Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who is building your BRAND?

Customer Experience is EXTREMELY important in the times of Social Media.
Last week we celebrated our marriage anniversary. My wife had read an article in the newspaper about one restaurant known for mouth watering food , visits of celebrities there and all new varieties of food.
Plan was finalized.
Just on the day I was looking to get clue of the location on the internet and that provoked me to just check the review of the restaurant.
& to my shock and surprise, most reviews were against the restaurant. Not only food quality reviewed by the customers was pathetic even hygiene was not up to the mark , few customers stated.
Rather than me telling my wife, I ask her to read reviews. Her mind changed immediately and our plan also changed for the day. May be we were saved from pathetic experience on the important day.
Point is:
- Companies MUST focus on creating better experience and then leave it to the customers to spread the word. Yes companies can play a role in facilitation in that.
- Paid media , paid/unpaid reviews or high claim advertisement will not work.
- Create awareness about the brand and let customers speak .
Generation NOW is highly connected with the help of Mobile Internet. Words spread fast, faster than one can imagine. Traditional advertising and marketing models and mindset will quickly give way to CUSTOMER Speak.
Role of Brand building has moved from creative AD agencies to CEO , Customer Experience Designers & Social Media Champions.
Customer experience is the end result of everything organisation does. No one can hide in the name of BACK OFFICE. Every action in the organisation impacts customer experience.
We all r on alert mode in experience economy. SO CALLED adverting agencies and brand champions  will find it difficult to get the desired results. ROI of such initiatives will diminish , diminish quickly.
Who is building your brand? Your Customers or Ad Agencies/Paid Media ?

We the (reactive) People:

We the (reactive) People: 
1) Cigarette Smoking  is Injurious to health & can cause Cancer.
2) Going to Gym and doing Exercise is good and must for Fitness, else disease and medicine dependent life 
3) Right eating is important for healthy life , else obesity , dependency, diseases 
4) Customer Experience is the sustainable competitive advantage else low margin, redundant business , possibility to go out of business  
Two things r common in all the above 4 statements.
First – Everyone know this.   Second - Hardly many takes action to get the benefits of the knowledge
Why:  Why we don’t ACT even if we know what is right and dangers of doing wrong ? 
Love for Status-Quo & Procrastination. Unless we forced to ACT even when the action is for the survival, we don’t ACT. All of us like to Re-Act to the situation. Most do not like to Pro-Act.
When we are diagnosed with cancer , we leave cigarette immediately.
When we are diagnosed with some diseases or become obsess we go to gym and eat right food.
When we are about to go out of business , all options are over , margins are shrinking , competitor/innovation has taken over our market share – we react and focus of better customer experience creation.
Stephen Covey of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People will tell you that the very first habit is to be proactive. Covey explained that to be proactive “means more than merely taking initiative.  It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.  Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.”
Be it business or personal level, we refuse to be PROACTIVE. Circumstances will force us to ACT.
Customer Experience is the most important thing every business CEOs and Entrepreneurs agrees/understands but where is the FORCE? Where is the compulsion ? Waiting for PRO to turn RE, is too costly , yes very costly and sometime FATAL.
Diagnosis Test for Status of Customer Experience : 
- Our company has customer experience statement
- Our business Process Team work Closely with Customer Experience Team
- Our advertising/marketing messages matches with experience our product/service offers to our customers. We make it sure.
-  Our people know the impact they create on the customer experience
- Our top management participates in customer issues/complaints/initiatives
- Our distribution channels are trained on company’s customer policy
- We measure customer experience our company creates.
If  answer to the most of the above statements are NO,  your company is already suffering Customer Experience leakages &  call for action is loud and clear.

Do you think your company is proactive in the matter of customer experience initiatives?

Brand Communication Vs Brand Execution

Mr. Narendra Modi is a very good Marketer. He is marketing his state so vigorously, that perhaps no other CM can match his passion and vigor. No two views here.  Opposition also agrees and says so.
Issue is what about SUBSTANCE ? Whether successful marketing is possible without matching investment in product and service ?
Marketing that follows good product and service development will only succeed. Howsoever aggressive marketing may be , it will fail miserably if the product and service being marketed is lousy. Therefore good marketing can not make lousy product successful. At the same time bad marketing can fail good products.
Bottom line is both product and marketing has to be excellent. Product can fail without the smart marketing but smart marketing have to  fail  without smart products/services.
“I rather die of bad marketing than a bad product!”
Most companies are smart marketer but not enough is done to make product or service smart that can give wow !!! customer experience.  Examples of product and service failure due to weak marketing is rare whereas example of failure of smart marketing campaigns due to weak product and service is more often.
Modi is smart marketer but that is because he was substance to offer to the voters. He cant be a successful marketer unless he has invested in his offings to the voters. Most political parties are just good campaigners but nothing to be shown on ground  That is a problem and that is the difference.
Bollywood is the best example where companies have become smart marketeer without investing  adequate in product.
So next time when you are deciding on marketing campaign just re check whether your product and services deserve this kind of marketing &  if the answer is NO , invest and work more on product and services than marketing communication. Make brand promise you wish to communicate through marketing campaign actually executable while using your offerings.
Does your product LIVE your brand promise  marketed by your marketer ??

Friday, December 7, 2012

Are you a SHAKER or Looking for One ??

Unless you shake up the bottle, you will get diluted version of the medicine. Unless you share up the institutions /companies, you get diluted performance. 

Therefore shaking up MUST be a part of regular activity if medicine or institutions have to perform at its finest potential. 

Our Institutions and companies for that matter perform below the potential merely due to non shaking up regularly. Mr Arvind Kejriwal & Team Anna have shaken up our democracy. People are now more forthcoming , speaking up and participating in democratic process and issues concerning them. 

Even at companies new CEO can bring life if he is enthusiastic and have capability to see things in different light. Status-Quo is the biggest challenge everywhere. Status Quo is nothing but unshaken condition. 

Look at the leaders who shook up the things. 

Public Life: 

Arvind Kejriwal , Narendra Modi , Nitish Kumar , Rajiv Gandhi , TN Seshan, CAG Vinod Rai , Manmohan Singh of 1991 , Ex BMC Commissioner Subodh Kumar........


Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy (IT), Kishor Biyani (Retail), Dhirubhai Ambani 
(Capital Market and Business)...... 

There are many institutions and companies that are looking for someone who really can shake them up and enable them to realise and/or  regain its true potential. 

Shekhar Suman Show Movers and Shakers might have lived its life, but we need Movers/Shakers everywhere, or else we all r likely to go sleep. 

Are you a Shaker or waiting for one?  

To become Shaker: 

- Ask Why as often 

- Ask Why Not more often

- Challenge Established Practice for betterment (better Speed, lower cost, higher reach, more revenue, happier people )

- Change Responsibility in Organisation

- Re-imagine world around You (every year). Execute what you can influence.

Name some of the Movers & Shakers known to you? How they Shook the world around them.