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Why Strong Customer Relationships Trump Powerful Brands

In the past, the brand value may have been considered the most important asset in business. With the shift to digital marketing and increasing use of more personalized communication, the brand itself can now be considered less important than customer relationships.

Covid 19 has entirely changed the media landscape, allocation of marketing budgets, campaign creation and content, and media planning and consumer expectations. Marketing strategy has shifted from traditional mass media “one-size-fits-all” towards more personalization and customer interactions to build stronger human connections to their brands.

A strong brand identity was once vital to appeal to anonymous customers that the company had no relationship with. It is now more important to know customers individually and tailor your approach to each individual.

Branding is still important, but it has lost its overwhelming dominance in marketing. Once a relationship is developed with a customer, it becomes easier to sell additional products to them. According to findings by Adobe, the top 10% of your loyal customers spend three times as much as your typical customer, while the top 1% spend as much as five times more. Creating this individualized approach is more challenging than mass media marketing, but it will ensure that your customer base will continue to grow.

Richard Branson  to fly aboard Virgin Galactic
Source: Reuters

Company Brand vs Personal Brand=

In the past, most brands were completely “faceless.” If we think of famous brands such as Dove, Chanel, Adidas, we realize that we actually know nothing about the faces behind these brands. Nowadays, it can be argued that the “personality” and the “face” behind the brand are essential. 

A personalized brand means that the world gets a glimpse of who the founder of a company is, even outside of their work life. Social media has brought down boundaries, and it is now easy to peer into each other’s private lives. By building a personal brand rather than a business brand, you assure the customer that your brand can be trusted. This is an essential component of healthy customer relationships. 

In a world where we constantly hear about scandals in politics and big business, opening up about who you are as a person and sharing your story will make you more authentic, and customers will find it easier to trust your brand. This will enable you to build a huge “customer credit score.”

The well-known actress, Jessica Alba, created The Honest Company because she wanted to create products that she felt were missing from the organic market. She shared her passion and her story on several social media platforms, convincing customers that she has their best interest at heart. This “tactic” completely circumnavigated traditional advertising and created the impression of a founder who cares.  

A visionary in personal branding is Richard Branson. His playful and fun personal brand has helped the Virgin name extend over 200 companies.

Some of the successful Virgin brands are:

1. Virgin Atlantic (airlines)
2. Virgin Mobile (telecommunications)
3. Virgin Music (media)
4. Virgin Money (finance)
5. Virgin Galactic (space travel)

Richard Branson is seen as a champion for innovation and disruption.

Why Customer Relationships are so Important 

Delivering a top-notch product or service just isn’t enough anymore. In a crowded marketplace, the relationships you build with customers are vital when growing a business. Building customer relationships helps to increase sales and result in invaluable marketing.

Customers want to feel that they are being seen as more than just an avenue to profits. It is essential to view them as individuals and to treat interactions with customers like long-term relationships rather than merely seeking short-term gains. As a result, loyalty and customer retention marketing budgets are predicted to increase by 30% this year.

A focus on building customer loyalty may initially be more costly and time-consuming but will lead to sustained success and growth of your business. A business relationship can be compared to a romantic relationship. If you manage to win someone over but then start neglecting them, it’s inevitable that the relationship will come to a swift end. 

How to Build Relationships with Customers

Every time you, or a representative of your company, interacts with a customer, they are sending out a message. The messages you send out should be clear and consistent, right across the board. Whether you are speaking to a customer via phone, email, or post, consistency is essential. 

Building good relationships requires time and effort. Ensuring that you communicate well and frequently is vital for building good customer relationships. Make sure that you regularly post on your social media channels and answer all emails and queries promptly. Keep the lines of communication open, and let people know that you are available. This is essential for maintaining trust. 

Once somebody has become your customer, you can request reviews or find ways to keep them engaged. Somebody who has already purchased your product or service will offer unique insights and give you valuable feedback. 

You can offer your customers loyalty rewards. If you treat them well, not only will they be more likely to buy from you again, they will also be your advocate and tell others about your business. You can offer affiliate schemes, surprise gifts, or thank you letters as a way to keep people engaged and show appreciation. 

Dealing with Negative Customers

Sometimes relationships turn sour. It could be the fault of the business, but sometimes it might just be sheer bad luck or be a case of a difficult customer. No matter the cause, it is essential to listen to any complaints with an empathetic ear. If you don’t want them to search find buy from a competitor, then don’t let them feel disregarded.  

Getting so-called “negative” feedback from customers can be beneficial at times. They may point out things you weren’t aware of or provide an opportunity for improvement. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, retaining customers is 5-25 times cheaper than acquiring new customers. If you can find a way to “wow” a dissatisfied customer, they may become a loyal and long-standing supporter of your brand. Go out of your way to make them feel listened to, and try to find a way to exceed their expectations. 

Maintaining Relationships

To keep customers engaged with your company in the long run, you need to keep communicating. Check in to ensure that a product or service was received and is working well. Respond to feedback and ask customers to complete surveys and post regular updates on your social media channels. Most importantly, take an interest in your customers as individuals. 

Remember that word-of-mouth referrals are one of the best ways to grow a small business. Going that extra mile when it comes to customer relationships will ensure the success of your business. 

In Summary

The digital revolution has forever changed how businesses grow. Where branding was all-important in the past, it is now much more important to show and add a personal touch. Building trust requires “showing your face,” good communication, and treating customers like more than mere “profit generators.”