The following story is real. It was implemented in the Summer of 2001 in all North American Starbucks stores and was widely credited as a hallmark customer interaction program that is still talked about today as an example of a great customer experience program.
The Talkable Brand Video Series from 2012 shared oodles upon oodles of ways a brand can spark and sustain word of mouth marketing. Here are four faves of mine from the series.
It sounds counterintuitive to promote the category before the brand but, as marketing consultants Al and Laura Ries point out in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, “Customers don’t care about new brands, they care about new categories.”
Scott Adams didn’t worry about trying to make the Dilbert cartoon successful by making the indifferent reader passionate about Dilbert. Instead, he relied on Dilbert succeeding by fueling the passions of those most passionate about all things Dilbert.
A few years ago I was on a panel conference where a social media expert us asked how businesses can get closer to customers. Everyone on the panel said something about leveraging Facebook and Twitter to engage with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. As I fought back the vomit ascending up my throat I interjected, “How about picking up the phone? How about actually talking with customers voice-to-voice and better yet, face-to-face?”
Late last year I stumbled upon a thought-provoking ebook from Michael Schrage that has upended how I look at business innovation. Michael is a research fellow at the MIT Sloan School Center for Digital Business. His ebook attempts to redefine how companies should approach innovation by focusing on this question: Who do you want your customers to become?
Every great brand defines its brand as its business. It puts its brand at the core of its business and goes to great lengths to make sure there is no daylight between managing the brand and managing the business.
Earlier this year I spent time committing to paper various exercises business teams can do to better vision who they are and why they exist. These exercises were designed to help businesses find THE PASSION CONVERSATION that can spark long-lasting word of mouth from customers and employees about a brand, organization or cause.
In early September, Wiley is publishing THE PASSION CONVERSATION: Understanding, Sparking, Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing. It’s a co-authored project with Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, and myself all contributing to the book.
Brands desperately want people to fall in love with them in hopes they become customers for life. However, brands may be approaching finding love from the wrong end of the love chain.