Steve Jobs once said,
“…life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Marketers, may I have your attention please? I’m not writing this so you can add an inspiring quote by Steve Jobs to the bottom of your email signature. Instead, let’s apply this quote to marketing. If we did, it might read like this:
“Everything that makes your brand what it is, was made up by people — customers — who have opinions.” So, what is their opinion? Do they love you? Are they in love with you? Are you creating a buzz around your company and its work? Are you giving your customers a real reason to keep coming back to you?
Let me illustrate this another way.
I remember a pretty girl in high school who was a part of my team for a group project. Somehow, she was able to get everyone else in the group to do her work. If I remember correctly, I believe the conversation went something like this:
Jack: Sorry, I don’t have time to do the whole PowerPoint and help you with A, B, and C.
Kate Upton: Ok, I was hoping we could meet up after school, but that’s okay. By the way, that button-up your wearing is so cute.
Jack: 3:30pm work for you?
Now, I didn’t go to high school with Kate Upton, but is it possible that today’s expert marketers are like that girl in the group project?
They get the customer to do their work for them. Then, the customer thanks the company! When the marketing is done right, the consumer not only drives sales through purchasing, but also drives sales by getting others to hop on the bandwagon. They do this by leaving unsolicited reviews, spreading the word about a product via social media, or even blogging. Today, consumers change other consumers’ opinions.
Your brand is-what-it-is because of consumer opinions. If it was as simple as your brand’s image being great because your marketing department says it is, wouldn’t everyone’s brand be spectacular?
Getting opinions behind your brand is a lot of work, though. There are so many different types and levels of opinions. I might like a brand because of something silly and shallow. I might loathe a brand because of my aversion to one tiny aspect of it. Either way, I’ve developed my bone-headed opinion and it sits in my frontal lobe ready to pounce on whomever brings up said brand. Everyone has an opinion, just ask.
What you need to try and figure out is how well developed a consumer’s opinion is, and how, if it’s necessary, you can begin to change it. This plays a vital role in your desire for a long-lasting customer relationship.
Your brand is constantly being perceived in some sort of fashion. Every moment with your customer is either building it up or tearing it down. You don’t have to follow the marketing rule book from the last millennium. Instead, pave your own road between your brand and your customer. Like the Jobs said, “once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”