Categories
Growth Hacking

David & Goliath at play in the world of Marketing

The might of brand ambassadors is becoming a question mark. Individual nano brand influencers are wielding a bigger power to influence consumer behaviour and buying decision.   

World class products rely more on these individual influencers & user communities around their product to create a sense of attachment with the product and thus creating “brand evangelists”. 

Think about brands like OnePlus, Jeep, PlayStation, Redbull and the age-old Harley Davidson, Apple, etc. Some of these have elevated to a cult like following. 

Splendid Product marrying Brand Evangelism – As a marketer my starting point is always the first P – Product. With a splendid product if we can add the power of brand evangelism then we can reduce or remove our dependence on lazy traditional mass media like broadcast, print and/or any other form of ATL media.

This need not always happen organically. We need to move the wheel. Reach out to individuals who are vocal and have got decent following either online or offline. Make them your users, anyhow. Make them fall in love with your product by giving them the requested novelty as well as the desired familiarity. Rinse and repeat. 

Like all good things it will take some time. Once it starts gaining momentum, you will be surprised with the outcome. Just be cautious, don’t stop the process after few initial successes because nothing happens by itself except chaos. You need to continuously nudge.

WIIFT – What’s in it for them –To create brand evangelists out of micro influencers, you need to know them well to think about their wins. If your business model allows, make them stake holders in your product offerings. Tweaking the product to embrace them is also a risk worth taking.

One of the most pervasive approaches is to make them affiliates of your products and thus, attach a monetary incentive to their bragging of your product.

Prime these individuals with your product’s unique-bragworthy-proposition (UBP), so that it’s at the top of their minds when they wish to talk about you in their social circles.

Where to get them? – If your product has a strong UBP the early adopters will appreciate it. Customer feedback emails, reviews & ratings on your website and playstore listings and social mentions. You can get them anywhere. Talk to them. Let them know how much you appreciate having them onboard.

You need to get more than a “good work” pat on the back from them.

Softly ask for a small favor like recording a video testimonial using their mobile cam. Or, to tweet a “good work” post tagging your brand handle. Or, post a testimonial on industry level discovery platforms like Airbnb, Zomato and so on. You can pick one platform at a time and blast it. Then move to the next one. However, never completely ignore things which you’ve started and which are still juicy.

Happiness is contagious. It can spread from your employees to your customers – Happy employees can bring in happy customers who would love to brag about their experiences with your people. Who wins in the process? – Everyone.

Employees feel good when they can create those “happy moments” which customers can take back with them. Employees need to be trained by establishing an emotion which they will experience on generating those wow moments for customers.

Customers will be happy which is the bottom line of this whole thought process. If we fail here, we fail everywhere.

Conclusion- The combined strength of many nano social influencers can exceed any advertisement campaign when a brand wish to gain loyal committed customer base. However, starting point of any sustainable marketing ideology is a great product. Followed by customers who’re nudged to talk about the product in their social circle. To further accentuate the process social media influencers in your domain can be converted in to your customers through sustained dialogues and incentives. Don’t forget that if your employees are happy, attached and trained, they can generate lot of happy customers and thus powerful nano brand evangelists. This culture if ingrained properly can lead to exponential top of the funnel growth.

Categories
Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are Customer Obsessed Healers!

Entrepreneurship has always had a unique sheen around it. The late CK Prahlad while delivering a lecture just before he passed away said that,

“entrepreneurs are the new freedom fighters and can lift India out of the shackles of poverty.”

Glamorize them or demonize them you can’t ignore them. 

Entrepreneurship is a huge subject and has always been close to my heart. Putting down my thoughts on one of the many aspects of entrepreneurship-

HEALING A PAIN 

Entrepreneurship is a different take on an existing problem w.r.t. an audience you’re targeting.

Asking questions no one else is asking (inventors). Answering questions, asked earlier, in a different way (improvisers).

Being focused on some specific pain of your audience which you’re trying to solve. Identifying more related pain points and healing them. 

Thus being obsessed with customers and not competitors. If you’re customer obsessed you’ll do all you can do solve their pain.

You might have to create multiple products for that. Multiple teams. Multiple location. Multiple business models.

You’re not directed by what your competitors are doing, you’re just directed by what you think your customers value and are willing to pay a price. Continuously trying to understand what users need through feedback (data) and anecdotes (active listening). Groom people and build processes for active listening. This will be the feeder for continuous product enhancement and better UX.

At times, your customer will not know what she wants. She might never has been exposed to the possibility of certain way of life, product or service. In that case, you need to create the demand (blue ocean). You need to have a strong intuition (and guts to fail) in guesstimating what she will fall for. Create that channel or product or service or way of life for them.

Pickup a pain, heal all the pain points, in all possible ways.

While you’re growing, it becomes inevitable to build an organization wide culture (most important part of any organization, more on that some other day) of customer obsession and quick decision making. You need to grow fast but continue being nimble. 

Caution – All I’ve said above is not what happens by default. When we’re small we get too overwhelmed with execution and we lose real touch with customers.

Generally, people in organization who’re made responsible for taking care of customers, replace the real listening with proxies (like ratings, reviews, no complaints, etc.). These proxies have become the matrices to care for.

It’s not their fault. They are generally scared of sharing anything uncomfortable with the people they are reporting to or the founder / entrepreneur.

They are blamed first for the poor feedback, not the product, not the system. Moreover, there is this natural human tendency to defend what is created by oneself. One can’t just simply accept that there can be shortcomings in one’s creation.

Alternatively, what was good yesterday, might not be so good today and possibly become ugly if not updated, upgraded today. Hence, encourage people in frontline (marketing, sales & support, I call them fighters) to be fearless when narrating customer stories inside your organization. Both negative and positive. I strongly believe, an entrepreneur can become a hurdle to the growth, if he doesn’t grow faster than the organization itself.

In fact, power of stories should be used effectively to build a customer culture. To connect people inside (employees) with people outside (customers), you need strong underlying emotions. Nothing works better than stories of customer delight shared by people, with others within the organization. Stories stays in mind and they get spread. Thus, these stories help in spreading customer obsession to all departments.