22 Feb What Strong Brands can Learn from Strong Marriages
The keys to ongoing satisfaction and loyalty
I used to watch Oprah during the day as a sleepy uni student in Newcastle. Do you recall a segment called ‘random acts of kindness’?
Hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I got goosebumps. There were tears. Outpourings of emotion.
It was ten in the morning!
I wiped my eyes.
Oprah must have felt that people needed reminding to be kind. People always need reminding to be kind.
Suddenly, people seemed to be nicer to each other everywhere.
Why you should be kind
Now I am reminding you to be kind.
Because if you are not kind, it is very expensive.
It costs so much to attract a new customer, especially with the scattergun approach so often used.
There is a lot of waste when we cast a wide net.
Customer retention is much less expensive than customer acquisition.
By contrast, retaining your customers is cheaper and easier. You just have to be nice to them and listen.
1. Random acts of kindness
These remind your customer you are good for them. They, of course, are good for you.
Reminding your partner why they made a good decision in choosing you is key to ongoing satisfaction and loyalty.
In the toothpaste category, market leader Colgate uses TV commercials not to acquire new customers, but to remind existing customers they have made the right decision.
The line extensions change, yet the story remains to same.
Plaque gets into teeth like liquid into this chalk.
Plus, a nice analogy every now and then helps you memorise the value.
2. Birthdays and special occasions
If your customers are high value, send them a birthday card. Yes, an actual card, written by an actual human.
It is surprising because it is unexpected. And it is charming. And pretty easier.
In the banking sector years ago, we sent handwritten cards to every new member, new home loan, and every 18th birthday.
Customers often called in to thank us for our kindness.
We did it to be nice, yes.
But from a commercial point of view, it is so much easier to bake a cake in a preheated oven.
When you are in a relationship with your customer, especially if they are a valuable one, you need to remember their birthday. If they give it to you. Or any other special occasions you may be privy to.
3. Honour their involvement
The east coast of Australia had catastrophic bushfires in 2020. The village where I live was nearly wiped out.
A few weeks later, my bank called me to check if we needed anything. We didn’t, but I’ll never forget it. That’s loyalty.
If you have a customer database of any kind, you will be able to step in and lift the phone when it counts.
Fire. Floods. Pandemics. We’re still waiting for the locust plague, but this is where it counts.
These are opportunities to build trust. If you marry someone, you commit through sickness and health.
Good brands need to be willing to ride the tidal wave with their customer as well.
Loyalty is a two-way street.
The more you put in, the more you get out.
If you have a massive budget, you can sponsor the Olympics like Visa does. Just don’t forget to spend twice as much on communicating it.
And remember to thank your customers for helping you do it.
Co-creating solutions with your customers is a good way of honoring them and finding new uses for what you offer.
Co-creation through an advisory panel is like a customer board. Pay them a gratuity. Thank them. Discuss the findings in your blog.
4. Resolve any problems
I met a couple who had four kids and decided to separate.
They split and went about their individual ways…and then got back together again six months later.
For marriages, there are counsellors, mediators, and talk therapists who can help.
For brands, we can hire skilled listeners to help resolve disputes and create satisfactory outcomes. I can think of a stationery and office supplies chain that really needs to hear this.
Give the staff some leeway and a few guardrails, but let them help work it out with the customer.
That might be the best trick.
Sometimes you just need to be listened to. To be heard. You can nut it out together.
The key question to ask is how much are you willing to give?
What are you willing to give for that value?
If you look at any CLV (customer lifetime value) charts, you’ll see the most loyal customers are the most valuable.
The rewards for the bottom line come from those who stick around.
Whether it is a service product, like finance. Accounting, medicine, or law. Or a product like beer or whiskey.
Loyalty pays dividends. And it gives our work a higher-order meaning.
Love. Nurture. Nudge.
There is so much freedom in a great marriage. You have someone who beckons you to the higher ground.
Someone who supports you to be your best self.
Someone to nurture you, love you and nudge you when you need it.
You just have to do the same for them.
Brands need customers for all the same reasons. We are mutually dependent.
Customers help us make money. They help us define our services and products and deliver them in clearer and more effective ways.
Brands and partners can’t take each other for granted. They have to respect and honor each other.
Be kind 🙂 Dani