Most brands use the outdated (and insulting to customers, especially millennials) “transactional sales model” to move product.
There’s only one problem:
- It considers the sale the goal instead of the customer relationship
- It focuses on “moving product” instead of “providing amazing value to the customer”
- It barely meets expectations and never exceeds expectations, and worst of all,
- It ignores the last, most unexpected, and most potentially profitable part of the sales cycle: the actual third leg of a “true sales cycle”
How Vital Is This?
It’s so vital, the direct mail powerhouse Postcardmania and I decided to put together a 3-part live Webinar that shedded light on the 3 phases of branding as discussed here:
(This Webinar on “The 3 Phases of Branding to Create an Avalanche of Lifetime Buyers” has already been presented.)
Your Brand’s Strategy
In the last 2 days, I have spoken with four different businesses that need my branding expertise and can’t wait to get started.
But there was this one glaring oddity: each of them already had more business than they could handle.
So, in each case after asking the usual questions I ask… I had to ask (since they each had all the business anyone could ask for):
- What could I do to help them?
- What did they hope to achieve?
After all, I need to know what problem I am solving.
One answered “world domination.”
Another answered, “streamlining my brand and its message so it’s crystal clear, tight and powerful.”
The last one answered, “To brand me as the authority” so he has a brand and not only a business.
My realization was this: they each had a successful business or a career, but each knew they lacked a brand as the tool to take their business and career to the next level, whether that be world domination or being seen as the authority.
I was blown away by the incredible clarity each of these businesses had.
Looking further, I realized it was what separated the great brands: Apple, Nordstroms, Nike, Coach, and Airbnb from the rest. They didn’t stop at the transaction. They understood the actual transaction didn’t end there. And this insight revolutionized how they did business. And how customers perceived them.
This was an interesting and vital lesson because some might look at these companies today and think “that’s enough” and be satisfied.
But no, these guys realized having a business is one thing. Having a brand is an entirely different game. In fact, the only game that allows people to see you as the expert, the authority, the business to choose over others.
100% OR 66%?
As I implied at the start of this post, there are phases every customer goes through with your brand. (“The 3 Phases of Branding to Create an Avalanche of Lifetime Buyers” will be covered fully in this 3-part Webinar.)
Most companies use only two of these, when in fact there are factually three (it’s not dissimilar to convincing people that the world isn’t flat).
But it’s the third one that will help differentiate you and explode your brand exponentially.
Why? Because that’s when your customer least expects you to do anything more and care anymore since they’ve paid and left.
Problem is, too many companies end this sequence at the point of sale, leaving an entire third of the brand experience out of the transaction forfeiting loyalty, relevance and a chance to outshine the competition.
A brand follows a sequence from the experience of the customer.
It starts before they’ve ever bought, or possibly heard of, your product or service. It then progresses through and concludes at some point. When it concludes is up to you.
The stupid brand concludes the transaction at the conclusion of the sale.
The use of these three phases has helped brands with limited budgets to maximize their impact and fortify the loyalty customers have to their brands. It’s not a factor of spending more, it’s just knowing where to intelligently invest in your brand.
The Final Third: How to Leverage Your Relationship
In short, it’s about exceeding expectations. It’s not just an idea, it’s the actual third phase the most loyal customers go through.
I learned about it when I, a devout chocoholic, ordered two flourless chocolate tortes. I simply couldn’t choose so I decided on both. When they arrived, there was only one difference: one included a card with a recipe for cognac whipped cream to enjoy my torte with and the other didn’t. Which company do you think I ordered my future tortes from?
How can you use this to boost your brand’s strategy and bond with clients?
Here are some examples I’ve used for clients.
For Steve Griggs Design, NYC’s premier landscaper, servicing NYC’s affluent and VIP clientele, offers a custom wine bottle with their brand identity on it as the perfect “Welcome back home” gift:
With Joanna Vargas, we did this with her “post-sales” bag using gold foil, tissue papers and stunning “espresso-colored” cloth handles converting each sale into an experience of pride and fashion with this classy take-home bag:
With Bridge Street Station, we converted their takeout boxes into luggage with custom-designed “travel stickers” as those found on vintage luggage from the 1940s to amplify the boutique burger joint’s theme of the trains and burgers.With No Worries Lodge, we designed seasonal postcards for guests to use while at the lodge and to take away as souvenirs.
For Simply Snackin’ — a coaster was designed for beverages, beers, and soft drinks. A simple way to remind people of these amazing premium jerkies.
Not all post-sales branding has to reinvent the wheel. For TrendCreators‘ rebrand, it was something as simple as a stunning coffee mug for their sophisticated audience who appreciated good design and exquisite style.
How will you use the final third of the branding cycle to add value to your customer, well beyond their expectation, when they expect it least?
If you want more clarity on using this vital phase, join us at the upcoming Webinar on “The 3 Phases of Branding to Create an Avalanche of Lifetime Buyers” — register here. It’s free with limited slots available.)