Hi! Thank you for dropping by, I hope you’ll stay for a chat 🙂
This is where I’ll be posting some random thoughts (and maybe some not-so-random thoughts) about digital marketing over this semester. For more info about me click the ‘about’ link above.
Today I want to tell you about some of my experiences and thoughts from volunteering at the 2015 ecommerce Conference and Expo on March 11. While some of the content went completely over my head, there was much that was very accessible, even to someone with my limited knowledge of the area!
The first speaker that ‘spoke’ to me was Col Kennedy, the Global Head of Marketing and E-Commerce at Cotton On. His presentation was titled ‘Keys to Success in a Customer Centric World’. He referenced Simon Sinek’s excellent Ted Talk, ‘How great leaders inspire action’, which you can find here (it’s well worth checking out). Col spoke at length about the importance of staying true to a brand’s ‘why’ – not what a brand does, or how it does it, but the reasonwhy they do what they do.
Col told a story about the London Disney store that was not originally as successful as expected. The decision was made to remove stock and fittings from the store (almost incomprehensible in retailing) in order to return to Disney’s ‘why’ – which was creating magical experiences. The store was refitted to replicate some of the experiences created at the theme parks, such as enchanted forests and Disney castles, and also a mini cinema and activity area that allowed customers to select Disney film clips and music via touch screens. Sales increased dramatically.
Col spoke eloquently and passionately about the number one reason that brands fail: lack of a deep dialogue with customers. He also emphasised the importance of focusing on creating a community, where customers become part of the brand and of the brand experience. An inevitable consequence of this will of course be some negative commentary – whether deserved or not. How a company responds to this can either detract from or reinforce the brand’s identity.
Digital marketing, particularly social media, is placed particularly well to facilitate a real time dialogue with customers. As discussed in class yesterday, brands that do this well, by speaking to customers with a ‘human’ voice rather than an overly officious one, and at the times that they are likely to be seeking interaction (ie weekends) will be much more likely to attract a community of loyal customers.
I recently had an incredibly frustrating experience with the manufacturer of our dishwasher (I won’t mention the brand, but let’s just say it rhymes with LD!). When it broke down, the only service centre that covered our area had a two week backlog before they could attend to service the machine. When they finally arrived, I was told that they didn’t have the necessary part – AND that there was not even stock of that part in the country! They couldn’t even tell me how long the wait would be. After waiting a week with no communication, I left a message on their facebook page. This was responded to in a friendly and engaging manner – four days later! They informed me that they would follow up – but I heard nothing further from the facebook team. I won’t bore you with the whole long, drawn out saga – suffice to say that the machine was eventually replaced, about 6 weeks after I initially contacted them about the problem.
This is a brand that I and my partner used to regard highly; we have a number of their appliances, and know it has a good reputation. The fact that our dishwasher broke down would not have changed my opinion of the brand – but the lengthy delay, and in particular the lack of communication, have lost them a loyal lifetime customer.
In this era of instant gratification and multiple instant and easy communication channels, customers expect to be communicated with. Lack of communication can be very damaging to a brand’s reputation.
Over to you – have you ever been disappointed – or pleasantly surprised – by a brand’s communication?
And if you watched Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, let us know what you think!