Monday, October 22, 2007

The customer is always right!

What is it they say - "If it wasn't for the customers, business would be a joyous thing!" Have you ever wondered what your customers think of you and thus by extension -your brand? If you are addressing your brand strategy correctly, you are striving to build strong relationships with your customers. You are probably doing your utmost to make sure that their every touch point with your company is a good experience. Do you have processes in place that addresses any problems that may arise? You don't want your customer to dance around voice mail hell or get the cold shoulder by service managers. Customer service should be exactly that 'service'.

What we all must respect is the customer's opinion. Some times for whatever reason, the customer may have a negative opinion of your brand. The opinion may even be based on something which is simply untrue, but the bottom line is the customer is always right. Nobody says you have to do business with them again, you only have to make it right. Regardless of how you 'truly feel', it is always best to take the high road and get the matter behind you both and move on. The value of your brand is much more important than making a few grudge points by laying into the customer just to make sure they understand your position. Believe me, over the past 25 years I've wanted to tear a few heads off, but thought better of the idea to make sure that I don't burn any bridges and that my reputation stays on a purely professional level.

What do you do to make your customer's experience a great one? Do you give thank you gifts at Christmas? Do you track their birthdays, anniversary's etc. and send out cards? One way I impact my customer's experience with me is to put myself in front of them personally. Today many of us are way to eager to take the easy way out and rely solely on voice, email and texting as our main point of contact with our customers. This can result in a large branding problem based on the fact that this expedient contact eliminates any personal connection to you. Your are easy to replace, since you have no personal contact. You are much like a price-based brand connection. The next cheapest price, replaces you. I make it a point to get face to face contact as much as possible. This also gets me additional business.

So I suggest infusing some low tech contact to make your brand valuable. This personal relationship goes a long way to smoothing rough waters when situations do arise. A customer is more likely to cut you some slack if they know "You". We also know for a fact that how we handle rough waters reflects in many ways what our brand represents. How you handle a customer's problem, if it is done correctly and on-brand, will turn that customer into a long term advocate for you. It pays that customers are right. In the business world, a customer's perception of your brand is as important as the reality of your brand. They must work in unison - this forms the bond of a great brand relationship.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Expanding your brand and earn income from the web

I came across and interesting new blog called, W Revenue Dot Com. The author is guy called Scott Wainner. What I like about this guy's opinion is his straight forward attitude. I've read countless articles and opinion on making money on the web and frankly his is a breath of fresh air.

There isn't a lot of hype and he shares a great deal of knowledge. Most other blogs tease a great deal, and are essentially excuses to sell something. They brag a lot about themsleves and don't share ideas. Scott does not share these shortcomings. If you are researching strategies on making money on the web you might want to subscribe to his blog.

A colleague of mine, Robert Kingston from Bracing Your Brand, put me on to Scott's contribution to blogging, and for that I'd like to thank him. Your visits here to my blog, and the communities we all build together, allow us to expand our successes, thus improving our personal and corporate brands. Selling relevant products on the web helps your audience to appreciate just how much you can assist them in their quest to improve. Following some of Scott's opinions and case histories will go a long way to helping you realize your goals.

I hope that W Revenue Dot Com will be a welcome addition to your blog reading.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

5 Better Mousetraps!

We humans are an amazing species and Western civilization in particular, having embraced capitalism, spends every waking hour in the pursuit of achievement. We are always trying to improve our lot in life and to accomplish this goal, we rely on advertising.

We are all familiar with traditional forms of advertising such as newspaper, magazines, radio, TV, adwords, email and direct mail. What intrigued me this week, was more unconventional forms. The "what will they think of next" form of promotion. I've heard critics say that ads are appearing in way to many locations and there is a need to limit their exposure. Personally I don't have a problem with advertising, it's what makes our culture click and for me anyway, it is another art form. It speaks to who we are as a society.

Here are 5 new forms of advertising that are unique. I hope you enjoy the creativity behind them.

• First up is Bumvertising™ - a name coined by the author of this site. Essentially it is adding an advertising message to a homeless person's home-made sign so that passing citizen's take note of the ad. Many consider the concept degrading. The homeless appear to consider it an opportunity. You be the judge.

• Next comes leasing out a part of your body to advertising tattoos. This is your opportunity to make up to $5,000. to put a logo and or message front and center on your forehead. If you are an extrovert and your employer has no issues with it (other than the competition's logo), I suppose it's a great way to earn a few buck and get a bit of notoriety.

• Third comes Target and their brilliant concept of putting their logo large on their store rooftops so that viewers of Google Earth will spot them when they zoom in on an earthly location. This is just way-clever!

• Fourth puts marketing where marketing has not gone before- outer space. Students from MIT and Georgia Tech, are launching a spacecraft into earth orbit in 2010 and they are renting out a spot on the sides of their spacecraft to visionary sponsors. This will be a great media opportunity.

• And finally Five: graphical waterfalls. This form of marketing is mezmerizing. I saw one for Jeep at the Detroit's international auto show and you simply can't stop looking at it. The video in the link shows this example as well as many others. It is not light projected on water but little droplets dropping in sequence to forms shapes and words. Big WOW factor!

Do you have other forms of advertising that are high in creativity? These examples caught my eye. My favorite of the five is graphical waterfalls.
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