Nine Timeless Nuggets is a knowledge accelerator for young marketers and an absorbing update for experienced ones. Arranged in three sections-‘How to Think of People’, ‘How to Craft Your Brand’ and ‘How to Go to Market’-the book casts new light on eternal marketing fundamentals and makes us rethink some basic questions.
In the book, Bharat Bambawale proposes new models for customer motivation, customer relationship and twenty-first-century brand building. Together, these models can provide a strong foundation to any brand’s marketing strategy. Here’s a short excerpt from the book on the importance of brand communication for businesses.
Many Indian brands focus communication on a single aspect, or at best on a few aspects related to a central concern: acquiring customers. A reason for this is that companies are split into departments. Marketing’s job is often only to bring customers through the door; meeting their needs might fall into the hands of operations, managing their complaints in the hands of customer service and so on. Each department will have a head and its own people, as well as its own objectives and performance measures, and thus silos are created. While everyone is working for the success of the brand and company, common measurements of customer satisfaction elude the team, and with it a comprehensive communication plan across the entire customer journey.
Any customer-brand relationship journey has four elements: discovery, companionship, exclusivity and belonging. During discovery, a customer is finding out about you, a brand she doesn’t know or knows only a little. She might be exploring a curiosity about a new category, one she hasn’t participated in before, through you. In companionship, a customer is spending time with your brand as she expands her research, but she is also spending time with other brands. She is making comparisons, asking for advice and looking at reviews by previous users. In exclusivity, she is making a choice in favour of your brand. This might seem like a moment of triumph for the brand, a completion of the acquisition, but in actual fact this is where the hard work begins. Because when a customer chooses your brand, she lays all her expectations from the category at your brand’s door. Your onboarding has to be great, as well as your subsequent actions. Most important, your brand must now meet pretty much all her expectations from the category, even those that might not be among the strengths of your brand. Finally there’s belonging, where the customer is so happy and fulfilled by your brand that she repeats her business with you or makes your brand a regular part of her customer journey.
Brand communication for each of these stages is different. What a brand must say and do during the discovery stage is very different from what it must say and do during the companionship, exclusivity or belonging stages. Discovery will take you into online search engine optimization and search engine marketing (SEO and SEM), along with perhaps a TV ad, a few pay-per-click ads and so on. Companionship will take you into comparison sites, influencer recommendations, customer reviews. Exclusivity will take you into emails, phone calls and complaint management. Belonging could take you into special offers and celebratory discounts.
If a brand takes a holistic view of the customer-brand relationship journey, great things will come to it. If it takes a siloed view, the number of not-so-happy customers is likely to be high.
Nine Timeless Nuggets provides a 2020 perspective on timeless marketing ideas.