Four Reasons to Jump Start Your Brand - Strategic Brand Communications l 603-658-1600
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In the day-to-day work at our marketing agency we see the dangers of complacency all the time. Often clients assure us that business is fine and there’s no need for anything new, rarely resurfacing until there is a sudden one-off project that needs to be turned around fast. We love our clients and welcome any chance to help, but this kind of sleepy status quo can be risky in a 21st-century economy. If you want to realize the full potential of your brand during good times while avoiding a damaging slowdown in bad times, you have to energize your marketing to work harder and smarter… immediately.

Here are four reasons why your marketing must be not merely proactive, but relentless.

REASON #1: Keeping and adding customers is now an uphill battle.

Most businesses know all too well that more customers are switching loyalties than ever before, but here are a few examples of 2017 churn rates by industry:

  • Telecom/wireless: 20%
  • Financial: 21%
  • Retail: 27%
  • Cable: 31%

High turnover also means you can’t take current accounts for granted. As we note in this Creative Co-op article, retained customers cost one-fifth as much as a new acquisitions while being more likely to make referrals and champion your brand via positive online write-ups. So initiatives such as loyalty programs, referral rewards and VIP perks really do pay for themselves.

Bottom line, an enterprise such as a retail bank might lose 1-2% percent of net income for each point of customer attrition. That’s a serious financial hit, so even keeping your base the same size requires a nonstop effort. It may take 6-12 “touches” to generate a viable sales lead, with conversions occurring sporadically over a cycle spanning weeks or months. It’s absolutely imperative that you make a rigorous marketing effort that keeps your brand in front of prospects and a torrent of leads flowing through your pipeline.

REASON #2: Rising above commodity status requires a brand that people value.

The struggle to increase profitability while conducting business as usual is illustrated by these statistics from the banking industry: today, the average cost of acquiring a new customer is about $200… while the average annual revenue from such a customer is just $300.

How can you get off this kind of low-margin, high-volume treadmill? One approach mentioned earlier is to be more proactive in upselling people who already know and trust you. Repeat customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more on average, according to e-commerce specialist Invesp.

But there are other factors that can induce prospects to open their wallets, and many of them don’t involve traditional features and benefits. Anywhere from 10-30% of respondents in a 2018 survey by global consulting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), for example, named these varied attributes as worth paying extra for:

  • Brand image
  • Charitability
  • Fun
  • Social responsibility
  • Unique experience
  • Personalization

All told, PwC estimated that companies known for great customer experiences and kindred values command a price premium of up to 16% on products and services. They also enjoy greater loyalty. But it all starts with a tireless omnichannel dialog about what your audience values.

REASON #3: You’ve never been more vulnerable to outside perceptions.

Another insight from the PwC study is something you’ve probably become aware of during the past couple of years: the customer experience is now all-powerful.

  • 17% of American consumers would leave a brand they love after just one bad experience
  • 59% would leave after several bad experiences
  • 65% consider a positive experience more influential than great advertising

Today’s consumers demand a great experience and share the results with other consumers. A 2018 survey by BrightLocal concludes that 86% of U.S. consumers read online reviews to find out about local businesses, with the percentages of those checking daily, weekly or monthly all rising sharply as each year passes. Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use a business, while negative reviews keep 40% of consumers from patronizing it themselves. Among today’s massive population of younger consumers, an astonishing 91% of respondents age 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Small wonder that leading-edge marketers are constantly leveraging “social proof” in the form of reviews, user videos or social media likes and shares. If you think your own brand is above such concerns, consider this: BrightLocal found that a remarkable 89% of consumers read the responses from businesses to reviewers. Who can claim the same readership level for their advertising?

Whether a comment is positive, negative, fake or from a competitor with an axe to grind, staying on top of what’s said about you is now a critical part of the marketing function.  You must respond quickly and professionally to maintain your brand 24/7 – or you risk having it defined by someone else.

REASON #4: Your marketplace is evolving and won’t wait for you to catch up.

In the words of Accenture Strategy, digital disruption during the past decade has caused steady erosion not only in customer loyalty, but trust. The result is a “switching economy” worldwide that has placed an estimated $6.2 trillion in revenue opportunities up for grabs, with 44% of surveyed consumers open to products and services from non-traditional players. We’ve all seen this play out with brands such as Amazon, Uber, Apple Pay and Airbnb; as new standards and service expectations emerge, traditional institutions are challenged to meet or exceed them.

At the same time, we must expect to spend more time outside our comfort zones courting Millennials, GenXers and even younger market segments who have spent their lives immersed in digital technologies. That means you will have no choice but to offer:

  • Larger selection of digital channels
  • Faster yet still-seamless digital convenience
  • Highly watchable and engaging content
  • Greater social and word-of-mouth credibility
  • More appealing values and brand attributes

So let’s put all of this into perspective. Once upon a time, marketers saw branding as something they communicated to their prospects; now, branding is in large part what your prospects are communicating to you. Listening and responding every day will soon become the bare minimum in today’s fast-changing world, and Creative Co-op can help you thrive on it. For insights that’ll jump start your brand for the future, contact us at (603) 658-1600.