My favorite coffee shop is about a mile from my office, and it has an unexpected name: Second Best Coffee. That’s a strangely self-effacing way to market a cup of coffee, isn’t it? So, why “second best”?
There are many schools of thought about what creates and sustains brand loyalty (that is, a consumer’s preference for one particular brand over another in the same market space). These range from practical matters of convenience to complex and interwoven psychological factors. In the age of social media, we often hear that “engagement” in an ongoing dialogue with a brand is what creates loyalty. Other marketers swear by the psychology of color in creating consumer preferences.
The reality is much more nuanced than either of these approaches indicate, of course. The deeper drivers of connection with a brand are more subtle than memorable packaging, a brilliant logo, or a witty Twitter mascot. New and growing brands that leverage these underlying factors to connect with customers can elevate their position in consumer consciousness and reap the rewards of brand loyalty and evangelism.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and today’s consumers are more visual than ever. Due in large part to the dominance of social media, we live in a world that is saturated with images. With so many selfies and “foodie” photos flashing in front of our eyes everyday, we’re over-exposed and yet primed for visual communication.
For marketers and branding experts, the challenge is to cut through the clutter and make your brand and your product stand out (both online and on the shelves). How can you tell your brand story visually? Here are a few tentpoles of visual branding to consider.
Every company claims to care about customer satisfaction. Fancy television salesman claim that “customers make the difference” or that “they’re our bottom line.” On the Internet, the large majority of client landing pages have the word values or goals in bright colors, immediately followed by claims about how their customers come first.
While it's understandable why many companies make these claims—regardless of how valid they are—what's alarming to me is the percentage of companies that are completely backwards in the way that they measure their customer feedback. It's as thought they think it's more important to claim satisfied customers than to actually find out what makes them tick. Not only do the majority lack the proper strategies to accurately gauge satisfaction, but they also compound the mistake by making serious decisions based on the inaccurate data they gather.
Let's take a look at the ways we can properly measure customer satisfaction and fix broken surveys!
In a recent discussion of a proposed new product, Alan McClure suggested that the product might be so simple to use, that it could become a cultural phenomenon overnight — simply through habit formation.
That comment led to a long discussion of retailers and products that we all buy almost out of habit.
– Southwest is the winner in the airline category for simplifying ticket purchases, check in and rewards.
– Apple’s stores are the best at the brick & mortar retail experience: well-displayed products, knowledgeable employees, roving employees with wireless credit card readers/printers and the best technical support anywhere.
– Amazon.com is the master at simplifying an on line purchase. The company’s patented "One Click" makes buying almost too easy. (My business manager once told me that I have $100/week habit on Amazon.)
Mike Laddin, LeaderPoint‘s president, weighed in on the idea of habit formation and retailing. His point is that the retailers that remove the most friction from a buying process and offer solid products – benefit the most from repeat purchasers. Ease of use – becomes frequent use – becomes habit.
Mike explained, "Many firms attempt to remove friction from their internal processes (to make them more efficient) – only to have that process add friction to the customer. What matters is ease of shopping/selections/buying process from the customer’s perspective."
How much friction is there in your retail process? How many customers buy from you out of habit?