By Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded
In today’s world, it’s all about market connection. Consider the tools at your disposal to reach people; traditional TV and newspaper ads, podcasts and mobile marketing via cell phones, street art and product placement. With all of these tools available, why are marketers still having problems separating themselves from their competitors and not getting customers to respond?
Market connection is the key. You must connect with your customers in a real way. Customers desire an emotional connection with organizations they do business with. They want the experience to transcend beyond mere transactions. That bond keeps you from being a commodity and driven down to the lowest common denominator, which is usually price. By doing this, you can make yourself meaningful and ultimately bring value to their lives. The deeper the connection, the deeper the brand loyalty.
Emotion creates intimacy and intimacy allows for deeper connection. To do this you must be responsive to what people value and desire. No one wants to be a part of something that force feeds services or products which aren’t needed. By honestly demonstrating and communicating the true essence of your brand promise, you can offer real choices that make a difference in people’s lives.
An example is our work for a small regional bank. Growth was flat for the past three years. Competition was tough and getting tougher with the national banks moving into new territory with deep pockets. We found out why their current customers did business with them, why some didn’t do business there, and why some didn’t care where they banked.
With this information, we were able to craft a brand message that expressed the core emotion of what their bank offers. Not only were marketing and all communications efforts coordinated, but the internal staff was educated and given the reasons why the brand took this direction and how they played a critical role.
Within 18 months, the bank realized an increase of more than $22 million in new assets and deposits—all without acquiring other branches. They were also honored by peers and colleagues with various banking awards.
Customers want a reason to care. They want to be inspired, and in some small way know that you understand their daily lives and how you can make it better, easier, more enjoyable. Emotional experiences are distinguishing category leaders from the increasing look-alike, seem-alike, be-alike brands. If you give customers what they really want in an emotional, experiential way, they will reward you with their loyalty and passion.
Here’s how to make that emotional connection:
• Find out what your customers really care about.
• Define a singular, emotional brand promise.
• Every touch point must be an experience that supports your promise.
• All marketing tactics must support and make sense with your brand promise (Why would the Vogue magazine, for example, buy a sponsorship at the X Games?)
• Establish a method to translate and measure the consumer emotional insights into tangible and intangible value to your business.
Science increasingly tells us that emotion, not rational thought, is the key to consumer behavior. The more emotionally engaging the experiences you offer, the more effective your brand will be. By truly connecting with your customers, you can gain on ROI, Return On Involvement.
Businesses blame customers for not being loyal, but very few have given them a reason to be loyal. In Scott McKain’s book, “What Customers Really Want,” he describes the elements of the customer experience:
• Superior information – This is just flat out knowing more about your customers than your competitors. You know which specific customers have what individual preferences, desires, and needs.
• Systematic empathy – The ability to identify with and understand another person’s feeling or difficulties. There should be a system in place to respond to customer needs and create a positive experience for them when all is said and done.
• Obsession for the sensation – You need to prove to customers that you care more for them than their money. Turn your business into one big “customer experience”. Create a feeling of passion and excitement for your customers. This will create passion and excitement in your customers for you.
By creating market connections built on meeting emotional needs, you can create a business that will turn customer passivity into passion.
Tony Fannin has over 24 years of integrated marketing experience. Has developed and executed marketing strategies and creative approaches for a number Fortune 500 companies. He has also helped several start-up businesses creating and executing their marketing approach.
Tony is president of BE Branded, an integrated marketing & design firm that helps clients Be Somebody to their customers. Their research shows that if businesses don’t connect with their audience in a real, emotional way, they risk becoming a commodity.
Call them if you would like to talk about whether you would like to Be Somebody or be a commodity.
www.BeBranded.net | 317-797-7226