Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are Your Customers Having An Affair With Another Brand?

Never Let The Honeymoon End With Your Customers

By David Miranda

If you closed your eyes and listened to any marketing presentation, you would think you were listening to a dating consultant or marriage counselor referring to their brand, as in, the brand "personality", the brand "identity", the brand "relationship", brand "loyalty", and most recently, brand "engagement".

There is a great deal of similarity in marketing brands and marketing yourself, as in a social relationship.

As a single male or female wishing to meet that special someone, you typically get all properly groomed and attired and seek out places where you are most likely to find that special someone, say a popular watering hole on a Saturday night. Upon entering, you peruse the landscape filled with others with the same idea. If you are fortunate, you will connect with someone who meets your criteria. If first impressions are positive, contact info is exchanged and perhaps a date will follow. A successful date might lead to steady dating. Steady dating might lead to engagement and engagement might lead to a walk down the aisle and, presto, marriage.

Marketing brands is similar. Brands want to meet "that special someone" - their target audience. Brands get marketing groomed and attired and seek out places where they are most likely to find that special someone - store shelves, television, radio, print, online, direct mail, and out-of-home. Brands seek to enter into a dialogue with consumer and contact info is exchanged. If the consumer experience is positive; it may lead to a relationship with the brand and perhaps even moving to the ultimate committment - brand loyalty.

The similarities don't end at the altar or with brand loyalty, however. Strong marriages and strong brands with loyal customers have a great deal in common. Each requires efforts to keep the bonds strong and robust over time. The biggest challenge is apathy - taking the other for granted.

We're all familiar with "You don't understand me anymore"; "You don't appreciate me"; "We've lost that spark in our relationship"; or "We don't communicate like we used to". Normally attributed to personal relationships, they are just as applicable to brand relationships. Only problem is that customers don't bother to express these thoughts. They just move on to another brand who really cares about them and promises not to take them for granted.

Treat your customers today like you are wooing them for the first time. Never let the honeymoon with them end or they might decide to have an affair with a competitive suitor and eventually show you the door.

Save the brand marriage!