How to Avoid “Burnt Toast” Brands

Jan 10, 2012 | Branding

I’m rereading a book entitled, Relevance: making stuff that matters, by Tim Manners.  And there is a specific quote that stuck in my mind as something worth sharing.

All too often marketers struggle with how to explain the hardship a brand will experience if its managers don’t ensure a connection with their audience. And by connection, we don’t mean awareness.  We mean ensuring your brand, its purpose and your team’s understanding of why they do what they do is truly relevant to the intended audience.

Steve Fuller, the senior vice president of corporate marketing for L. L. Bean, put it this way when asked by Tim Manners about his views on the relationship between customer happiness and employees: “The total of employee and customer happiness is, of course, loyalty for everyone involved. Without loyalty a brand isn’t just irrelevant, it’s toast. Think about the smell of burning toast. That is the smell of your brand without loyalty.”

We get a lot of requests for silver bullets to reach new audiences. But not nearly as many requests on how to leverage marketing communications to build loyalty.  In other words, how can you tie all the pieces together to drive retention, even evangelism?

Many times, people forget to work on the retention portion of communications and how marketing can work with employees, since they play the most important role in the process. Today, the most successful brands are driving loyalty and investing in it just as much as their new customer marketing.  And they are doing it by ensuring their message is true and delivered by people that get it.

A lot of companies see customer retention being achieved by a loyalty card or an incentive to do business with them; it’s more about maintaining the relevancy of your brand and the people delivering the brand message during the life of your customer relationship. Customers change; markets shift, competitors apply new strategies and what you did today may not be as relevant as what you did yesterday.

When you’re developing a marketing message for 2012, consider if the people delivering it can get behind it and if it’s relevant to your customer now.

photo credit: toast via photopin (license)