GITOMER: Dominant brand or bland brand?
Friday, October 19, 2012 7:00 AM
What’s the difference between you and all of your competition?
Are you different from your competition, or do you just THINK you are? Are you different from your competition, or do you just tell customers and prospects you are?
Or are you different from your competition, and others CLEARLY perceive you as both different and better?
REALITY: It’s not what you think or believe; it’s what your customers do and say.
Your reputation is a reality check of where you actually are versus where you think you are:
• What’s your customer reputation? Not a satisfaction survey. A face-to-face talk. Not a phone interview. A face-to-face talk where you ask 100 of your customers what they really think of you, and why they buy.
• What’s your social reputation? As posted on your business Facebook page by your customers, or as recommended by customers on their social media accounts?
• What’s your industry reputation? How do both leaders and vendors perceive you in your industry?
• What’s your community reputation? If you had a town hall meeting of the community, what would they say about you?
Here are more painful “reputation” questions about your company and your products:
• What are you doing to build it?
• What are you doing to innovate it?
• What are you doing to change or enhance your customers’ experience?
Apple is the classic example of a brand with products that back it up. Its competitors are “me too,” and often mention Apple in their ads. If you brag that you’re “just like Apple,” personally I want Apple. The experience I have in Apple stores is in perfect harmony with the brand they’re portraying.
In the computer industry, the smartphone industry, the tablet industry and the music player industry, everyone has to start with some sort of comparison to Apple: just like, better than, cheaper than. Only Apple stands alone not comparing itself to other companies unless it’s a joke. It doesn’t have to talk about its competition – Apple is the innovator. And it does it at its price.
HARD QUESTION: Are you comparing your products to the competition, or differentiating yourself from the competition?
Here are 5.5 interviews you need to do to get the truth from people who are willing to give it to you. In order to get better tomorrow, you gotta know where you are today.
1. Interview customers who love you. They’ll tell you the good stuff.
2. Interview customers who left you. They’ll tell you why, and how to improve.
3. Interview customers who said no to you. They’ll tell you why they chose someone else.
4. Interview loyal employees. They’ll tell you why they love you.
5. Interview departed employees. They’ll tell you why they left you.
5.5 Interview industry leaders. They’ll give you the big picture you may not be able to see.
CAUTION: Leave PR, marketing, and advertising out of the equation, or you may NEVER get to the truth. My recommendation is hire an outside branding company.
After your interviews, here’s what to do:
• Be realistic as to outside opinions, and how you can create improvement.
• Create internal excitement about innovation and new ideas.
• Give people paid days off just to think and create.
• Create a sense of self-pride in your people by listening to their thoughts and ideas.
• Praise and implement new ideas.
RESULT: A new, market-dominant, more profitable you.
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