Brands are liked, loved and obsessed over. We spend gazillions of dollars on market research and metrics to tell us the depth of devotion customers have for us. But to evaluate brand strength, I propose it’s more effective (and easier) to simply pay attention to specific customer actions. Here are three real actions in the customer experience to win at:
1. Makes their lists
If customers jot down your brand’s name on their shopping lists instead of a generic product descriptor, it is a really good sign. Some examples include Kleenex, Tide, Gatorade, Coke, Pepsi, Tylenol. For service brands, pay attention to customer to-do lists. Be happy if customers jot down: Stanley Steemer, Scotts Lawn, McAfee. Customer wish lists are another source of picking up your brand’s strength. Look at their wish lists for birthdays, graduations and holidays. You’ll see IPad, Xbox, Coach make their lists, not personal computer, gaming system, or hand bag. Your challenge is how to get on one of their lists.
2. A part of social norms
Another positive sign for your brand is if it plays a part in cultural events such as holidays and social celebrations. Think Peeps for Easter, FTD for Valentines Day, Macys for Thanksgiving, Kisses for Christmas. Also look for your brand’s prevalence in social rites of passage, for example, Lego for young kids, Jeep Wrangler for college, Harley Davidson for mid-life. Your challenge is how to become a part of a social norm.
3. Is spoken, worn and tattooed
As you know, Google and Twitter are the ultimate signs of strong branding. They're so strong, they’ve become unbranded. They’re used as verbs for an activity we all participate in. Other examples of brands close to this magnitude of success include Apple, Starbucks, Intel who are allowing co-creation with their customers and curation by the public. These mega-brands have let go, they’ve unleashed, they’ve accepted themselves as belonging to their audiences. They are worn proudly on T-shirts and are tattooed on bodies like Harley Davison and Nike. Your challenge here is how to become a badge of honor.
If your brand does not have the budget or category benefits enjoyed by these big brands, you should still be able to use these three moments in your customers' experience journey. Try to pinpoint actions your customers take, build terrific experiences around them, and track your brand’s success. Remember what mom told you, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Related thought: Perhaps marketers should rethink the way we measure brand success, using customer experience actions, as our KPI's and use communications engagement actions as lead indicators to them.
@smunthree | The Union Marketing Group | www.theunionmarketing.com
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