Written by Baron Manett on March 14, 2012
in Customer Experience

I was recently invited to the head office of a leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) company to discuss how to make their retail and shopper marketing programs more effective. The conversation began smoothly, as the company was genuine in their desire to improve, innovate, and engage with their customers and consumers. Then, one of the marketing directors asked an important question: “What does our brand stand for today?”

The room got a little quiet and all eyes shifted to me, the marketing guy.  “A brand is what my friend says it is,” was my response.  The looks I received back ranged from surprise to fear to interest. The company’s head of marketing asked me to elaborate, and one of the sales directors asked me what he could do with that answer.

I explained that in the omni-channel world in which we live, consumers have never been bombarded with so many marketing messages. And yet, who is the shopper going to trust?  Their friends, of course – via word-of-mouth recommendations.

So it’s not only what’s inside a brand that counts, it’s also what’s inside our consumers. And it’s about how we can plan in our communications to enable our brand’s loyal consumers to invite new people – their friends – to the brand. We began to discuss ideas and tools that could empower our consumers to share with pride about our brands. The meeting certainly took on a different tone.

It shifted from trade and marketing people sparring with brand managers and agency folks to a team of brand marketers collectively thinking about improving the consumer’s experience and how to help empower that friend-to-friend conversation.

What’s inside of your brand and your customers? I bet if you can unlock that information, you’ll be well on your way to growth.

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