Daniel C. Felsted
For the next few months, I will be featuring excerpts from my upcoming book Benchmarked: What the Best of the Best do to Keep Customers Coming. It explains successful strategies and gives documented examples of how leading companies have achieved their success. In sharing these strategies with you I would ask you to give me your feedback on how you implemented them and share with me what you learned from the experience. Now on to strategy one.
Strategy 1: Talk About Your Brand
What is a brand? Among other things, it is an educational vehicle. Use your brand to teach your customers why you and your brand are important to them. A brand must stand for something meaningful. Good and smart brands identify what customers truly care about in relation to the brand itself. Successful companies use valuable space to brag about their brand. They show what their brand means and they show its benefits. They provide an experience of what the brand is and means. They tell their customers what it means to be a part of their brand. Capitalize on this. Incorporate it into your brand experience.
“People will tout a product they like, but they will shout from the rooftops about a product that also is an experience. Experience sells.”
—Kristine Kirby Webster, Principal of The Canterbury Group
We all resonate with the values of one brand or another. Which ones do you believe in? Buy regularly? Talk about? Is it your brand? It should be. Create materials that tout the benefits of your brand and tell your customers at every chance how you will meet and beat your brand promise.
Examples of Talking About Your Brand
Nike is a perfect example of the successful brand experience. Each contact they make is a scripted experience. They have created a persona that people want to become part of. “Just Do It” reinforces what you know to be true. “I don’t have time to get out and do it”—Just do it, make the time, they persuade you. They set out to own the spirit and passion of being an athlete. They own it with “Just Do It.” It says nothing about shoes. The reason why most Americans buy their shoes from Nike is to participate in the brand experience.
REI has become a $750 million company on strength of its brand. At a recent conference, REI’s CFO, Bradley Johnson explained that their guarantee is part of their brand experience. He went on to say that a customer bought a full-body down suit in anticipation of climbing Mt. Everest. After 25+ years the customer decided that he wasn’t going to climb Mt. Everest. He called REI, explained his situation and asked if he could return the un-worn suit. REI stood by their guarantee and built a customer for life. People buy brands that they believe in. Do they believe in yours?