Almost every organization wants their customers to openly advocate their brand. They want them to be gleefully sharing their products and services on social media – telling their friends that they “must buy brand XX because…”. They want them to be writing insightful blog posts and in-depth articles about why brand XX is better than all their competitors. Some even want them scribbling down stories in their journals about how brand XX helped shape their childhood.
Branding can be an arduous, soul-searching, and highly philosophical process. And although it’s a process filled with seemingly subjective decisions, we’ve noticed that companies that have a strong idea of their vision, mission, and values, tend to be able to build stronger brands.
Earlier this year, our friend Linda enlisted us with the task to develop her new consultancy’s brand from the ground-up. It was a heady task, but because she had such strongly defined vision, mission, and values (VMVs), we were able to tackle it with a very clear approach – read our full case study results here.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw Seth Godin speak at the well-known Art of Marketing event in Vancouver. During his talk, he reinforced what was said in his book: Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. The talk got me thinking about some work we did for a client last year, Vancouver Island University (to save me some time typing, I’ll refer to them as VIU from now on).
The campaign targeted the local community, and the overarching goal was to increase the overall brand equity for the University – read our VIU case study results here. After some deliberation, we pursued the idea of building a following (we didn’t call it a tribe yet) from their target demographic – students from Generation Z. However, we didn’t just focus on the general student population within that age group, we defined the values and benefits that the University provided, and gave students who were like VIU the opportunity to join the brand, not just choose it.
Below are some key facets in building a tribe for your own organization:
Why is it important to have intergenerational appeal?
There’s been a common trend of transitioning from mass to niche marketing tactics – specifically targeting age groups (just try googling “Gen Y Marketing” and witness the plethora of results). Niche marketing is a great way to bite off a larger piece of the pie when you have strong competitors in a market, but the ideal strategy for long-term growth is a little more complicated than that. You have to “niche” without segregating other demographics – you have to find a message that resonates to the core of your target demo, without alienating others. The key is having marketing with intergenerational appeal.
Here are some key benefits and points of marketing with intergenerational appeal:
We’re seeing it everywhere; brands that embody traces of our tradition and history are disappearing because they can’t seem to get the new generations engaged with them. “New” is taking over “old” and even though it isn’t anyone’s outright desire for tradition and history to disappear, they do because they haven’t figured out how to stay relevant.
If only, if only, if only we could get the right people engaged again.
Customer Service is an essential differentiator and a big part of the future of marketing. With the dominance of social platforms, the two-way conversation between brand and customer are the building blocks to long-term customer retention. Brands have fallen on both ends of the customer service spectrum, with some relying wholly on customer service to build their business, and others suffering in embarrassing public displays.
I’ve personally dealt with some great businesses that have failed on the customer service front, and ultimately lost me as a supporter and customer. Here are some examples and how brands can learn from them:
A couple of months ago, I had a great conversation about “Brand Building” with the extremely well-dressed (that’s irrelevant, but I noticed) and humble Steven Fitzgerald. 17 years ago, Steven and his partner founded Habanero Consulting Group, a provider of enterprise-level employee, customer, and member portals. It is now a multi-million dollar business with an award-winning work culture. The conversation had originally inspired me to write a post, but as I continued to talk to others about the subject, I knew I had to wait and gather all the information I had before putting something together. From these conversations, I’ve taken three tips that have stuck with me the most; I hope they’re as inspiring to you as they were to me.