Good day, and welcome back.
It was a busy spring – we often refer to it as the season of the buying group shows! It always follows winter and preceeds summer.
These shows are an exceptional opportunity to get close with our customers and prospective customers. Each of the 5 shows that we participate in has its own personality; all of them deliver results.
One of the organizations offered an excellent presentation by marketing and branding guru Scott Demming. But make no mistake, he was not talking about clever slogans, eye catching graphics, and cute logos. No, this was a far more in depth discussion about not only what and how we do business, but more importantly, why. (Remember “Start with Why” by Simon Senak)
What Demming effectively communicated during his presentation was the importance of creating an emotional bond…brand…to connect with customers and achieve sustainable success. Awareness may create familiarity, discount prices may generate opening sales, and catchy jingles and cute logos may help us remember a company, but none of these hard wire the connection that we need. And the real point is that this is a connection that our customers need for their sustainable success too.
However – and this is the key – it is imcumbent on us as the supplier to communicate, both through words and actions, why we do what we do, and why our customers and prospective customers should engage in a business relationship with us.
I’m sure we can all think of companies that we purchase goods and services from (whether for our business or personally) that we have no loyalty to, and often hold our nose while each interaction. Who loves the airline we fly? Not me. Do we have an emotional attachment to a gas station? Not me. Does any drug store or office supply company provide us with an emotional bond? None that I can think of. Yet we use them all regularly and repeatedly.
But we all love our sports teams, even though most of them do not win the league championship (can you say Chicago Cubs, or Winnipeg Jets). And we even where the team colors to show our loyalty.
So the million dollar question is how do we translate that kind of fandom…fanatisicism…to create the undying bond with our customer base. The question is particularly difficult given that most of us are selling commodities, and exist in a hyper competitive market that exists both at ground level and cyber space.
I had a great conversation with Scott Demming a couple of weeks after his presentation. I spoke to him about a customer that was not showing the kind of loyalty that I thought we deserved. And the fact is, as we agreed, there is no magic bullet. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything in our power to build that brand, and build those connections, and create the fans and ‘evangelists’ to help tell our story. We can never forget to tell our prospects and customers why we are here.