manufacturing limitations and profitability metrics we must uphold, we cannot at this time introduce options to you other than the ones we have”.
Granted extreme example, but the point is to listen to your customers and give them what they want to the best of your ability.
Brands need to function at the speed of social media, establish one-to-one conversations with your customers and prospects, and do all this at substantial scale. Engagement in 2021 and beyond will be measured by the level of “conversation” you can facilitate with your customers. To do this well you need to understand them and what is most important to them. It’s important to leverage what you know about your customers so that you can provide them with relevant content and service. One size fits all does not work for 99% of products, the conversation needs to be much more personal. The user/customer acquisition group in your brand should be most interested in 1) getting to know users, and then 2) acquisition. This approach overtime will increase loyalty, while decreasing attrition.
Remember, we should be using data to provide more relevant,
personalized experiences but never lose touch that
our customers are people and not data points.
Stand for Something Meaningful
Value-driven campaigns work and brands that raise their voice and take a stance on important socially-relevant issues will build trust and gain loyalty. Uber vs. Lyft, Coke vs. Pepsi, Mac vs. PC … When you think about what differentiates similar brands, and more importantly, what drives consumer purchase behavior, aside from price and quality, one of the largest drivers in the purchase process is “feel” of the brand. Taking a stand on important social issues that we are all exposed to in some fashion is a great way to establish and/or reinforce your brand’s character, and the “way” in which you do so establishes your brand’s personality.
Engage with Story Telling
Consider telling your brand’s story through participation. Nothing is more engaging that asking for and receiving customer involvement. Being able to capture your audience’s attention through well-orchestrated story telling, creativity and imagination is a great way to engage your audience. As a brand, it’s important to understand the emotional story that binds you to your customers.
Contact Us For Help Building Your Customer-Centric Strategy
Our team can help your brand with all aspects of digital marketing, omni-channel strategies, and brand building and storytelling. We would love to hear from you; contact us to setup a working session to discuss your customer’s needs.