Millions of people have developed long-lasting, committed relationships with a product or service. These brand marriages generate huge profits as long as the brand continues to provide the consumer with what he or she needs and values. For example, Coca-Cola is worth more to Wall Street than the value of its workforce, facilities and product. The intangible something that is worth billions is its brand name.The “First Date”
Creating a strong brand relationship is a process that begins with the first date or encounter, followed by a lengthy courtship. When passion ignites, the brand and customer head for the altar. For the past 50 years, the Gallup Organization has been conducting consumer interviews to find out how companies can develop such enduring, meaningful bonds between their brands and their customers. This research found that:
Brand marriages must evolve over time. The factors that bring new customers into a store, or entice them to sample a product or service, are different from the factors that convert them into brand spouses.
The “brand promise” must be clear, believable and compelling.
The entire brand experience affects the brand marriage. Every contact between a customer and a company contributes to or detracts from the brand relationship.
The company must uphold and reinforce the brand promise at every touch point during every interaction.
Although trust is important, passion fuels the brand marriage. Most brands are married to only a small percentage of their customers.
Take emotions seriously, because emotionally “engaged” customers generate profits.
Every employee must be involved in relationship management.
It’s too easy to file for separation and get divorced as well
With the popularity of social media giving consumers a new channel to vent their frustrations it’s easy to forget that just one mistake in a customer touch point can result in a really bad repercussion for the brand.
Consumers are angry today and they can vent their anger via social media at brands that they feel fail to deliver on the brand promise. Even if it’s not the brands fault the brand can take the fall for any number of reasons that damage the relationship between the customer and the product. Execution is extremely important today and marketers have to ensure that a consistently good experience is the standard not the exception.