July 29, 2014

I Have Called You By Your Name And You Are Mine

A guest post from Anne Tannam, Brand Manager at Islandbridge:

Recently my youngest daughter Sian, just turned eighteen, was queuing for a drink at the Longitude Music Festival. Armed with name and photo identification, she asked for her beer of choice. The barman took her identification and studied it very carefully for what seemed like a long time. My daughter was ready to hotly defend her real age when the barman looked up at her, smiled and said 'Do you know we have a bottle of Coke here with your name on it?'

Yes, I'm Talking To You

That story, along with the empty Coke bottle proudly bearing her name, came home with Sian and it once again illustrated the power of a great brand to reach out to its customers and make them feel special. No matter what age we are or how sophisticated and grown up we become, when someone calls us by our name, we feel special, known, understood. And more likely and willing to engage with the person or company who takes the time and trouble to learn it.

Of course, with an unusual name like 'Sian' that teachers and peers have been misspelling and mispronouncing since she was very small, Sian's excitement at seeing her name right there and spelt correctly may not be a typical response but I suspect that for most of us, seeing our name boldly displayed across a bottle of Coke will at least bring a smile to our lips. And more importantly, from a marketing perspective, more likely to dig into our pockets and buy the drink.

Share The Love With....

Like all powerful brands, it's not enough to simply reach out to individuals. A great and enduring brand must also help create its own tribe, loyal and true to the brand and each other. So what Coke have done is not just put people's names on their bottles; they've created a reason for people to talk to one another, given people a reason to buy a Coke for each other. My daughter and her friends have all bought coke bottles bearing the names of siblings, parents and friends. Whatever shop they enter, they quickly scan the coke bottles to see if there is a familiar name looking out at them.

Over To You

Very few businesses have the budget to put customer's names on their products (nor does it always make business sense) but there are many other ways to build your brand and make your customers feel acknowledged and understood.

  • Have a look at the messages currently on your website. Are the messages primarily about how great and wonderful your business is or are they about the problems your customer faces and how you can help them?
  • Whether by email, phone or face to face, make sure you address your customer in a personable and genuine manner. Does your customer always get your full and undivided attention?
  • Through forums, blogs or simply a call for feedback, invite your customers to share their experiences and stories with you and each other. How easy do you make it for customers to spread the good news?
What other ways can you show your customers that you know and understand them? Please leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

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