In my last two posts we’ve looked at two of the three sides of your ‘Brand Triangle’: external marketing, promoting your product or service direct to your customer, and your internal marketing, ensuring your employees are fully aligned with your brand message. The third aspect we need to look at is interactive marketing.
I’ve previously highlighted the crucial role your employees play in delivering the promise you make to your customers. To market your product or service effectively we need to look well beyond how good your branding material looks (crucial though this is) and dig deeper to be sure your employees deliver that promise in everything they say and do, and the way they treat your customers before, during and after the sale is made. This interface between your team and your customer, and the opportunity this presents to reinforce your brand promise, is what I define as interactive marketing.
If your brand was a living person, what would it be like to meet them?
Have you ever considered how your brand behaves? Think of it this way: if your brand was a living person, what would it be like to meet them? Would they be brash and excitable? Quietly confident? Formal? Relaxed and casual? This should be reflected in the way your employees behave.
In the same way that you should define who your ideal customer is, it’s important to understand and define the personality traits that are consistent with your company culture and brand values.
With this in mind, it becomes easier to make sure you bring the right people into your business when you recruit. Skills and knowledge can be trained; personality is innate. So don’t stop at a candidate’s qualifications and experience, look past the facts on the CV and consider whether the person is the right character to be an ambassador for your brand.
Whatever you’re selling, your marketing is about making sure your customers feel valued, understood, and cared for. Draw your customers to you, by not only fulfilling their material needs but delivering a warm and memorable experience. Get this right, and you’ll build a tribe of loyal fans that keep coming back for more, and tell their friends.
You’ll have your own brand experiences to draw on, both good and bad, that illustrate the importance of interactive marketing. The famous London department store Liberty gave me my best example, when late one night, just before they closed, I dashed in to the haberdashery department to buy my wife some buttons. They were very special buttons, but still were probably the lowest value item that the gentleman who served me had sold all day. However, despite the late hour, he took time to understand my needs, treating me as if I were the most important customer in the world, with a courtesy, warmth and respect that has stayed with me. From a simple low-value transaction, one employee treating me exceptionally well turned me into a devoted advocate of the Liberty brand.
Whatever you sell, and whoever your customers are, use every opportunity you have to reinforce your brand promise and values. However lowly the transaction, you’re not just making a sale, you’re building the relationships that will lead to greater success, now and in the future.