Monthly Archives

March 2010

2010 resolution follow-up #5 – What do customers think?

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What do your customers really think? If your company has changed in the last year (and most have), it’s a good time to look at your relationship with your customers. Learn what they really think about your company and the products and services that you offer.

Obviously what your clients think of your company is critical to your success. This isn’t a situation where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But it’s tricky, because clients sometimes will not tell the whole truth – it’s hard to tell someone they work with every day that something is not working. And they are probably nice people who don’t want to hurt your feelings. In Minnesota, there’s a culture of being nice to a fault, where we might not be able to tell by talking to clients day to day that there’s something wrong.

But it’s our (the company, vendor, agency, consultant, internal vendor, etc.) responsibility to know what is going on. So ask. And, you might want to hire someone to help you get the full story. We did, and we learned a lot:

  • Customers know mostly just what you do for them day in and out
  • Although you may do a good job at one thing, they will not necessarily make the leap that you can do something related
  • Perceptions about what you do best may be different from customer to customer
  • History is history, what happens most recently is what people remember (what have you done for me lately?)

If you’re like us, we thought that as we changed our clients automatically understood the changes we had made (and benefit). Things move so fast that in a daily business that a “what’s new” discussion may not always happen.

So make a point of pulling your customers aside periodically and updating them on what you do. Pretend they only know about the services or products that they use or buy on a regular basis. Just because they are familiar, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a well thought out recommendation or customized presentation. Especially if they have the opportunity to learn something in the process.

And connect with your customers in other ways – Facebook, Twitter, your Website – there are many ways to connect and find out what they want. The more you know, the more you can react to, fix and be proactive the next time.

We’d love to hear what your experience has been in getting feedback from your clients or customers here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

2010 resolution follow-up #4 – Is it time to tweak your brand?

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Are you responsible for your company’s brand? When you look at it, do you see it – I mean really see it? Most of us see what we want to see or expect to see. If you’ve been living with the same branding for a while, yet your company has changed, you may need an update.

Everything has a time and a place – think big hair and short basketball shorts – we thought they looked good then…So how do you know if it’s time for a refresh or a redo? Take a look at your logo, materials, Web site etc. and ask some questions.

  • Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era in colors or font type? You may love your company’s brand, and why shouldn’t you, it got your company to where it is today. However, if your look is steeped in another, earlier age, before social media, mobile apps, iPhones and perhaps heavy, knowledgeable Web usage, it’s time for a tweak if not a total overhaul.

    Look at what Caribou Coffee has done to their logo and branding to reflect “optimism and an optimistic outlook on life.” http://bit.ly/ac2Epy

  • Have you broadened your offering or shifted your company focus? Here’s another reason to take a hard look at your brand. Old collateral and identity (whether it’s offline or online) will cause you to lose opportunities in today’s world. Are you still talking about your business, products and/or services in the same way you always have? If your business has changed your brand may need a refresh. Continuity is key.

    Hilton Hotel Corp. changed to Hilton Worldwide, to take advantage of the global economy: http://bit.ly/1f4m9s

  • How does your logo and color palette look online? Do they work for electronic media? Come across on a mobile app? How your brand shows up electronically is crucial in today’s world. It needs to shine in Web, mobile, and other online marketing tools.
  • Does your brand have social accessibility? Consumers want to help form brands and brand personalities. If you are participating in social media, or get feedback on your Web site, find out what people say about your brand and learn. Lowes has taken a very customer-centric approach in their advertising: http://nyti.ms/ahKUIb

A well-designed logo can be simple and carry the brand with one letter. Here are a few to get you inspired: http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/single-letter-logos/

If you can’t be objective about your brand then ask somebody you trust to look at it, or hire someone to do an evaluation for you. How you position your company brand and personality will determine whether you stand out or fade away in the new economy. Please tell us how it goes – here or at Facebook.com/dtrio – we’d love to hear about it.