Posts Tagged ‘brand loyalty’

Marketing Observations: Why People Pay Ten Dollars for an App

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

One of my colleagues, who religiously shops at dollar stores, purchased a $10 app, PYKL3 Radar, for his phone, a move I thought almost out of character for someone of his shopping habits. As someone who resolutely downloads only free apps, I was intrigued.  What does PYKL3 – and other apps – have going for it, and how could that be applied to overall marketing and PR lessons in general?

Fit a niche interest

PYKL3 is a weather radar app. My colleague is planning to be in Kansas in early May, and with tornado season in full swing at that point, he wants to keep track of storms. He also has some personal interest in tornadoes, and while he isn’t a storm chaser, the app caters to one of his niche interests.

An app or service that fits into a niche can help draw more interest, and targeting a niche audience with narrower marketing not only hones brand focus, but helps foster brand loyalty, which can help brands fare better when they premier an expanded product line.

Fit more than one niche

Another way more people pay for apps? It fits in more than one niche. In the case of PYKL3, it fits into several niches: people who live in areas prone to dangerous storms, people visiting areas prone to dangerous storm, emergency responders, and storm chasers.

Marketing to one niche can help build interest, but catering to multiple select niches with overlapping interest can really elevate your brand. If your service appeals to more than one niche, that will again assist your brand in eventually reaching beyond the niche.

Be so useful that the cost makes the price worth it

When you’re planning to drive down a turnpike during tornado season, there’s a major safety factor, so for my colleague, PYKL3 is so useful that the $10 price seems low compared to what the cost could be (like an untimely confrontation with a funnel cloud).

The price of something is just the dollar amount consumers pay, but the cost is what they stand to lose in time, efficiency, or health. Creating a service that people need and pricing it so that the cost of not having it is greater than having it makes the service justifiable and even necessary.

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasWith the propagation of innovative content and target marketing, e-newsletters, and social media outreach, it’s easy to overlook the brands that nurture and build their brand base through good old-fashioned upfront, in-person investment.

It’s a pretty simple scenario: give a small service for free and create goodwill to nurture a returning, loyal customer.

It’s a sinking feeling to walk out to your car and realize you have a flat tire, and I experienced that special feeling on last weekend. I changed my tire the following and expected the worst when I took it in to Discount Tire. I anticipated more sinking feelings to surface when it came time to pay the bill; instead, I walked out only an hour later with a patched tire and no bill.

Discount Tire didn’t charge me for the time and labor it took to repair and reattach the tire; they just smiled and asked that when I need new tires, I come to them, which I certainly will.

I didn’t walk out of there happy just because I didn’t have to pay a bill – I felt satisfied because Discount Tire seemed to be a brand that’s not just aiming for transactions, but aiming to foster goodwill and make all the special car feelings a little less frustrating. Instead of seeking transactions for small services they could charge for, they take the long view that happy customers make repeat customers.

I mentioned this to my dad, an admitted curmudgeon and the one who told me to go to Discount Tire, and he told me: “Discount Tire deprives me of things to complain about. Fortunately, there are still politicians.”

In an age where people take to Twitter to complain about brands, it’s a huge achievement to provide a complaint-free experience, and immensely notable to provide a positive one. I didn’t tweet Discount Tire (until publishing this blog) because as a marketer, I feel that experiencing positive programs warrants something more substantive than 140 characters.

While it’s impossible to make everyone totally satisfied all the time, Discount Tire shows that their business model is centered on the customer experience and leaving a positive impression, and it’s come back to them many-fold. Forbes lists its 2013 revenue as $3.7 billion and it’s number 118 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

It’s not every organization that can give away a product or service for free, but there are plenty of great examples: Sephora’s rewards program is a classic loyalty program that stands out because they give out high-quality samples the customer can choose after a certain attainable spending threshold. Trader Joe’s provides free coffee – a real perk when you’re shopping after a long day at work.

Capturing brand loyalty can seem like a formidable task in a time when everyone’s throwing out lower prices, more deals, and more rewards programs. But it’s important not to forget the simple act of treating your customers with goodwill and creating a good impression – because that goodwill will return to you in the form of their business and their brand advocacy.

Building Brand Loyalty Through Customer Service

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
flickr user adifansnet

flickr user adifansnet

In the age of an online marketplace, very few customers remain loyal.  How do we stem the tide of customer churn?  Companies that have great customer service, coupled with other great qualities like their product, tend to create customers that remain brand loyal.  One common denominator of companies who have loyal customers is the focus on the trusted relationships rather than transactions.  Without a solid relationship based on trust, you’re doing nothing other than appeasing customers for the short-term until they find something better.

I recently purchased a pair of denim jeans at Diesel.  Within a week, I noticed they seemed to have a hole in them from fraying.  I was disappointed to say the least, as I had only worn them once.  I decided to go to the store and discuss the matter to see about a possible exchange. I was expecting them to say no, given I had already worn the item.  To my surprise, they said to bring them in for a switch, no questions asked.  The customer service I received was attentive, courteous and genuine.  The associates seemed vested in not only meeting my needs as a customer, but ensuring I would return to the store again in the future.  Needless to say, I was elated and ended up going back later in the day for a new winter coat that had caught my eye while in the store.

We hear these stories every day, but we also hear stories from the other side.  I was recently watching NBC4 and the I-Team ran a segment on a college grad who sent her computer in for repairs.  The company made the repair, then added on additional repairs that weren’t needed, creating a hefty invoice.  The customer refused to pay, as she did not give her consent for the repair.  As a result, the company refused to return the laptop until they received payment in full.  Turns out, after an investigation, the company wasn’t licensed or registered with the state.

I watched the segment and thought, this all could have been prevented if they had fixed the problem the customer sent the laptop in for and/or the customer was consulted regarding possible additional problems and the fix was approved before incurring additional charges.  Now as a result, the state is investigating the company.  The company was not licensed and should not be servicing customers in the first place, but this serves as a great example of some serious missteps in the management of the customer relationship.

It is my belief that there is a direct correlation with building and keeping a deep customer relationship and the increase of brand loyalty.

Giving your customers something little makes a big reason for them to come back.  It doesn’t cost you or the company a lot and could result in a trusted long-term relationship with your brand.  After all, a happy loyal customer results in brand advocacy.  This is free marketing!  Isn’t that what every company loves?

Content and Corporate Storytelling: Lessons From Coca-Cola Part 1

Monday, November 4th, 2013
By Flickr user Bev Goodwin

By Flickr user Bev Goodwin

In the dawning age of content marketing, it’s up to PR professionals to make that content work for them, but leveraging that content and making it work for your organization is an unmapped challenge.  At last month’s PRSA International Conference, Mallory Perkins, a social media analyst at Coca-Cola, shared how she and her team launched Coca-Cola Journey, the organization’s content blog, grew a massive following and created an online community.

Coca-Cola Journey launched in November, 2012, as Coca-Cola’s response to the recent heavy shift in communications. The organization realized that digital consumers are strong influencers with the ability to respond, shape, and take part in conversations with companies and the products they value, using tools like social media, video, and online forums. Coca-Cola seized the opportunity for consumers and companies to have one-on-one conversations in a meaningful way, which Perkins stressed was key to earning relevance and success in business and digital arenas.

Coca-Cola Journey was launched with several goals in mind: to be a hub for the company’s content; to share stories and connect with consumers; to provoke, inspire, and engage the Coca-Cola community; to prompt action of some kind, and to cultivate a deeper level of brand loyalty, ultimately supporting business growth.

The site was imagined not as a website or blog, but as an e-magazine. Its goal was to be the digital heart and soul of the company, and reflect in each story the brand’s values. Stories are targeted to be consumer-facing stories with a “behind-the-bottle feel.”

The key behind the site’s success? Great content, says Perkins. Coca-Cola created an internal editorial team and a group of freelancers solely focused on creating original stories. How does one create great content? Start by knowing your audience. Coca-Cola prioritized their audience thusly: existing consumers and fans, potential customers, investors, partners, media, and critics.

“Make sure your content captures the essence of your brand,” advises Perkins, and ensure the type of content you create and how you communicate with your audience varies with company values and different product lines. The reason for Coca-Cola Journey’s launch was to engage with consumers and target content to what the data shows they like. Investors and media are still important audiences to consider, so ensure they have the information they need, but craft a separate section for their content that’s easily accessible.

Check back tomorrow for the guidelines Perkins and her team folloow to ensure they’re crafting the most relevant, reader- and brand-friendly content.