In February of this year the Harvard Business Review Blog Network published an article penned by Joe McCambley entitled Stop Selling Ads and Do Something Useful. The article focused on how brands need to create experiences for customers rather than creating ads.
In the days of Don Draper, he and his Mad Men were creating billboard, newspaper, magazine, radio and TV ads - this one-to-many methodology was widely accepted. It was the standard in its day and the public ate it up.
The idea of broadcasting and handing down a campaign with a catchy slogan was easy. There were but a handful of channels and audiences revered the words of broadcasters. There was very little competition in the marketplace, single companies owned complete market segments.
If you wanted to build a brand you hired a Madison Avenue firm and they created a campaign and formatted for each media type. Big splashy graphics for billboards, unforgettable slogans and characters for TV and crisp concise messages for printed publications.
Today things are different, and although times may have changed – many companies, as well as agencies are still hammering out the same old drivel … So how do companies make the transformation? How do they shift gears and reinvent themselves?
What methodology do they use to separate themselves from the pack? At this year’s International CES in Las Vegas, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff said that manufacturing is a commodity and brands now have to differentiate themselves with customer experience. They need to stop selling, and start helping customers, by providing value to consumers.
At mize we wholeheartedly agree with this position and are creating smarter customer engagement capabilities for brands, retailers and service providers to help consumers at every stage of the cycle.
Companies can utilize our Smart Channel to connect with our consumer community, or may choose a customized solution using our Smart Blox portfolio of configurable services. Despite the methodology used, the mize system of engagement provides a firsthand relationship with customers and potentials.
Our soon to be released My Products app provides consumers ways to track and manage all the products they want and own. They can share these items to get advice, ratings and recommendations from their friends and social networks. Users can share ratings and provide feedback with both brands and consumers.
This mobile product community is completely free of advertising and provides real value to consumers. We help consumers with product registration, retain and track warranty information, and develop a closer relationship with brands and friends who can assist them with the products they depend on.
Companies that are differentiating themselves from the competition are doing so in unique ways, Warby Parker, the rapidly rising eyeglass emporium has cut out the middleman and offers products that are premium and affordable. The firm will send you up to 5 pairs of glasses to try on at home for 5 days free; they'll even include a pre-paid return shipping label to send them back with no obligation to buy.
But when you do buy a pair, like Tom’s shoes, Warby Parker will give a pair to a person in an emerging market country who needs but cannot afford glasses. This provides customers with a good feeling about themselves, leading to positive brand advocacy not to mention good karma.
Henderson, Nevada based Zappos is another company using a different methodology to stand out in a crowd. In February of this year the world’s largest online shoe store announced their continued commitment to the Adopt A Highway program.
Currently in its ninth year Zappos has turned billboard advertising on its head, and has committed to cleaning up the highways and byways of Nevada.
Zappos still gets signs along the highway with their name on it, but it’s seen as a positive action by the company – not just another slogan-based advertising come on.
These are just a few of the companies that are taking new steps, creating unique customer experiences and positioning themselves as contemporary companies that not only care about sales and their customers but also in the earth’s population as a whole. It’s a larger vision, it’s a grander gesture and it’s a great way to separate your offering from the rest.
If you're interested in mize smarter customer engagement solutions and would like further information please feel free to contact us. You may also be interested in our recently published Whitepaper and subsequent Webinar entitled "Drive Revenue and Loyalty by Engaging Mobile and Social Consumers.