Yesterday I argued that brand is an asset and it's far from done. Today, I'd like to improve our thinking about customer centered service design by asking a counter intuitive question: how much is your brand worth to a fan?
This is not so much in terms of what you can make people do. It is a legitimate question to prompt businesses to focus on why you?
How do you design an experience and a service layer that makes your customers lives easier, better. What are people inspired and attracted to be as a result of their association with a brand, use of a product or a service?
How would you calculate that?
Think big, don't act small. This requires an attitude adjustment rather than a counter argument to marketing acts of doing lots and lots of small good things.
To expand on the concept a little bit, let's look at some common categories used to judge the worth of fans and evaluate them by looking from the other side of the transaction/association as a starting point:
What's the value of your product to a fan? Are they going to use it to be productive, is it going to help them get a job or do it better, acquire a skill, make friends, look and feel different, etc.? Customer-focused and consistently innovative brands do well here.
Is the brand in it for the long haul? Are you organizing your model as customer-centric? In marketing terms, this means the 5Rs, with a twist for this post. Are you relevant, reaching customers when they are most receptive? Do you respond at all (never mind to offerings)? Is it easy to recognize when you're loyal to customers? And finally, do you invite a relationship through experience?
Are any of the brand's activities, your activities, centered around encouraging and supporting the passion of fans? What kinds of deep interactions are there in the communities you sponsor, or build? How do those interactions help your fans build social capital? People recommend brands and products that make them look and feel good.
Do you like your customers and fans? That's ground zero for establishing something meaningful together. The best sales professionals know that people buy from people they like. Also, there is a trick I learned, when you genuinely like someone and demonstrate it, they generally like you back. Which is the reason why humanizing the business works... Do you feel connected to your fans?
Earned media value
This one makes me smile. Because so often brands, particularly established brands, think nothing of riding on customers reviews and testimonials, yet have such a hard time thinking about the reverse situation. Instead, they often worry about people riding on the brand's coattails.
One scenario: famous authors publicists insist an accomplished pro who also happens to be a dedicated blogger and have built a community by sharing freely of their experience expects said blogger should be honored to interview their authors on their (modest, puny, insignificant?) blog.
Now that they are publishers, content creators, collaborators, and themselves potentially media, your customers have value and creds, whether you acknowledge it or not. Even fence sitters can rescue big brands.
Going back to the idea of calculated control; a brand can always control the effort it puts into its worth, expressing it in the kind of experience it provides with every interaction.
It's about doing, taking action, demonstrating something that makes it worth the attention of the people who are attuned to that action.
What people say they do vs. what they actually do shows up in your bottom line. Why would they choose you over so many other choices? Big picture, are you blind to the fact that they "liked" all your competitors as well? How do you help redefine your "like" vs. theirs?
The game changers tend not to look at survey results where questions were asked of many companies and people doing and optimizing the same things. They look at the market potential and the paradigm shift that is possible.
Isn't it time to start calculating how much your brand is worth to a fan?
Because what they buy from you is the promises you keep and how you make them feel through their association with you.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.