Monday, July 21, 2014

Better branding
Marketers rely too much on intuition. The key to building brands more scientifically is to combine a forward-looking market segmentation with a better understanding of customers and a brand’s identity.
November 2003 | byNora A. Aufreiter, David Elzinga, and Jonathan W. Gordon

The article goes into detail on determining the right customer segments to focus the brand effort. Once you define the set of customer segments to target -- which is beautifully summarized in the article—there is a simple and powerful 2X2 that defines what is really important.

Building strong brands isn’t getting any easier. An explosion in the number of brands—as well as a proliferation of ways to communicate them, from hundreds of cable channels to the Internet, product placement in movies, and even mobile-phone display screens—has made it tougher to get messages through. In addition, converging product-performance and service levels in many industries have made it more difficult to sustain existing brands.......Rising above the clutter without breaking the bank will require companies to get smarter about branding.......Today, cost-effective brand building depends on knowing precisely what consumers care about and tailoring the brand accordingly......Defining a brand involves emphasizing its key benefits and attributes for consumers. To do so, marketers must recognize that a brand consists of more than a bundle of tangible, functional attributes; its intangible, emotional benefits, along with its "identity," frequently serve as the basis for long-term competitive differentiation and sustained loyalty.......Marketers could promote many tangible and intangible brand attributes, but the goal is to uncover the relevance of each to consumers and the degree to which it helps distinguish the brand from those of competitors.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The three Cs of customer satisfaction: Consistency, consistency, consistency
It may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.

March 2014 | byAlfonso Pulido, Dorian Stone, and John Strevel

This article focuses on consumers (B to C) and I believe a lot of what is discussed is pertinent to B to B interactions and are inherent in the buying decision process of the business buyer.

Consistency may be one of the least inspirational topics for most managers. But it’s exceptionally powerful, especially at a time when retail channels are proliferating and consumer choice and empowerment are increasing. 
Getting consistency right also requires the attention of top leadership…..This customer journey can span all elements of a company and include everything from buying a product to actually using it, having issues with a product that require resolution, or simply making the decision to use a service or product for the first time…. 
.. Our research identified three keys to consistency: 
1. Customer-journey consistency
It’s well understood that companies must continually work to provide customers with superior service, with each area of the business having clear policies, rules, and supporting mechanisms to ensure consistency during each interaction.
2. Emotional consistency
One of the most illuminating results of our survey was that positive customer-experience emotions—encompassed in a feeling of trust—were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in a majority of industries surveyed.
3. Communication consistency
A company’s brand is driven by more than the combination of promises made and promises kept. What’s also critical is ensuring customers recognize the delivery of those promises, which requires proactively shaping communications and key messages that consistently highlight delivery as well as themes