10 actions that make your consumers believe in you

10-actions-that-make-your-consumer-believe-in-you-mbmi

Every business wants to transform customers into avid fans. That goal requires more than occasional effort. It takes planning, training, mission awareness and perfect execution by the brand managers.

MBMI conducted intensive studies of consumer preferences and needs during the last six months of 2013. The study was comprised of ten focus groups that interviewed 120 respondents, representing consumers of radio, television, online lifestyle media and two aspirational consumer products (high value timepieces and five-star hotels).  Respondents were evenly distributed between men and women, aged 30 to 54.

Our study revealed that consumers of aspirational products and media are closely aligned in their expectations of the companies that they describe as being trustworthy.

The interviews provided other valuable insights that we will discuss in weeks to come in this blog, but among the most useful are 10 Actions That Make Your Consumers Believe in You.

If you want your customers to feel that you will be there for them, we encourage you to strive for excellence when performing these ten actions:

Offer Exclusivity
Not surprisingly, consumers want to feel special and a part of an elite club made up of other loyally product. users The ways they suggested to create this feeling included offering your best customers inside information. The more rare that information is, the better. Branded advertising specialty items also were prized, but they must serve a useful purpose. T-shirts are out. Valet separator key rings are in. Membership in an exclusive affinity club raises the value and occasions of use of the associated product.
Make a Difference.
Whether you sell toilet paper, cars or content, your product has to play a memorable role in the   life of the consumer. Sustainability is more than a buzzword. It is a thing that matters to consumers, that sets your product on a rung above others on the product ladder. Recommendations offered to media by the study group included providing shelter for the cold, offering consumer advocates, and creating family-friendly events for young children. We also learned that packaged products that manufacture with recyclable materials are more likely to win in a tie between products of the same perceived value. In short, learn more about your consumers and respond to their lifestyles.
Explain Yourself.
Create and maintain a clear advantage over competitors when you properly convey the features, benefits and design of your product, in a way that clearly explains how a consumer benefits by its use. Early in its lifecycle, CNN carefully described how its news clock worked, where branded information appeared at fixed positions, and the subtle difference between commentary and hard news. Viewers understood the value of CNN as an “at your fingertips” utility, like electricity.
Be Dramatic in Presentation.
A diver’s watch, even if used by the consumer for fashion only, presents better when its advertising shows the watch underwater. Don’t be afraid to present dramatic visuals and stories to direct your users on how to maximize their use of your product. They want the direction and will react well to the information you offer.
Be Social.
You need more than a Facebook or a Twitter account. Listeners evaluate your product against variable criteria, so create a plan that promotes trial and peer endorsement. Share information that is, itself, share worthy. Effective social media strategy can be worth using significant resources if your effort results in positive brand perception. Most consumers have no time to have a real life relationship with your brand, so the relationships you form in social media are more important.
Share Values.
What does your brand stand for? If it is different than what your consumers stand for, it is likely that they will invoke the “Birds of a Feather” clause and flock with someone else’s product. Spend time with your consumers and get to know their values. If your product is media, teach your presenters how to demonstrate that they share the same lifestyle as your audience. Not every viewer, listener or reader will agree with all content, but there must be basic trust. Conservatives generally don’t watch MSNBC, nor do liberals declare their love for Fox News. When you stand for something, not everyone will buy into your brand, but those who share your values are more likely to do so when they know exactly what those values are.
Be Authentic.
It sounds easier than it is. Stop selling the idea that you’re good. Real leaders are recognizable without much more than the truthful descriptions of your brand, what you stand for and believe in, and how you do business. If you produce laundry detergent that doesn’t get clothes clean, there is no future claim you can make that will change a bad user experience or their negative peer analysis of your product.
Be Proactive When bad News Hits.
There is an old adage that says, “Any press is good press.” It is wrong. what consumers see and hear dramatically affects product perception. When bad news hits, it reflects on your brand.  Try to tell your side of the story in a positive light, but tell the truth. If you lie and get caught, your brand may be ruined forever. Truth sets you free. Imagine how differently things might have turned out for Tylenol had it tried to skirt the drug store tampering issues. Or, imagine how President Clinton might have avoided impeachment by telling the truth about Monica Lewinsky.
Provide Easy Access to Managers.
Nothing says shady like a manager who refuses to return your call. Worse, what if a customer, guest or audience member can’t even obtain the name of the guy at the top? Access to managers is a sign of a confident  and trustworthy company. Make sure that your senior people are easy to find online or at the front desk. If your senior managers are really too busy to listen to customer comments, thoughts and suggestions…and deal with them…offer Customer Advocates. Most product users like the idea of having access to someone within your organization who can carry the consumer message to the decision-makers. Be sure to give your advocate the power and autonomy to make things right for the consumer who perceives a problem. Always present a sense of outward calm and quiet strength. Make certain that every customer contact receives a written follow-up. Good or bad feedback, designating a representative to assuage concerns or celebrate success with users, is a powerful move that pays back real dividends in the “make customers believe in you” category.
Do What You Say You Will Do.
Unequivocally, this is the biggest step you can take to convince current customers to re-tell your story again and again.  Never underestimate the power of follow-through and standing behind your word.  Nothing builds fans faster or more reliably.

MBMI conducts studies for media, consumer products, hospitality providers and political campaigns throughout the world. This blog often shares results that apply to the success of our clients’ businesses.

We would love to hear about actions you’ve taken to build trust with your customers. Please share them on the comments below.

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