In our last blog post, we offered a quick way to develop a data-driven marketing plan based on a percentage of your actual (or projected) annual revenue and unique business goals. If you missed that one, you can check it out here.
If you’ve already followed its steps and have:
- Analyzed your situation
- Set clear goals and objectives
- Calculated a budget
- Defined your strategy
Identifying your goals and creating a plan to achieve them is a huge, and very important first step in making your dreams a reality.
But, before you go spending thousands of dollars to run a full-page, full-color ad in that extremely popular, nationally circulated magazine let’s take a step back to explore an often-overlooked factor that may be contributing to your dip in sales (or revenue plateau).
Is This Your Customer’s Journey?
You’re on a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website touting high-quality products and unparalleled white-glove customer service that treats you like a king (or queen). “It sounds like a dream come true!” you think as you place your order selecting the “pick up in store” option to save a little cash.
On delivery day, you happily follow Siri’s directions to the store but are perplexed when you find yourself in front of a completely different business. Confused, you pick up your phone to compare the address on your screen to the one on the building but confirm that, yes, you are at the right place—well according to Apple Maps anyway.
You touch the phone icon, hoping clarification is just a quick call away, but are immediately disappointed when the first thing you hear is: “Press one for… Press two for…” You press ‘0’ hoping it will connect you with someone that can point you in the right direction, but instead, the call is dropped.
Frustrated, you call the number again, this time selecting the first option in an attempt to an actual human being. After ten minutes of mind-numbing hold Muzak, you are met with an unfriendly voice on the other end that provides you with the correct address. (Apparently, they moved 2 years ago but have neglected to update their listing.)
On delivery day, you happily follow Siri’s directions to the store but are perplexed when you find yourself in front of a completely different business.
As you near your new destination, you scan the congested shopping center for the business’ name and barely notice the small signage featuring a different logo than the one featured on the website—just as you pass the driveway you need. After making a quick, illegal U-turn at the nearby signal you make your way back to the store’s parking lot and circle around it for five minutes before finally finding a spot.
Entering the store via a fingerprint-covered glass door you walk toward a nearby staff member to ask where you can pick up your order. “In the back,” they answer using an impatient tone and a slight nod of the head toward the rear of the store. After waiting in line behind five other customers, the uncaring employee at the counter tells you that they do not have your delivery.
In fact, they don’t have your order in their system at all.
Reputation—a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy*
At this point, how do you feel? Frustrated? Angry? Confused?
Would you be inclined to shop there again? Write a positive review? Refer a friend?
Would it matter to you how nicely the pictures on their website were staged, or how perfectly their products were described?
We feel like it’s safe to say your answer to every question above would be, “no.” Moreover, after such an experience you might decide to do what many modern-day customers do and use the device conveniently located in the palm of your hand to shout your negative review from the digital rooftop.
The Silent Killer Of Business Success
“Wait a second,” you might think. “I experience less than ideal customer service on an almost daily basis and don’t write a scathing review for them. What is it about this experience that would make me feel so strongly about this business specifically?”
Two simple words: Mixed Messages.
Rather than helping, the beautifully designed and worded website hurt your experience, by establishing the expectation that they’d roll out the red carpet for you at every step. So when they did anything but, it made you feel betrayed. And these days, when customers get the impression that they’ve been lied to, they feel compelled to not only take their business elsewhere but an obligation to warn others.
The Key To Messaging Consistency
More important than a well-designed print ad or an eloquent social media post, a business positioned for success makes sure the message the customer receives is clear and consistent whether it’s being communicated in writing on the website’s ‘about’ page, verbally via the customer service rep on the phone, or by the environment of the store itself.
When customers get the impression that they’ve been lied to, they feel compelled to not only take their business elsewhere but an obligation to warn others.
That the easiest way to ensure this consistency is through the development of a brand architecture: A shareable document that serves as a guideline for all internal and external communication and enables those who speak on your business’ behalf to do so without your constant involvement. This in-depth process:
- Defines your company’s core characteristics and differentiators
- Describes its personality and voice
- Expresses what it stands for and what it values
- Identifies what audiences share those values
- Provides guidelines and examples of how you and your staff can communicate these qualities in a concise way that drives people to act
By establishing this foundational framework you’ll be able to distill your brand into messaging that speaks directly to your target audience in a simple-to-understand, and easy-to-share way, ensuring the messaging consistency your brand needs to cultivate loyal customers and referrals.
“Almost 85% of companies that invest in maintaining brand consistency attribute 10% or more growth to their efforts, and one in five are realizing 20% growth or greater.” — The Impact of Brand Consistency by Lucidpress and Demand Metric
Discover Your Brand’s Vision
Are you expensive but worth it? The low-cost leader? Does your business have the largest selection? Is it boutique and specialized? Do you value old-fashioned personalized care with a smile? Provide the fastest turn-around time on the block?
Whatever your niche, learn how a well-defined brand architecture will help you to cultivate a following of loyal, raving fans who will return to, and refer, your business time and time again.
Schedule a free discovery session with our friendly team of educated and experienced professionals today!
*Robert de Niro, Stardust