Brand strategy and the value of 3 approaches to listening.
Within the term brand strategy, the word strategy sometimes conjures up military campaigns or sports. It sometimes also sounds like sophisticated theories. And it can be wishful thinking on paper that is not acted upon. And yet, where would most successful companies be without one? In a challenged economy with new competition and customer spending down, it is more important than ever to think and act strategically.
This is the first of a three-part series discussing the elements that help jumpstart a relevant and sustainable brand strategy. Whether you are a business of one, 50 or 5,000, in working with global companies and local businesses, I have learned that relevancy is the key to staying competitive and the path to staying in business. And, it cannot be achieved without listening, responding or acting, and evaluating.
Lets talk about three approaches to good brand strategy starting with listening:
1. Listening for Loyalty:
Do you as the leader of your business listen to your customers on a regular basis?
An old saying goes something like this: A happy customer will tell you they are happy with their wallet, an unhappy customer will tell 10 others. This is true! Just listen to the conversations at the coffee shop in the morning, even chats between complete strangers!
How many do you hear complaining about a service or a product? What if they were discussing your company?
Would you jump into the conversation and offer to help them or return to the office and tell your customer service leader to fix it?
Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer and offering prompt, sincere assistance can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal customer in seconds. But first, you need to be able to hear complaints regularly, have the stomach for them and develop a consistent approach to building loyalty into your strategy.
2. Employee Commitment:
Do you listen to your employees and require that they listen to each other?
Employees today have a lot to say and much of it is creative. Find a way for employees to have a meaningful dialogue with you and with each other on a regular basis and really listen. It can help build trust and commitment. Many of their thoughts and suggestions are based on their attempts at sales or service with your clients.
They may not know how to solve objections without your help or they may not solve them in a consistent way.
A regular dialogue with your employees whether face-to-face or electronically will be a win-win for your strategy and for them.
Next- The third approach in brand strategy
About the author
Andrea Cotter, President and Founder, ACotter Global Brands. Andrea coaches executives and teams helping them to put in place strategies and communications that will take them to the next level. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communication at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
During a 30-year career at IBM Corporation, Andrea Cotter held many integrated marketing and communications roles for various IBM products and services and executive roles as Global Director of Linux and of Healthcare and Life Science Marketing. At UPMC in Pittsburgh, PA, Andrea was SVP of Communications, responsible for enterprise-wide brand marketing, advertising, clinical marketing and public relations. Most recently Andrea served as temporary President of a brand consultancy in New York, New York.