Imagine you are walking down the street and see a group of people trying to get volunteers for a taste testing. In the cups before them they have two identical-looking colas. They ask you to try both cups and pick which one you prefer. You will then need to try and identify which is Coke and which is Pepsi.
Do you think you would be able to tell the difference? Do you think you would actually pick the flavor you usually drink (in other words, if you usually drink Coke, would you actually select that one as your favorite)?
Shockingly, many people don’t. A number of different experiments have shown that many people are unable to correctly identify which cola is which. Even more surprisingly, in double blind taste tests, Pepsi often wins. It was this phenomenon that led to Pepsi steadily encroaching upon Coca-Cola’s lead in the market in the 1970s and 1980s. In an effort to win back customers, Coca-Cola introduced the debacle that was New Coke. The new formula was quickly rejected by consumers, and the company worked to gain back the trust of their loyal customers.
Coca-Cola managed to transition out of their problematic campaign and back to their original formula, but this left them in an interesting position. They still used the original formula, which customers said they wanted, but this formula was the one that often lost to Pepsi in taste tests. In the twenty years since this fiasco, Coca-Cola still manages to lead the market and has been holding steady.
According to what many people view as the unwritten rules of marketing, this should not be happening. Coke has two major points working against it.
Coke’s formula is often deemed inferior by the consumer base in taste tests.
The company completely alienated much of its loyal consumer base when it introduced New Coke without adequate market research.
Yet somehow Coca-Cola remains ahead.
Understanding why this happened and what companies today can learn from it can help you revolutionize your advertising campaigns.
Coca-Cola’s advertising works to develop a certain mentality in us. When we see the brand’s familiar script logo, we connect to the company’s rich history. We see small children walking up to drugstore counters to buy a Coke. We also connect with the company’s familiar advertising icons (its polar bears, for example) that are often featured in various advertising campaigns. Of course, Coca-Cola’s friendship ads help us feel connected to other Coke drinkers around the globe, as well.
The key here is the brand. Coca-Cola is now an iconic brand. It has become such a staple in our culture that in some regions, the word ‘Coke’ is used to mean any soft drink.
So what are you doing to develop your brand? Creating and maintaining a strong brand should be at the center of all your marketing. Customers make decisions based on the subconscious associations they develop between a company’s brand and its intangibles, including its quality, reliability, and history. Successful marketing helps to encourage positive associations in consumers’ minds.
Thinking about the entire customer experience
Taste tests often show that Pepsi is the preferred brand, especially considering it is slightly sweeter. While this might be better for short-term tastes, many people drink soft drinks in vast quantities. They don’t just drink a sip or two. They drink large bottles. Given the entire customer experience, it’s easier to see why the slightly sweeter brand seems to be less preferred in the long run.
Branding and considering the entire customer experience have both had an enormous impact on Coca-Cola’s ability to hold onto its lead over Pepsi, despite taste tests and marketing troubles. When you keep these criteria in mind for your company, you’ll also be able to boost your success. So grab a soft drink, sit down, and work with us to begin determining how you can better market your company. 410-574-0780.
Baseball has been an important part of our cultural fabric for more than a century. It makes sense, therefore, that baseball has many lessons it can teach us about managing a business. One of those lessons has to do with managing reputations.
Over the years, baseball has survived scandals and strikes that could have easily crippled it: the 1919 Chicago White Sox throwing the World Series; the strike-shortened 1994 season, when there was no World Series at all; the steroid scandals of more recent times. While the sport hasn’t escaped completely unscathed, it does remain a popular pastime for many who enjoy playing and watching it throughout the summer and fall.
Fortunately, most of us will never have to deal with issues as powerful as those that have hit baseball throughout its history. Even so, managing a company reputation in the digital area can be a very tough responsibility.
Customers can spread information, positive and negative, about your company instantaneously. While it might seem tempting to just bury your head in the sand and hope such criticism goes away, you can’t afford to just ignore what is said about you online. Fortunately, the lessons from baseball tell us that people generally tend to overlook occasional slip-ups or poor experiences if the overall impression of the company is one of value.
The primary step in relationship management should always be to offer customers outstanding value and products. Here are three additional steps you can take to build and maintain an overall positive reputation.
Just as baseball has discovered over its long and storied history, managing a reputation can be a difficult proposition. But doing so is essential to the continued growth and viability of any organization. Reputation affects marketing success and whether or not people are interested in what you have to sell.
Fortunately, reputation is not always cut and dried. People are often willing to overlook particular problems in favor of value and an overall positive experience. Following the above advice should make it easy for your company to do just that.
The language you use in your marketing materials has more of an effect than you may realize. In fact, something as simple as your choice of pronouns can end up having an influence on your potential customers and the likelihood of them purchasing your products.
The value of the first person
In general, customers respond better to marketing materials, especially websites, that use the first person. This might include buttons that say “create my account” instead of “open an account,” or “start my free trial” instead of “start your free trial.” Making this simple transition can provide a noticeable jump in conversion rates and higher click-throughs. Potential customers will spend more time on your website, learning about your company and what you have to offer. Even if they don’t buy during their initial visit, they’ll begin to feel familiar and connected with your brand, and therefore more likely to return to you when they are ready to buy.
Why do first person pronouns matter?
It all comes down to the power of psychology. Using first person pronouns helps potential customers feel as though they already “belong” — that your company truly cares. That’s something many companies struggle with when trying to reach customers online. It’s much easier to develop close relationships when interacting with customers in person. However, switching to first-person pronouns on your website can help to produce this same kind of connection with customers whose only interactions with your brand take place online.
Making the switch
Effectively incorporating first person pronouns as a part of your call to action must be paired with quality marketing materials. You cannot simply switch your pronouns and expect to see a change if your copy still requires a considerable amount of work. Focus first on developing quality advertising, whether on your website, in social media, or on a traditional advertising platform. Once you have the ad itself set, rather than wrap up your message with a standard call to action, make the switch to the first person and prepare to be amazed at the influence such a simple change can have.
Developing a quality call to action can play an important part in finding new customers and encouraging those who see the advertisements to convert. Incorporating first-person pronouns in that call to action can have a profound effect on your bottom line. If you’re interested in learning more about these different advertising techniques, give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you get started growing and finding new customers.
Situation- You tell Verizon Wireless that you were billed over 525 dollars for data download that you didn’t order and didn’t want from Orange in France. Verizon Wireless tells you how sorry they are and they will back date your bill and fix your problem. They tell you this for weeks and then stick you with the bill anyway. They give you $10 off. There is no way to appeal, no way to change it.
To a computer, yes, the roaming charges are accurate.
But I thought Verizon Wireless customer service was staffed by people serving customers.
I explained to the customer service person on July 20 what happened.
I traveled to France with my family on vacation. I called Verizon before I left to make sure that the 4 phones we were traveling with could make phone calls and messaging. I told them we did not need internet.
After taking pictures on my smart phone I wanted to download the pictures to my laptop. I was hooked up to a local hub for internet for both. I accidentally turned on hotspot tether on my phone which proceeded to send 26GB of email to my laptop before I could stop it. This happened in about 2 minutes. I heard my phone beeping and later realized that those were text messages telling me about download thresholds. The customer service person told me they could back date my bill and increase my plan for the month so i would not incure a 525 bill! I really don’t care about your explanation, I want somebody at Verizon Wireless to reduce my bill on this. $120 discount over the course of a year doesn’t approach the hassle and time this has cost me.
If this can’t be resolved in the next 5 days in a prompt manner I will take this to people that can change this.
I will be contacting the Attorney General of Maryland and my congressman. This is not fair the way I am being treated as a customer.
Shakespeare was a master playwright who continues to entertain audiences centuries after his death. His mastery of the written word has been admired by people throughout the generations and around the world. While he may have never imagined anything like the Internet or modern marketing, there are still a number of lessons Shakespeare can teach us as we set out to master our own marketing techniques.
Becoming a master of words
Words are a major part of any marketing campaign. We all use words to reach our customers, to develop content that will interest them, and to explain why our products and services are superior. Shakespeare teaches us about the power words can have when they’re carefully thought out and used appropriately. People still enjoy reading and watching his plays hundreds of years after they were first performed. That’s because Shakespeare was a master at putting words together so they communicated the point to the audience and engaged them in the content.
Creating plots people can relate to and want to read
Shakespeare wrote for an audience that lived hundreds of years ago. Their life experiences were vastly different than our own. Yet, somehow Shakespeare’s writing appeals to us as much as it appealed to the people of his day. That’s because Shakespeare developed plots that people could relate to on the most intimate levels. His writings involved timeless themes, such as love and jealousy, which are still alive today. Shakespeare completely understood his audience and was able to use the difficulties people face to attract audiences, engage them, and convince them that he sympathized. By building this relationship with the audience, Shakespeare was able to build a loyal following to his brand.
We, too, must answer these same challenge from our own audiences (customers) today. Consumers want to know that companies understand and address their struggles. This helps to build the critical relationship that leads to customer loyalty and improved brand awareness.
Using multiple resources to develop content
No one develops their content in a vacuum. It’s estimated that of Shakespeare’s many plays, only a couple were actually completely original and developed by Shakespeare himself. This means he was frequently drawing inspiration and ideas from other sources of content. He would use these sources of inspiration to help get his own creative juices flowing. He would develop and embellish on the plots, characters, and themes until the works were completely his own, but still had parts that were drawn from other classics.
As content creators and marketers, we must also be willing to draw upon the experience and expertise of others. The marketing world continues to change, and we must all stay on top of the new methods if we want to remain competitive.
Looking at the successful work of others to draw inspiration can offer help with building our own content, too. As we read and see what others do in their marketing campaigns, we gain a better understanding of what we want to write and discuss with potential customers. Content development has become an increasingly important part of marketing. Listening and reading what others have to say can help any marketer start to develop their own voice, the same way Shakespeare found inspiration for his writing.
When you set out to develop your marketing campaign, you’ll likely spend a considerable amount of time reading modern marketing experts and trying to incorporate their wisdom into your own campaign. While these modern marketers will certainly impart a lot of wisdom, don’t discount what the wordsmiths of the past, like Shakespeare, can teach you as well. If you’re ready to jumpstart your marketing campaign, give us a call today. 410-574-0780
Most industries today are teeming with competitors, each offering a slightly different take on their products and services. In this environment, it can be difficult to imagine how you’ll ever make your products, services, and company stand out against the chaos. It is, however, possible.
Construct your advertising wisely
Customers see thousands of ads every day in just about every aspect of their lives. Whether browsing online, commuting, watching TV, or listening to the radio, customers find companies vying for their attention all the time. In this environment, it’s easy to see how customers get in the habit of just tuning out all the noise. To be successful, you must find ways to overcome that tendency. So how do you do it?
Tell customers what makes you different
We’ve all heard how important it is to find a niche within your industry and use what makes you unique to appeal to customers, but you should also take this a step further. Identify what makes you different. That might be where your products are made (made in the USA?), how they are made (fair trade? natural preservatives?), or how they can help customers solve a problem in their lives (increase sales?). Use that difference as a key point in your advertising.
Get out in the community
Companies that get out and involved in their communities will find their brand recognition soar, with sales following closely behind. There are numerous ways you can get involved in your community. You might sponsor a local kids’ sports team, a local charity run, or some similar event. You could set up a table at the yearly town picnic or sponsor a float in the town’s Memorial Day parade. All of these techniques will help you raise awareness within your community and show how much you care about the people you serve. The result: a better reputation and more chances to develop relationships with potential customers.
Your company might be competing within an oversaturated industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to be just another face in the crowd. Use the suggestions outlined above to get started building your own brand recognition and reputation. If you’re ready to get started with a new marketing campaign, give us a call or drop us an email today. We’d be happy to help you reach more customers. 410-574-0780