Put People in Your Plan: Five Tips for Challenger Brand Success

August 1, 2014 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Over the past week, we’ve explored the importance of incorporating great people and a great customer experience into your company and your brand. Having the right team is crucial to fighting an effective fight and to use Jim Collins’ language from “Good To Great,” if you don’t have the right people on the bus, or in the right seats, greatness will elude you. The good news? It’s never too late to get it right. To that end, here are five tips for challenger brand success:

1. Always start with the customer. Create a customer personification that includes key demographic and psychographic information. Include critical learning and insights about the customer’s desires and dislikes. Use this as the basis for creating the optimal customer experience.

2. Describe in specific terms the kind of customer experience your brand should be delivering. What should the customer believe when she shows up in your stores? How should she feel when she engages with an employee? How should she feel when she leaves? Answering questions such as these will help define the optimal customer experience for your brand.

LOOMIS Imagibrand Process

3. Collaborate with human resources, and conduct an objective assessment of the customer experience to determine how it measures up against the intention. If it’s not where it needs to be, focus time, attention, and money on fixing that problem before investing heavily in external marketing communications.

4. Make hiring and training of front-line employees a shared responsibility between human resources and marketing. The shared approach will yield insights for recruiting, training and retention that will benefit both the HR and marketing efforts.

5. Develop and implement a formal process for soliciting feedback from front-line employees on ways to enhance the customer experience. Refer back to the list of practices noted by author Dr. Raj Sisodia in “Firms of Endearment.” If these practices are being employed, the feedback and insight generated by front-line employees will be easier to generate.

When a company’s leadership is aligned around who its customer is and the kind of experience the customer is seeking, and has processes in place that consistently create that experience, it is ready to share the good news with the world. When this dynamic is in place, generating even stronger results through advertising becomes a much easier proposition.

There’s a paradox in the world of marketing that generally goes unaddressed. Brands gain strength through deep customer connections, and the stronger those connections are, the less important advertising becomes. In a sense, the weaker a brand is, the more it must rely on advertising to generate growth. Beginning with the customer relationship and a fierce focus on the quality of their experience drives performance that advertising alone cannot hope to deliver. Just ask any of the CEOs of the companies featured in “Firms of Endearment.”

– Mike Sullivan is president of The Loomis Agecy, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency

For learn more about challenger branding, read our blog: Are You A Challenger Brand?

challenger brand

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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