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Who is Selling Your Brand

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					Who is Selling Your Brand?
So you’re in the business of widgets – just like everybody else. But what makes you different in the marketplace in the eyes of current and future customers?

The answer is your brand.
So what’s a brand? At one time a brand name was just intended to identify the goods or services of one group of sellers and differentiate them from those of competitors. More recently we have these descriptions:
          

A brand is an unwritten contract of intrinsic value. A brand is an expectation of performance. A brand is a covenant of goodness with its users. A brand is predictable. A brand is an unwritten warrantee. A brand is a mark of integrity. A brand is presentation of credentials. A brand is a mark of trust and reduced risk. A brand is a reputation. A brand is a collection of memories. A brand can be – must be – more that the sum of all these parts.

Brands are a shorthand way of communicating critical data to the market to influence decisions. Brands are most influential when customers lack data to make informed product choices and/or when the difference between competitors’ versions of the same product is small to non-existent. Additionally, brands take on more significance when consumers place great importance on the decision being made. We shop and buy products just on the brand feeling. Why should we be concerned about the value of your company’s brand?

In one picture:

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Does your brand deliver value to customers? Will they go out of their way to do business with you? Your customers could and should be selling your brand. Brand Activism What kind of advocate is your current customers for your brand? One research firm slots them into five “working” segments. All “advocate,” but at different levels with different behaviors. All respond differently to marketing activities directed toward them. And, all are very valuable to the future of the your brand.

© 2009, Caldwell Consulting, Ltd., All rights reserved, www.dougcaldwell.net, 214.641.4084.

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Who is Selling Your Brand?
The five segments are:
1. Silent Loyalists. These people don’t volunteer information, but if asked, they will talk about, encourage, or refer others to the brand. They often owe their loyalty/advocacy as much to an individual in the distribution stream – i.e., sales consultant, service advisor, or other “expert” – as to the brand itself.

2. Friends and Family. These people participate in a finite community of friends and family members. They are the first source of referral for these groups on “how to,” which generally means how to get the best deal, whom to see, who will represent you, and so on. 3. Enthusiasts. These advocates look upon themselves as “authorities” within a given category due to their interest, avocation, studies, and so forth. They meet and interact with peers through affinity groups, clubs, associations, and the like, and have considerable interaction with other users. 4. Early Adopters. These are the “Buzz-meisters.” They are confident and cool enough to be on the edge, ahead of trends. They have a huge Internet usage and influence. They are credible enough that others seek them out for advice. 5. Mercenaries. This group’s loyalty is related to their heavy usage and need for volume discounts, convenience, and other rewards. They have very broad representation in the population. They are the only segment that is really affected by traditional “relationship marketing” activities. Which advocates do you have and how loyal are they to your business’s brand?

Your Brand = Your Customer’s Experience
Customer loyalty is rooted in experiences – the experiences that each customer has in learning about, acquiring, using and sharing your products and services with others. Customer experience is the essence of any brand. There’s a lot more to branding than a logo or a consistent graphical treatment. Your customer’s experience with your brand includes how that customer feels when he or she is in your brand’s presence, whether on the phone with you, in your physical storefront, on your Web site, reading an email you sent, or using your product. Today’s business leaders understand that a key to success is building and sustaining a brand presence that delivers consistent value, resonates with the customer, makes her want to come back for more, and prompts her to tell her friends and colleagues about it. A satisfying customer experience is one of the most important elements in building a loyal customer, a customer who is loath to change her habits. Yet customers have become much more demanding. They now expect us to deliver a consistent branded experience.

© 2009, Caldwell Consulting, Ltd., All rights reserved, www.dougcaldwell.net, 214.641.4084.

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Who is Selling Your Brand?

Customers want a high-quality, predictable experience combined with high-value products and services. When we improve how the customer is treated we can positively affect our customer relationships.

Building Trust with Your Brand
Customer relationships are built on trust. You build trust with your brand by paying attention to the qualities that matter to customers, such as good value, reliable fulfillment, and ease-of-decision-making. Our success is when we deliver these valued conditions:
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Integrity. They set customer’s expectations and deliver on promises. Value. Customers believe they are receiving good value. Reliable fulfillment, delivery, and support. Customers can count on receiving the products they’ve ordered in the promised time frame. Customers can count on proactive and prompt service when and, as they need it.

These companies make:

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Efficient use of the customer’s time. company respects their precious time.

Customers believe that the

These companies offer:
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Ease of Interactions. Customers don’t need to make multiple phone calls and/or visits to accomplish their desired outcomes. Ease of Doing Business. Customers can do business with the firm in the ways they prefer, by visiting a physical outlet, going online, and/or picking up the phone. Are you an E.T.D.B.W. company?1 Ease of Decision-Making. They provide all the information and tools that customers need to help them make quick, informed decisions about which products and services to purchase or use.

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Easy To Do Business With
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© 2009, Caldwell Consulting, Ltd., All rights reserved, www.dougcaldwell.net, 214.641.4084.

Who is Selling Your Brand?

On Your Mark…

So where do we start?
Begin by creating a strong brand identity, including a brand personality, a core driving idea that customers relate to, differentiation from other brands, and innovation within the brand. Understand your brand image.
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Identify and define your own company brand Develop ideas to strengthen the company’s brand image And ask yourself who is doing the “selling” – you or the customer?
Bibliography

Dearlove, Des and Stuart Crainer. The Ultimate Book of Business Brands, Capstone US, Dover, NH, 1999. Reichheld, Frederick F. and Thomas Teal, The loyalty effect: the hidden force behind growth, profits, and lasting value, Harvard Business School Press, 1996. Seybold, Patricia B., The customer revolution: how to thrive when customers are in control, Crown Business, New York, NY, 2001. Schultz, Don E., Valuing a Brand's Advocates, Marketing Management, Winter 2000, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p8, 2p

© 2009, Caldwell Consulting, Ltd., All rights reserved, www.dougcaldwell.net, 214.641.4084.

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