Your customers want relationships! What do they get?

Earlier in the week I worked with a client with a unique expertise. At least historically unique. The overall purpose of my mission is about helping the Board to establish a long-term business plan (5-8 years) and then to focus on a powerful process for strategy implementation.

A key issue that we discussed in recent months is what really creates tomorrow’s competitive advantage. And there has been a challenge for me to get the board to understand that their historically unique skill is no longer so very unique. Sure, they have an amazing skill. but there are 5-8 other established competitors as well.

In a competitive situation (which we currently find in any industry), it is increasingly difficult to distinguish itself (in the customer’s perception) through a focus on the ‘traditional competitive factors “(competence, reactivity, delivery times, product quality, etc.). Do not misunderstand me! Today’s level is not enough tomorrow – everything needs to be improved! But your pay-off to any improvement in the ‘traditional competitive factors “is furious fast diminishing.

Now it’s about, parallellet with the ‘traditional competitive factors, “developing” new competitive factors. “This is not my idea! I have measured this with leading corporate clients (more than 250,000 customers) in over 20 years. And the trend is crystal clear! The “traditonella competitive factors” is declining in relative importance, compared to the “new competitive factors.”

And the fastest growing in importance is the “commitment”. The question you should ask yourself is if all the people in your organization right now, all the while you’re reading this, has relationships with your customers really show them where the proper commitment. And above all, a greater commitment than your competitors? Because if not, you have two problems:
The first Your business is based more on “Management By Hope” (we hope that customers will choose us).
The second You have not succeeded in anchoring behavior that really ensures your long-term success (if you ask what the customer wants).

If you want me to meet your management team and / or board for an hour at no cost and tell you more about what actually controls the customers’ buying decisions and loyalty today and tomorrow, and how you can anchor it in your organization more time-and cost-effectively than your competitors , please feel free to contact me.
// Johan

Is your brand focused on transactions or interactions?

Grammy-nominated artist David Gray’s “A moment changes everything” celebrates how a single moment between two people has the power to change everything about their relationship—a moment that takes their relationship to an elevated level. Listen here. As humans we understand that interactions alter how we perceive one another, significantly and quickly building or compromising a relationship.

That’s why the pursuit and reward of transactional excellence for brands is over. Transactional excellence is now simply tablestakes. Interactional excellence, where a personal experience and relationship is created and fostered, is imperative for success.

Today’s reality is that consumers today, people today, are thirsty for brands to provide something more than just a product or service. They want relationships, especially amid our technologically immersed lives, where human interactions seem to be decreasing and digital interactions are increasing. Look no further than smartphones that have provided accessibility to work and personal email and social networks 24/7/365. It has us all working at home and dealing with home at work. In fact, 97 percent of executives say they work during vacations, per gyro’s @Work State of Mind study conducted by Forbes Insights.

That’s why CMOs today must recognize four important and transformational shifts that can either accelerate their brands success or see it remain vulnerable:

1. Relationships have moved beyond product transactions to human interactions
Nike isn’t just selling shoes that perform well for runners. It has created communities around Nike+, an experience with the brand and other runners with shared interests and purpose.

2. Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond service transactions to personal interactions
American Express isn’t just handling questions and requests efficiently at its customer service centers. It has accelerated a customer’s value and loyalty by turning calls into personal conversations backed by data-rich knowledge and insight. No wonder the American Express tag line is “That’s what it feels like to be a Member.”

3. Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond marketing-led transactions to user-led demand
Marketers often no longer control when, where and how people experience the brand. Rather, it is pulled into people’s lives on their terms. Scotsman, a B-to-B ice-machine brand, isn’t just extolling the benefits of nugget ice to retailers and their distributors. It has given consumers a user-led digital place ( where they can share their love for chewable ice and find places that serve nugget ice. Scotsman tapped into a humanly relevant idea and changed the game in B-to-B marketing.

4. Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond a structured research process to organic discovery
Google isn’t just serving up search results these days. It is a part of changing how consumers research and buy products. “ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth” is a must-read Google-published book that recognizes that people come to a brand through many online sources such as reviews, searches, ratings, peer recommendations and more. Relationships we have with one another are leading us to brands, not just how marketers lead brands to us.

In our digital-led world, brands must be humanly relevant. They must get up and into a person’s experience with them and relate to it, looking beyond the numbers and into the experience. Success is subtle and fragile today and so are relationships. Is your brand keeping up?

Source:, May 2012
Author: JP LaFors is director of client service at gyro Denver

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