Marketer’s role in creating lasting Brand loyalty

Competition in the consumer markets is an equally dashing, equally dynamic process with the added allure of being new and exciting to customers. Consumers now increasingly believe to try out a brand for the first time and may or may not be loyal to the brand for long time to come.

If a marketer’s sales person has understood a potential customer well enough, he wouldn’t have a breakfast show TV spot when a potential customer (in this case say a female) is not a morning person. An ambient message beamed at her on road less traveled, or a banner on a site she’s at least expected to surf. And that’s putting it rather simply, every time a sales person talk to a customer, he must make sure it’s an exciting one. For such exciting timing and talk can lead to brand relationships which deepen into loyal patronization for years. But the sales person must be wise to remember at all times that every such rendezvous with his/her customer must be as thrilling as the first one.

An attempt to get to know the customer better will reveal how little we really know. One should know about her personal traits like whether she is a vegetarian, her favorite author, personal soap, color, car and similar attributes where the customer response will be paying more attention to sales person’s talk.

Most marketers think getting into a relationship is just talking about the plus points of the products and getting the business. Not so, as it could be actually seen that targeting a message at a woman between 25 and 35 isn’t yielding results. Reason is simple as she realizes rather quickly a marketer’s sales person don’t care enough.

A brand must show caring, though a great understanding of and with the customer.

It begins with things as simple as knowing the best time of day to chat with her. She isn’t likely to listen to a sales person on her mobile while she’s driving and already late to work. She will open up to a sales person during a work break at 4, sipping her coffee and getting back her blood sugar and energy levels.

A sales person can sell her a boutique piece at the beginning of the month when she’s got a pay check in hand. Hard bargains are ideal as the funds deplete towards the end of the month. A sales person should not attempt to sell her jewelry or banking products in months when Indians believe are inauspicious or target baby products at her when she’s barely out of her teens.

Timing is critical to messaging by day, week, month, season, life stage. A customer is to have the products of the brand and to hold from this day of first purchase and beyond. If done that well, she will stick with a sales person in sickness and in health. There are fantastic stories of brands that have come out of product problems only on the strength of loyal franchise. Some of them are Cars that have replaced engines, teas that have bettered blends, pharmaceutical companies that have withdrawn products. And they have only met with support, encouragement and faith.

Brand relationships even go beyond the ‘death do us part’ bit. There’s very insightful case study of a Korean bank that found huge deposits being withdrawn by wives of deceased clients. The reason: if they were not recognized while their spouses were alive, why would they park their inheritance with a bank that didn’t respect them?

The place is also as important as time is. At home on the right TV channel, in front of a computer at her default site, in the kitchen on her radio, surrounding her at her mall hang-out, in shop in fitting room, on her mobile just when she needs information. No one media can touch her 24*7, multi tasking way of life. Caring brands know when and where she’s seeking help, guidance and empowerment.

It really boils down to media plural thinking the art of skewing a sales person’s message smartly and scientifically to be at the right place to get maximum impact. Whether it is in the interactive space with a computer or mobile interface, or direct response with a robust, customer centric CRM backbone, or persuasive out-of home and retail environments or compelling promotions and events, or even specific health and lifestyle messaging nuances, the message is now the medium. Especially with a geographically irreverent, time challenged, media-flirtatious, constantly moving target group.

In an age when consumers insist on co parenting brand communication along with the brand itself, this is the kind of sensitive touch point management and customer engagement model that is required generating brand demand through active and absorbing brand engagement is the secret of creating a successful brand loyalty.

These are exciting times of brand building. And the future promises to be full of mutually enriching conversations, commitments and companion ship.