We want customers to fall in love with our brands. A one-off purchase is always still a win, but our real goal is a long-term relationship: when a customer becomes an advocate.
As an advocate, they don't just purchase again and again. They tell their friends how great a brand is, Instagramming their latest purchase, sharing content with friends and recommending products or services.
How can marketers create this love story, shaping a user experience that goes beyond a simple transaction?
1. Making the Big Gesture
Hero campaigns are the marketing equivalent of a huge bunch of someone's favourite flowers or a surprise weekend away at a luxury hotel. They're big, attention grabbing campaigns that grab the attention of potential advocates - and show them that you're serious.
Like the best romantic gestures, these campaigns aren't about a hard sell. Instead they focus on creating an experience that is genuinely emotionally engaging and provides exactly what will inspire and delight their audience.
San Pellegrino produced a series of in-depth videos exploring the tastes and sights of Sicily. By celebrating the experience of travelling on the island, along with subtle product placement, they strongly associated their brand with the sunshine, beauty and authentic way of life displayed in the videos.
2. GSOH Essential
It's not just those big sweeping gestures that build an enduring relationship of course. It's a shared joke over a glass of wine on a week day evening or enjoying bingeing on the same Netflix series.
For brands, these experiences come across through social media and content marketing, providing small moments that provide a daily boost.
Being relatable and engaging could be a fun behind the scenes photo from a chef's pasta cooking demo, which are perfect for a foodie audience, while for a b2b company it could be providing links to topical reads during peak commuting time.
3. Being There Everyday
No matter how hard you try, sometimes things go wrong. The package is late, clothes don't fit, something breaks, people need help to understand how to use it or can't log in to their account.
These tougher times are an opportunity for brands to stand out. Customer service that shows up exactly where you need them is a no-brainer to ensure that a brand relationship doesn't hit the wall as soon as a problem emerges.
Dedicated channels on social media for customer support, like Asos Here To Help on Twitter, are an easy way for busy Millennials to sort out any issues in a more appealing way than spending their lunch hour on the phone.
Developing communities let's your audience support each other with a little help from you. Just look at the success of Vanish's Tip Exchange, showing that no niche is too small to have passionate advocates - and these user generate tips speak louder than commissioned adverts.
What ties all of this together? It's focusing on the customer first and foremost on what will delight, interest or help them, whichever stage of the customer journey they are at. So that the end result, is brand love.
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