- How can we reward our customers for doing business with us — which will increase the likelihood that they will come back and do more business in the future?
You redirect their attention to an enhanced experience.
Think like a Hollywood director and re-shoot, re-cast, or re-edit your brand. These three steps could involve everything from your image, packaging, employees, and even your customers. Here’s how:
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your product; perhaps all you need to do is revamp your image to attract a new audience. And sometimes, all that calls for is a reshoot of your products.
Motorola figured that out when they realized they should go beyond marketing themselves as nothing more than an electronic device but as a symbol for fashion and lifestyle. Now, to compete with the iPhone, Motorola is trying to convince you they aren’t just selling you a smartphone — instead, they are delivering an accessory that helps complete your overall look with everything from phone design to an add-on projector, and more.
Find approaches to “re-cast” your employees or customers in a manner that creates an enhanced customer experience. Look at your target customer and see how your business needs to change based on how your customer has changed.
We’ve seen Vegas do this by recasting themselves from the gambler who hits the buffet…to the “hip” person who hits the Strip, parties, shops, and makes memories that require making pacts that, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
How can you re-edit and enhance the experiences that your customers have to deliver them more “hands-on” time with your products and services?
Interactivity is one. (Yes, your customers can get “hands-on” time both virtually and physically.) Optimizing your distribution channels is another.
We all know someone who hates being the passenger. When they’re riding in the car with us, we can sense their foot pumping an imaginary brake. These people are used to being in control.
I believe many customers are experiencing a similar anxiety today. They, too, want to have their “hands on the wheel. Providing the customer with more authority and autonomy could be an important step to enhance the experience that our customer receives in this time of “show business.”
Great examples of interactivity today can be found in the video game industry, Pay-per-view movies and on-demand sporting events, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and just about every television newscast that offers their viewers the opportunity to dial their “televote” line or connect via social media to register their opinion. The reason these work so brilliantly is that the interactive participant becomes an involved customer. And isn’t this a concept that we can acknowledge all started with show business?
This approach of prioritizing interactivity can also work on your own “show business.”
- The interactive customer becomes so emotionally involved and connected to the experience you provide that they become more than customers…they are loyal advocates of your brand who start promoting for you!
I know that we’ve been focusing on change a lot lately here at Distinction Nation. But one thing that has remained constant despite all the innovations and evolving business landscape: “word of mouth advertising” remains the most powerful form of marketing.
When you re-shoot, re-cast, or re-edit your product or service, you enhance the likelihood that your customers will be delivering great “word of mouth” for YOU!
- Most of you reading this probably only know about drive-ins from watching movies that were set in the 1950s or 60s.
- Do any of you remember when customers had to visit their bank on Friday afternoons to get enough cash to make it through the weekend?
- And most of you probably can’t imagine what life was like when there was only one television in the entire house and only a handful of channels to choose from.
Now we do not drive-in, we drive through! (And with Uber-eats and other delivery services revolutionizing the way we gain access to meals, have we reached the point where even driving through is too inconvenient?)
Today, you no longer have to stand in line at the bank so the teller could provide you with cash; you can just swipe your card through an ATM. In fact, in many cases, we no longer need to worry ourselves about having cash-on-hand at all. With technology like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, we’re able to purchase what we want without cash or even a credit card – as long as we have our smartphones! (Could ATMs be in danger of going the way of the VHS machine?)
Many homes probably have a TV in every room — and each family member has a gadget that streams movies. In fact, we’ve even grown tired of traditional TV. It’s predicted that by 2020, digital video will surpass TV with 75% of all video content transmitted via the Internet instead of regular television. (When you think about how much more we watch on YouTube or Netflix, could the days of TV dominance be coming to its end?)
You’re probably wondering what this trip down memory lane has to do with your business and your customers…
It means that along with these changing times and evolving technology, people have changed as well.
As times change, people change.
These people are our customers, and their buying behaviors are impacted by the technological changes that have driven the speed of transactions.
Critical questions for YOU:
- How do we improve the speed of transactions?
- What about the delivery of our products and service?
- How do we do all this while simultaneously enhancing and deepening the relationships we have with customers?
- How can we repackage our personal styles to appeal to different demographic groups and generations?
- How do we change our products and services to attract customers and potential employees across a greater demographic and generational spectrum?
- Do we need to insert more of the “fun factor” to appeal to a generation raised on television and digital media?
- If all our business training has evolved around economic (rather than emotional) principles, can we compete when the rules of the game change?
For many of us, we need to analyze the ways we can change the way we lead our businesses to keep up with innovation that directly affects customers’ habits.
We should be asking ourselves what we can do to keep up with the speed at which things are changing while continuing to enhance relationships with both our customers and employees. And, we must still deliver those compelling experiences that make the most significant impact in how they respond to us.
Remember, in today’s world of change; you cannot succeed by working harder on an old plan. You must grow and evolve.
- What is the “story” of your company, department, organization, and team?
- How about YOUR personal and professional story?
The fundamental role of “story” in business is to create a method by which audiences (customers, prospects and colleagues) understand and emotionally bond with a brand, organizationally and individually.
Because of our entertainment culture, stories are more powerful than ever.
Yes, your “company story” has the power to make an emotional connection with your clients and colleagues. They can captivate your audience and cause them to stick around, waiting for the next chapter.
What do you think happens next? Your customers and employees become so invested in your story that they want to be a part of it.
- For your employees, that means thinking long-term and staying loyal to the organization.
- For prospects, that means converting into paying customers.
- For existing clients, that means having loyal brand advocates.
- A great story can inspire years of purchases and organizational loyalty!
Whether it’s politics, sports, professional wrestling, or your business – we are ALL in “show business!” Therefore, we must tell our story!
But how? Where do you start?
Whether it is a movie, television program, or your corporate story, certain fundamental elements are found in all stories. Let’s examine the ingredients that create a compelling business story:
Companies get started because they fulfill a need. They offer a product or service that helps their customers overcome some sort of challenge.
When your business solves their problems, you become the hero they seek…and a story is born.
Strong Narrative Tension
Every story needs some form of dramatic tension; without it, we lose interest in the story. Your audience wants to wonder what happens next. They love the thrill of watching the hero’s journey and how they overcome all odds. The journey is perhaps the most captivating part of any story; it’s where the hero shows the audience what they’re made of.
We typically see these kinds of dramatic tension build up in a “three-act” format. It starts with “act one” – the setup or introduction. It is followed by the “second act” where the effort to resolve the conflict is established. Finally, we come to the “last act” – the resolution.
Because your business is “show business,” craft a three-act story that will have your customers cheering for you!
The Memorable Conclusion
There is almost always a well-defined, heroic resolution in every movie. The guy makes it to the airport in time to profess his love, or the lone survivor defeats the bad guys.
Take a hint from Hollywood: don’t terminate your business story with a definite end. Instead, conclude it with the hint that something new and exciting may follow.
The Marvel Universe has done an exceptional job at this. Each superhero is like a different product, each with their own story to tell. Sometimes they branch out and do their own thing, and other times they come together to tell a story together. The point is — because we’re all so invested in their journeys, the studios can keep telling us new stories, reinvent old ones, or go back to their origins, and we’ll be just as captivated.
- Are you ready to tell the story of why your business does what you do?
- Do you have a compelling reason why your story is worth telling?
- Does your story create distinction?
In horse racing, they’re called “blinders” or “blinkers.”
You’ve probably seen them – they’re the cups made of leather or plastic that prevent a racehorse from seeing much of what is around them…and keep them focused on what is in front of them.
It means they concentrate on the race at hand – not on the crowd, competing horses, or a myriad of other potential distractions.
You’ll also see them often used on horses that pull carriages on city streets to minimize the chances they’ll be spooked by all of the surrounding commotion.
Here’s the question for YOU: Do you need to take your blinders off…or put a pair of blinders on?
- Some professionals find it easy to be distracted by the multitude of opportunities they have – and they are engulfed by online interruptions.
- Many find it practically impossible to focus on a specific activity or action…even if it is one that could help them create distinction.
The first Cornerstone of Distinction is CLARITY – and, obviously, if you aren’t focused, you cannot exemplify the clarity required to stand out from your competition.
- Conversely, other professionals are so focused, they have become myopic.
Steve Jobs is an overused example, but his approach certainly applies here. While others viewed his focus to be on the Macintosh when he returned to Apple, he had a slightly different vision. He was clear that Apple should be concentrating on important aspects — like elegant design, simplicity of product use, and innovative marketing.
This meant that Jobs could also apply this clarity to new lines of products – the iPod, iPad, and iPhone.
His clarity wasn’t restricted by blinders.
Only you can determine if you need to put a proverbial pair of blinders on…or take them off.
However, being honest with yourself about what you need to do in that regard can have a major impact on your productivity, your success…and your ability to create distinction.
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