пятница, 19 августа 2011 г.

Make your customers love your brand - an article by Helen Edwards

Here is the translation of the article by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Make your customers love your brand
What the “relationship capital” is and why you should give a lot of time and effort to developing loyalty in your clients

“You call is very important to us…” – do you still believe in these words? You’re not alone if you don’t. Calls to client support service usually end up with half-hour waiting and then an uninteresting talk to an indifferent staff member. Is this kind of hypocrisy helpful in business?

In his new book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, gives a new term – “relationship capital”. He says, this is the key asset of today’s business. Only those brands can survive in future that will be able to create and keep an emotional contact with their customers. Corporations should build their business in a way that their clients not only buy their products but also act as brand’s advocates, Vaynerchuk argues.

The topic of creating a really loyal client is also revealed by Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s ex-evangelist, in his new book, Enchantment. The magic is in constantly making people happy with your product or service, Kawasaki says. It is important that the customers identify themselves with the brands that correspond with their perception of themselves. That is why the process of developing the loyalty is three-staged:
  1. Imitation: Pushed by their friends, colleagues and relatives people start buying the same products but don’t feel any affection to the brand.
  2. Identification: Buying the same products with others people start feeling themselves as part of the group with similar interests.
  3. Internalization: Development of sustainable personal connection to the brand and self-identification with it.

The internalization stage is attained when the customer is totally enchanted with the brand. Though, so far the only one really vivid example of that stage is Apple. Most of Apple’s clients think of its products not as just gadgets, cell phones or computers, but as accessorizes defining their lifestyle.

Still, you don’t need to be Apple to care about your clients. Zappos, a shoe company, became a legend of internet-marketing because of their client service, such as free both-way delivery and an opportunity to return the purchase in 365 days.

So which are the simplest ways to build successful relationships with your customers?
  1. React to all reviews of your product in social media, including the most unpleasant ones. That is not only the chance to show your customer and their close ones how much you care about their opinion, but also a way to see some flaws and fix them.
  2. Never advertise your company or your product in social media – that is conceived negatively. The best way is just to communicate some topics that are close to your business. For instance: dog food manufacturers may communicate about pet care; sport goods manufacturers may discuss some sports. Gary Vaynerchuk spent a lot of time answering questions about wine in the web, before Wine Library became a successful US brand. He even created his own home TV channel - Wine Library TV, where he discussed all the issues that were of interest to the readers of his blog. So he built a community of people having similar interests who later became the customers of his brand.
  3. Always remember that there are no small actions, but you need to do something. For example, one small US café has won love from the clients because they served free peanuts to everyone who checked in there at Foursquare, and free cookies to those posted comments to its page in social network.
  4. Let your employees solve client problems themselves without constant confirmations with the management. That will simplify your client communication significantly. The company will quicker react to the customers’ needs, and the customers will feel themselves well cared of.

1 комментарий:

  1. Good read! I would like to say thanks and am going to bookmark this post. As its really can be helpful in future.Thanks for it.
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