Friday, September 11, 2009

Branding To Lead Customer Behavior

I have attended the customer behavior class of SUNY Oswego as a student in 2004, which was held by Ashraf Attia. I usually refer to this experience as one of the most important one, which led me to work in the customer relationship management field. I deeply believe that companies aren't focused enough to both the decision making process and behavior of shoppers.

But what really matters in marketing is to influence customer behavior. “Successful brands are collaborating internally—cross-departmentally—with customers to create tangible behaviors that ultimately prompt purchase.”

Branding evolved in that way. Brands must not provide an image of what the product or service should inspire, but about the experience the customer will get.

A New Premise
The definition of branding is seldom agreed upon, yet “brand equity” is considered a measure of success. As a result, brand-focused marketing pros often feel misunderstood. Smart, capable operational executives can’t accept that the ultimate value of brands cannot be measured like every other function of the business.

The opportunity now is to redefine brands in terms that marketers and operational executives alike can embrace. That emergent definition is to base brands on the objectively measurable, real-time aggregation of everything marketers and their customers do together. That’s different from the old-school definition of focusing on awareness and influencing how customers feel.

Experts like author Jonathan Salem Baskin say branding is evolving away from artsy strategies that create “mental states” toward a behavior-based science. It’s all about creating measurable, valuable experiences.

Think of campaigns that prompt customer behavior—like when T-Mobile launched its myFaves campaign in 2007. The company prompted customers to call their top five numbers for free. It also prompted customers to think about who those five people were in their lives. It made people do something. Contrast this example with Verizon’s “It’s the network” campaign (which doesn’t prompt customers).

Baskin is steeped in brand advertising (Nissan, Limited Brands) yet questions the central tenants of traditional practices. He recently spoke on the subject at the Direct Marketing Association’s Leaders’ Forum and authored the book “Branding Only Works on Cattle.”

Now branding is important. This is the image which will vehicle the company. It should be managed properly. It remains difficult to scale the power of a brand objectively. But what is sure, it is that without brands, it would be hard to get into the mass market.

Now new tools could be used to measure your branding effort. The idea of branding score is common. But this new approach is great. Speaking about customer experience, branding has a great role to play in it.

Customer relationship management encompass branding, as the brands and what it vehicles is a vital part of the relationship between a customer and the company.

I really like this article
, because it gives an other picture of how a brand should be conceived and managed.