The Leading Edge – Taking Care of Business
You Have Super Fans Right?
If you are doing things right, you will have a lot of customers who love doing business with you. These are the loyal, long-term customers or clients that come back time and time again. These are the people who recommend you to their friends, even talk about you online. They are often known as super fans or brand fanatics.
Here’s a question: how do you interact with these super fans? A better question might be: do you ever interact with your super fans—your best customers do you take them for granted?
The thing is, your best customers are a resource waiting to be mined. Before the rise of social media, it was tough to identify true super fans. Sure, they came into your store regularly, or you did projects or supplied services to them several times a year but that was normal business, you never really knew if they were saying nice things about you to everyone they knew. But things have changed; these days if you have a Facebook page you can see what people are saying about you in real time—what customers are saying. And, if you haven’t got a business Facebook page, you might want to consider setting one up.
In the U.K. a cosmetics company called Lush has such a super fan, a young woman called Nicole McRonney-Apaw (source: trendwatching.com). She’s been a fan of the company for several years and collects Lush’s products. She even flew to other countries to purchase exclusive Lush products unavailable at home. In Nicole’s case the company didn’t have to seek her out, she approached them offering social media advice. To cut a long, but interesting, story short, she got a job in one of their retail stores, later moved into a communications position and today is the face of one of their new product campaigns.
The lesson here is not to overlook grass roots fans. Why? Because they often know more about you and your business, and more importantly your market, than you do. They are one-hundred per cent on your side – they are loyal and invested in your success.
So, how can you work with them? Perhaps let them try new products or services out before you launch them and see what they think, and more importantly how they might improve them or market them better to your target customers. They may even suggest a different market altogether. Ask them, “What would make you more excited about buying this product?” And, “How would you suggest we market this through social media.”
Don’t be afraid to hire them in a consulting role if they demonstrate skills in social media, design, public relations, whatever. Be open minded.
Begin actively looking for super fans, there are more out there than you might think. Look for fans that have great personalities, or who have star quality. Cultivate them. Use them in your advertising and on social media. The great thing here, is that using people who love what you sell is keeping it real and customers can identify that immediately. Talk about win-win!
And, here’s a thought. Take a look inside your organization, do you have any super fans of your own that aren’t being used to their best advantage?
Making Your Business Stand Out
In today’s competitive world, businesses need to stand out from the crowd. In the past this was achieved through branding and no doubt this is still a vital part of any business’s marketing strategy. Advertising also played a part in ensuring your market knew what you had to offer. More recently social media has become an important vehicle to use in reaching your target market.
While all this is still relevant, to a greater or lesser degree, the problem is that everyone is doing the same. Your competition is advertising; they are on social media, they have a good brand—if they don’t they probably aren’t really competition.
The question is, what can you do to stand out? To be different?
In this article we’ll look at two things you might consider doing to make your business newsworthy, and to get customers and potential customers not only talking about you but heading to your online, or bricks and mortar location.
Novelty and Experience
Trendwatching.com recently talked about a coffee shop in Shanghai, China called Ratio which has a robot bartender and barista. Customers place their order via an app and the robot makes their drink, grinding the coffee, adding flavours and ensuring the beverage is made to perfection; that is, everything has the correct ‘ratio’ of coffee, milk, shots etc. A real live human then delivers the coffee to the customer. That’s the novelty, but what this coffee shop has also done is remove the one part of coffee culture that customers don’t like and that’s waiting in line. What Ratio has done is improve the experience – perfect coffee, without the hassle of lining up. Think this a gimmick? Not so, five more branches are opening soon.
Uber has done the same worldwide. The taxi industry had a bad rap, so they seized on the opportunity to offer something novel; the ability for riders to know their fare in advance, order a driver and pay using an app, track their ride, know the driver’s name for increased security, and be able to rate their driver, thus ensuring good service across all drivers.
So, think about your business; what can you do that is novel (i.e. none of your competitors are doing it) and which will improve your customer’s experience? What can you do to seize the attention of your existing and prospective customers?
Can you save them time, money, hassle? Can you provide the ultimate in convenience? Can you give them an experience that is so amazing they will talk about it to friends and on social media?
Think about your brand. What is it you promise customers? What is the bottom line? And, ask yourself – is it enough? Think about the journey your customers take from first learning about your company to walking away with whatever product or service you sell. Where along the line can you make it easier or more exciting? How can you make it a novel or exciting experience?
Today, the experience outweighs price to a broad cross-section of consumers. People are looking for an amazing and novel experience – can your company rise to the challenge?
Coach’s Corner – Fall Resolutions
School is back in session and with it, a new year. Or at least that’s what it seems like.
After those lazy days of summer, it is time to look at the important projects or tasks ahead of us. We may want to look at what new habits or goals we’d like to form or achieve before year’s end.
As creatures of habit, the new school year often represents new beginnings. It’s an opportune time to reflect on the past and then move forward. We might want to ask ourselves what new beginnings do we wish to see at this time of the year?
If we are not too sure of what new habits or goals we want, we might reflect on previous resolutions. What were the resolutions we made in January? Why were they important to us? On a scale of 1 to 10, how far along are we toward achieving them?
If we have not made much, or any, progress in achieving our previous resolutions and they are still important to us, a couple of questions come to mind. The first is, what derailed us from reaching those goals or forming those habits? What can we do to get back on track?
Sometimes, in reflection, those previous resolutions may not make sense anymore or we no longer see them as important. This then is a time to think about what is important to us now and how are we going to accomplish our goals?
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Chauncey Depew, American Politician, 1834 – 1928
Often, it is questions that help us to move forward. These may include, what is the first step we need to take? Are there any barriers in front of us that may thwart our resolve? Who can help us ensure our success? What does success look like?
It is so important for us to be accountable, not only to ourselves but to others to assist us in reaching our desired goal. Whether we issue ourselves the challenge of becoming fitter, or completing a project, or achieving a specific personal or career outcome, we will find more success if we have articulated our desired outcomes to a trusted friend or colleague, a family member, a mentor or a coach. Keeping it in the forefront of our mind and working on it every day will reward us with reaching our goal.
“A fresh day brings new sunrise and new hope for a fresh start.” Lailah Gifty Akita, Author
Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development