Like falling in love, creating ambassadors for your brand can be, well… complicated. You can approach it in a couple of ways.
Some business owners have expressed to us that they want help with their marketing, when in reality, what they are looking for are a few magical “pick-up lines” that will make their company attractive to customers for a quick transaction. While that tawdry mental image does cling, let us warn you: The customers won in a single conversation with flashy pick-up lines often don’t stay long. Usually, they are only attracted by money, meaning they won’t stick around when the price isn’t right.
“Courting” a company, however, comprises a string of “dates” and positive moments. Though this takes longer, it is well worth it. Courtship will result in client loyalty and a longer-lasting relationship.
The Three Circles of Interaction
According to behavioral psychologist Desmond Morris, the process that forms a relationship usually determines its strength. Given that your goal as a business owner should be to develop committed, long-term relationships with your customers, you need a profound, proven process. In the business world, customer courtship comes from a convergence of Story, Culture, and Experience.
Story is “What You Say.” Essentially the backbone of marketing. It is the personality and promises you include in your messages.
Culture is “Who You Are.” It is the experience your employees have within your company and their impression of how well you live up to your core values.
Experience is “What You Do.” It is what your customers perceive when they interact with your company.
Consider Apple, Disney, Zappos, and Nordstrom as the pinnacle examples as we move through a deeper explanation of this vortex, and you will understand the dynamics of what happens when these circles intersect.
When Story and your customer’s Experience align, authenticity occurs. When these don’t intersect, you get bad reviews. The customer loses faith in you. You didn’t live up the claims in your story, and they’re going to tell the world.
When your Story and Culture mesh, High Employee Morale takes place. When these don’t align, and your employees realize your company doesn’t walk the talk, you have cancer in the building. How sincere can they be towards customers if they don’t even believe in what the company stands for?
Fandom happens when Culture and Experience mesh—when the customer interacts with an enthusiastic employee who gladly demonstrates the company’s ideals. If Culture and Experience fail to merge, there is still a transaction, but it becomes forgettable.
There is no bond. It’s not that the customer dislikes you; they just have little reason to rave about you.
The ultimate alignment occurs where Story, Culture, and Experience intersect. This is the incubator in which Brand Ambassadors are born; your happy customer chooses to become a member of your family.
It’s About Timing and Relevance
The customer who moves quickly from first contact to first purchase is not likely to become a loyal customer, though that is possible if they continue to use your product or services. Like love, it can happen slowly or in a thunderbolt, where-have-you-been-all-my-life way. Deeply committed Brand Ambassadors, however, don’t usually come about via “love at first sight.” Still, only when your Story resonates with them, your Culture is attractive to them, and you provide a remarkable Experience worth talking about.
That is not to say it cannot ever happen quickly! Be in the right place at the right time, swoop in to save Mr. or Mrs. Homeowner at the perfect moment, and they will rave about you! That relationship is still likely to be a lasting one, but it is founded on unusual moments of urgency and high impact. Having resources in place for those emergency situations, like 24/7 customer service, will make you the Superman to their Lois Lane.
Magical pick-up lines may get the customer interested, but true love happens face-to-face. Marketing can introduce you two, but once the customer shows interest and gives the go-ahead for the next interaction, then it’s up to your Call Center and Service Techs. They are responsible for putting a voice and face to the company’s words and acting on promises, nurturing those customers into Brand Ambassadors. Your team members need to understand customers’ personal stories in order to engage them as people, not transactions. If they’re a repeat customer, take a moment to remember what you talked about with them the last time you spoke.
Smile, whether they can see you or not. Anticipate their needs and questions. Make your services more valuable so they cannot imagine going on without you.
Your marketing is just a wingman, there to sell the good points about who you are. Advertising will accelerate what was going to happen anyway. If you’re trying to be someone you aren’t, and the customer catches on to that, you’re just going to get a drink thrown in your face.
Closing words on this topic come from Wizard of Ads founder, Roy H. Williams. He gives this advice:
“Old school advertising was ‘assault, subdue and conquer” through AdSpeak. ‘We are the best. We won’t be undersold. We have been voted the number one…’ It was the language of a competitor, a warrior. The new language of advertising requires a wooer, not a warrior. Intimacy is patient and considerate, never pressing more on the customer than the customer desires. It’s the language of seduction. In your ads, will you remain a Fighter? Or will you become a lover?”
Yes… it’s complicated… but it’s worth it.