Looking Up and Talking
A huge part of our nation has been looking up and talking about the “Great American Eclipse.” It’s a cosmic dance of sun, moon and earth that’s rare, noteworthy and memorable. The last time a total solar eclipse spanned the contiguous United States was 99 years ago in 1918. (NASA)
ECLIPSE is “the total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another.” (Webster)
To eclipse your competition, give your customers an experience that’s rare, noteworthy and memorable. Your brilliance will put competitors completely out of view. There are 5 strategic areas where your brand can surpass and eclipse your competitors. Get these 5 elements right, and they’ll keep looking up and talking – about you. That’s powerful currency in modern referral-driven markets.
1. Strong Brand Visuals
Strong brand visuals will get attention quickly and effectively. Brand visuals include a relevant logo, but also colors, fonts, imagery and style guidelines that create a framework for how the brand looks and feels across all channels and in all applications. Establishing a strong and specific visual guide for your brand sets you up for success and savings. Advertising works far more effectively and requires less spending if your visuals are clear, consistent and resonate strongly with your market audience.
Brands who fail to pay attention to relevance over time see slippage in sales, referrals and ROI. Ignoring your brand visuals will lead to loss, but getting them right gives you a visual “tip of the spear” that brings greater recognition, brand trust, consumer confidence, referrals and sales. That’s money saved and money earned. Think it may be time for a brand audit? Learn more…
2. Rock-Solid Brand Messaging
Visuals communicate strongly and quickly, but the words you use to convey your value to prospects and customers are critical to their decision-making process. A clear, authentic brand message that’s crafted specifically for your buyer’s interests and your brand’s personality drives conversions. Rock-solid brand messaging, like all great marketing, starts with knowing your audience well. Creating a message that resonates well and communicates value is both a science and an art. But strong messaging triggers an emotion and a response.
Working with a creative team who digs into prospect motivations, buyer demographics, your brand story and personality gives you the best resources for nailing brand messaging you can get behind with confidence and promote for long-term benefits. Learn more about the power of a simple brand message.
3. Stellar Brand Presence
If showing up is half the battle, get that half out of the way! Being present today means your brand goes to prospects and customers – where they are – and engages them in a meaningful way. Think about how many ads you ignore in a day. Plenty. A stellar brand must be authentic, relevant and offer real value. Your “presence” is more than attendance. How you interact with prospects and customers matters tremendously. Communication hangs on word choice, tone of voice, method of deliver, timing and most of all VALUE. When you can connect with your audience in a way that matters to them, you don’t just get a “sale” you get a raving fan. Raving fans are loyal and vocal.
Know where your audience is online. Find out what publications they read. See what causes and concerns resonate with them. What do you have in common? What problem can you solve for them or together with them? Review your website pages and landing pages. Inspect your Calls-to-Action. Review social channels and engagement. Where are you “winning” and where are you learning what doesn’t work? Apply gained intelligence to your next efforts to fine-tune and improve engagement and conversion responses.
4. Astronomical Brand Experiences
Your amazing brand visuals, rock-solid messaging and stellar brand presence will fall flat if the customer’s brand experience with your company is poor. It’s no longer feasible to deliver a “good” product or service and ignore the customer’s experience. The Center for Customer Driven Quality at Purdue University reports that 90% of American consumers form their perception of companies based primarily on service experience.
Whatever product or service you offer, there are plenty of others who offer it. What will let you eclipse your competition is the rare and remarkable brand experience. If you deliver an astronomical brand experience, you have created the rare, memorable moment customers will not stop talking about. Recently, I was watching a video by Simon T. Bailey and in his presentation, he noted the following statistics: “Customers that have a great experience with a company are 9X more likely to recommend them, 8X more likely to trust them, and 7X more likely to forgive their mistakes and buy from them again.” What’s more, delighted people are willing to pay more for exemplary experiences. I’m guilty of this myself. I prefer dining at local restaurants with trained chefs over chain restaurants with “pre-made” meals. I don’t complain about price differences. I willingly pay more for the experience (and for the better digestion).
“Astronomical” experiences are more than avoiding typical customer service failures. They involve anticipating needs, connecting and creating moments that make a customer feel welcome, important and extremely valued. Creating astronomical brand experiences makes you unforgettable… and they won’t stop talking about you or referring others to you. You’ve gone past creating sales, you are now creating brand advocates.
5. Brand Relationship Space
No matter how much you love your significant other, if they stopped talking to you the day after your honeymoon, you’d have serious problems fast. This rings true for your brand as well. Once you’ve got a prospect, a lead, a customer or a brand advocate, make sure they keep loving you by creating space in your company for nurturing relationships.
Communication, story-telling, and engagement do not end when the credit card is entered or a cash register rings. Companies who go beyond the sales moment and extend great brand experiences nurture brand advocates, increase loyalty and grow return sales and referrals. Few companies excel at this. Locking in this nurturing component will affect your team’s culture, your customer loyalty and has the power to push you light years ahead of your competitors.
Keep Looking Up & Talking
Rare, noteworthy and memorable experiences in these 5 key areas will help you eclipse your competition. You’ll be the first one they call and the first they recommend. Now keep it up! Once you have assessed and improved these areas, keep looking for better ways to engage, more opportunities to deliver astronomical service, and keep talking to your customers and your team. Review what’s working well and keep and open ear for what to anticipate next, especially from the front-line members of your team. If you keep reaching higher, you’ll keep your brand experience on top and your competitors in the shadows.
If you missed the Great American Eclipse of 2017, here’s a video captured from South Carolina.