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How’s Business?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When Mr Ryan, the Dublin greengrocer, was asked how business was forty years ago he would likely have counted the day’s takings. But that wasn’t his only measure of success. The connection with loyal customers was the lifeblood of his business. Mr Ryan relied on repeat business. His survival depended on his ability to create enough value for customers to stop them walking the extra five minutes to the supermarket up the road in Terenure village.  He couldn’t compete on range and price, but he could compete on connection.

In an increasingly competitive and globalised world, we often forget that the amount of money in the register at the end of the day isn’t the only metric of success. More isn’t the only means by which to measure greatness.

A great company—whatever its size, respects and nurtures the people it employs and the customers it serves. A great company doesn’t just thrive because it’s profitable, it’s profitable because it helps people to thrive. Great companies leave the world better than they found it—which is why those of us responsible for creating and building businesses must be as clear about the way we get to our destination, as we are about what that destination is.

So, what does this mean in practice? We need to give our customers reasons to stay connected to us and not just reasons to buy from us today. Like Ryan’s, the businesses that are doing good and doing well are the ones that are closest to their customers. How’s your business?

Image by Garry Knight

Storytellers Create Value

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Melbourne’s newest bean to bar chocolate maker’s glass-walled factory and bright, airy cafe is stunning. Their packaging is beautiful, and their small-batch chocolate bars are delicious. The stage is set to deliver an incredible customer experience. And yet that experience promised on the roaster’s website falls flat—for want of training their staff in the art of engagement and storytelling.

The chocolate roaster is a destination brand. Most customer’s who visit are not simply passing by—they come intentionally for an experience, not just to make a purchase. It’s vital that the founder invests in training her staff to understand that their job is not about completing transactions, swiping credit cards and wiping down tables.

When you pay $5 for 27g of chocolate, you’re not only buying the quality of the ingredients, and the manufacturing process—you’re buying a story. The manufacturing and sales teams are the glue that connects the customer to founder’s intention and the brand’s story. If they’re not passionate about the story and excited to share it with the customer, then they’re not creating the value they could be for the business.

Why go to the trouble of sourcing and hand sorting single origin beans in a ten-step process to make the best chocolate bar you can make, without finding the right people to share that story? There’s no point in setting the stage if the actors don’t understand the importance of the script.
A good story can’t save a bad product, but it can make a good product great.

Image by Stuart

Why You Should Choose Your Customers

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Marketing tactics often centre around finding customers for our products. We devote as much (sometimes more) time to generating enthusiasm for what we make, sell or serve as we do to making, selling and serving. It’s important to tell a story that resonates with the right customer. We do that by being clear about the worldview of the customer we want to attract.

Choosing Your Customers:

  • Allows you to be clear about the value you create.
  • Gives you the opportunity to excel at serving the right people.
  • Improves your marketing, sales and customer experience.
  • Means you spend less time convincing customers and more time fulfilling their needs.
  • Makes you more innovative because you see opportunities the generalist misses.
  • Empowers you to build customer intimacy and loyalty.
  • Helps you to become an expert in your field.
  • Enables you to do your best work.

It’s as important to know who you’re not for as it is to understand the clients you would walk over hot coals to serve.

Image by Lennart Tange

What’s More Important Than Noticing Trends?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

Enlightened entrepreneurs and visionary leaders don’t simply try to predict the next hit. They spend less time wondering about what people are interested in and more time caring about why people are drawn to it.

Yes, it’s important to notice trends, but it’s far more valuable to understand what’s driving them. When we know what motivates our prospective customers, we can spend more time making things that people want and less time trying to make people want the things we make.

Image by Maria Ekland

What Do Your Customers Thank You For?

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

As vulnerable humans, we’re brilliant at paying attention to threats in our midst. We are experts at mitigating against failure, which we trick ourselves into believing is the way to optimising for success. This tendency might explain our willingness to devote our resources to averting risk, solving problems and fixing mistakes.

When we focus on getting a near perfect score we sometimes overlook the opportunity to do more of what we already do well. It’s possible that regularly amplifying delight can produce better results than trying to avoid the random missteps that inevitably happen.

It’s just as important to pay attention to what makes your customers happy as it is to get to the bottom of complaints. What do you customers thank you for? Make a list. Then do more of that.

Image by Jeff Meyer

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