Tuesday, January 29, 2008

loyal customers or an evangelist army?

i've written about customer loyalty before, specifically when referencing Kevin Roberts book lovemarks. in his book, Roberts talks about generating "loyalty beyond all reason".

never in human history has there been the ability to truly unleash the power of brand evangelism as one can today...web 2.0 has changed how the world communicates with each other about all sorts of topics - including brands.

as an organization, if you don't have a solid strategy for creating brand evangelism, well then, you're ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL my friend.

i encourage you to learn how to inspire and challenge your loyal followers (it only takes one to get things rolling) in some way to have fun explaining the virtues of your company, your brand or your products...if you are truly as i wrote yesterday the "ideal supplier", then you should have enough brand loyalty points to generate a wonderfully powerful evangelist army of one or more...

if you're struggling with how to engage your customers in such a way as to motivate them to talk about your brand, i can sympathize. one thing is for certain, there isn't a single answer or silver bullet...this closest i can come to that is "emotion". we as human beings live to have our emotions rocked. we want to laugh, cry, scream, argue, be challenged, be inspired, be empowered, bedazzled... those who disrupt our lives with opportunities to either participate or at least observe emotional disruption or turmoil in some way get the most attention, and by attention, i mean "compensation".

don't be afraid to push the limits, if you don't push the limits, you don't grow and frankly people won't pay attention...that said, if you're in the commodity production business, that's a different kettle of fish altogether. most people will never really care about your shoe lace factory enough to talk about it on youtube. even if you're employing 12 yr olds to slide the cotton lace through the plastic tube end - unfortunately even then, most won't care. why do you think Seth Godin named his book Meatball Sundaes and talks about that exact issue? here's an interesting interview by Hugh Mcleod of gapingvoid.com on that subject (a bit off topic here).

take a look at a couple of videos done by evangelists for heinz and chick-fil-a

a simple contest has inspired creativity on behalf of their brands. the other important aspect to this concept is that it's a two way conversation with customers, critically important, should you want to know more about how your company is doing.

so be disruptive today, inspire and create an evangelist army for your brand, be real and for goodness sake be brave!

did you like this post? inspired? bored? let me know by commenting...


Greg Douglas said...

very interesting - thanks for showing me how to access the blog from the home page, Walter...

we're trying to do this exact thing right now in our business. we have some clients that just love what we provide, the services, the products, the value - they are quite happy (or so they say!) now its up to us (read: me) to convert that satisfaction into a Referral Army. People who aren't just happy using our services, they feel compelled to share their stories with others so they can have their lives improved. Ambassadors of our business, so to speak.

We're implementing a newsletter and launching a blog to get ourselves more firmly entrenched as a provider of not just products and services, but also of knowledge - both offline and online (this mix is a key factor in our particular client demographic.) If we can become their "go to" people for anything relating to our field, then things get a bit easier.

Online tools like you mention here certainly will play a part in this!

One thing I'd challenge you to examine, however, would be the use of non-standard colors for links on webpages. (Or perhaps to find another way to convey the link's location. Another visual cue, perhaps?)

I find a lot of marketing materials, power point presentations (and even opening movie credits, this past weekend - thank you, St. Elmo's Fire!) ignore us.... Blue underlined links are visible, while a red non-underlined one, well, can't see it, can't click on it...

Anyway - for what its worth, there's a site that does a "color blind simulator" called "vischeck". Since up to 20% of the white male popluation (approx 8-12% of total male population, compared to less than 1% of females) are colour blind, this may be worth looking into. They also have plugins for graphics software that run an algorithm ("Daltonize") to make pages more colour blind friendly.


You can load your home page into that and see what I mean. the "here" looks like the rest of the page and with no underline... there's no clue to click on it. Just looks like a typical brochure site to us deuteranopes....

there's my official 2 cents on the matter. looking forward to more info on this topic (web 2.0, not colourblindness) later!

waltman said...

Greg, that's a great comment re the "color-blindness"...I'll have to have my web designer look into ensuring the underlining of all of the red links on my corporate site happen which would normally happen with blue active links...

I wish you continued good fortune with http://www.douglasenviro.ca/