One of the most important factors in driving customer loyalty is how a brand is perceived. In a world of CRM, social media and real time responses the importance of perception is huge. A relatively small and insignificant brand can go viral and a well established brand can stumble into PR disaster, leaving its reputation dented.
Although the long term connotations weren’t ultimately disastrous, a good example of this was the Dominos Pizza scandal a few years ago when footage was put online of staff members doing disgusting things with pizzas on Dominos premises. The company didn’t respond quickly enough and even though the footage was revealed to be a hoax the damage had been done.
The flip side of this would perhaps be the way Apple marketed itself as a cool, hip computing brand. A sort of James Dean of computing, kicking against the stuffy 1950s Dad of Microsoft. The idea that Apple is a “young” and vibrant brand has continued and has proven very difficult for competitors to disprove.
In a world where companies are no longer expected to simply throw advertising material at their customer base the public perception of a brand can be all important. The high street is feeling the impact of the Amazon/Ebay model and one of the key ways this can be countered is by retailers rebranding themselves as authorities on their area of business.
Companies like HMV can’t compete with Amazon on price, but their new incarnation can easily best them when it comes to shopping experience and product knowledge.
If retailers can be perceived as not only suppliers of an excellent product, but also a hub of expertise that provide indispensable consumer knowledge, then they become competitive.
How CRM can help
An effective CRM Solution can offer companies a complete view of their customer base. The Single Customer View allows all a brands touch points to be viewed in a clear simple interface and sophisticated data segmentation means customers can be grouped by buying history, preferences and responses. Knowledge can be power and having this information can give your company a massive insight into how it is seen by the world.
For example an efficient CRM solution could show a clothing company that, far from its customer base being rugby players from Surrey, they’re actually football fans from big cities. The way they’ve been marketing themselves either hasn’t worked or is no longer relevant.
Conversational Marketing is perhaps the most relevant aspect of CRM when it comes to brand perception. By allowing a two way conversation between customer and company this allows intelligent marketers to gauge how their brand is perceived and make subtle changes to the marketing material it produces, as well as its social media presence and its entire interaction with the public.
This is particularly relevant to companies whose target demographic consists predominantly of young people. There is now a generation that has grown up with the internet and the concept of real time response methods. By targeting this group appropriately, brands can ensure their reputation precedes them…in the right way!