What gives your brand CRM dynamite?
In other words, what properties mean that your brand has bags of CRM potential; and conversely, what properties mean that CRM might not be right for you? Below I list six questions worth asking before any brand starts investing in a relationship management strategy.
Is there a high consumer need (for support, information, expertise)?
For instance, many consumers managing health issues will be actively seeking help, often over a sustained period, offering huge potential for a brand to forge a long-term, supportive relationship – from high cholesterol sufferers to those quitting smoking. Equally, mums-to-be are absolutely ‘in the market’ for advice; after all, babies don’t come with instructions. As the net increasingly becomes the first port of call, the opportunity for brands to intercept and satisfy a searching need is obvious.
Is your brand well placed to provide the answers that consumers are looking for?
Having supported mums in our CRM programmes for Cow & Gate and Aptamil over 10 years, the emotional engagement we witness exemplifies what a brand can achieve if it commits to providing a genuinely expert service. Other examples lie in the sporting world where, aside from Nike’s impressive conveyer belt of innovation (Nike+, Nike Fuel), many other brands are succeeding in grabbing a share of attention in their particular niche, e.g. the recently launched My ASICS app which uniquely creates adaptive running training plans that evolve as your work out continues.
On the flipside, if I see another brand offering recipes… Yakult, Anchor, Hellman’s, to name only a few… Of course these brands can contrive a strategy to rationalise this content, but the digital world is not short of free recipe ideas from our favourite experts, Jamie, Heston, Hugh and co. A brand needs the inherent expertise (or budget to buy it in) to meet the consumer need in a way that’s either compellingly different or just superior, e.g. Delia’s online cookery school on Waitrose TV.
Is the consumer passionate about your product?
Beyond musical artists and sports teams, there are many examples. Within automotive, consumers get extremely passionate about their Harley, Mini, or Alfa – this makes relationship building almost easy, as consumers are sponges for content that allows them to ‘indulge’ and share their passion. The world of malt whisky conjures up entirely different CRM programmes (sampling and tasting notes, Mmm…) but amplifies equal levels of passion.
Conversely, if your product is a low consideration purchase, CRM might struggle. In recent years Cravendale has created some entertaining content (search Milk Matters), but l would speculate that meaningful engagement is an uphill battle. Far worse is the world of toilet cleaning – check out the Domestos Flush Game… yes, they’ve actually built a game!
Does your brand possess the ‘cool factor’?
If aligning with your brand makes someone feel cool, you’re pushing on an open door. Provide cool content and they’ll lap up the opportunity to engage and share (i.e. show off) with friends. Doing it right is Mulberry with their unashamed, exclusive focus on fashion (so my wife tells me…).
Do you support a cause?
Charities aside (obviously!), some brands have a cause at their heart – think Ecover (environment) and Café Direct (ethical sourcing), and so attract a loyal following who share the same values. These consumers are ripe to recruit into a programme of cause-related content. Of course brands can buy into causes, perhaps more for CSR reasons than CRM, but as consumers are increasingly sceptical of brands’ agendas, I’d urge caution before you jump in.
What’s your consumer worth?
If the annual or lifetime value of your consumer is sizeable (and so small AWP or RPU gains generate considerable revenue), you have scope to invest significantly in CRM and still generate a strong return. Mobile telephony makes for a great final example. Besides 3G vs. 4G, mobile networks are more-or-less the same, so the network brands must manufacture properties to differentiate – Orange Film, O2 Priority, Vodafone VIP. As rising smartphone penetration drives user spend to record levels, the brands are enjoying increasingly chunky pots to fund their CRM… and we, in turn, are enjoying cheaper films and gigs. Dynamite!
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