Strengthen Your Brand

Andrea Syverson recently asked some great questions for readers of Target Marketing Magazine.

Questioning is the precursor to innovation. Alfred North Whitehead, a British mathematician and philosopher, said, “The ‘silly question’ is the first intimation of some totally new development.” After years of questioning, there really are no silly questions.

Even Jerry Greenfield’s (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) lighthearted question, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” is one of utmost importance to its brand. Fun is an attribute at the top of Ben & Jerry’s brand and product fit charts. It is even a tab on the Web site.

In 2003, Frederick F. Reichheld wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review called “The One Number You Need to Grow.” His research showed if brands concentrated on improving just one measure, it should be the answer to this question asked of their customers: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

Author James Thurber wrote, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” What other questions is your brand grappling with, or perhaps should be grappling with, these days?

Try these steps to get things going:

Create an Environment for Questions. First, do you cultivate a question-asking environment? Without the freedom to raise questions or question decisions appropriately, your brand may have a blind spot.

Question to Build Loyalty. Secondly, can you handle the answers to tough questions? Many brands have solid customer loyalty programs in place. These are indeed important parts of retention strategies. But take a moment to turn that question around for your brand—just how loyal is your brand to your customers? What have you done for them lately?

Listen Up. Thirdly, what are your customers’ pain points? What makes them mad, frustrated or just plain tired in relation to your product, service, category or overall brand experience? If you spend time uncovering these issues and then creatively addressing them, both your customers and your competitors will take note.

There are many examples of product/service/experience rage out there. Are companies listening? Do they care?

So, take some time to question your culture, your customers and your results.

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