Do you relate to your customers?

“You’re not Apple.” That’s ok… you don’t have to be. (Though of course, it’d be nice .. shiny new iPads.)

Business 101

Apple’s stuff flies off the shelves, they have an unpaid army of fans and supporters building up their products and it seems everyone wants to write/talk about them. They also spend the $$, as Apple markets themselves brilliantly via retail, advertising, strategic PR, carefully planned events.

Look at their ads: they don’t talk specs and features, they’re not selling. They offer more than just solutions and benefits, time savers and fun, time wasters like Siri, games and social media. They communicate ideas, feelings, usefulness relative to the users.

If you have a good product or service, offer value to others.. then you’re in business, so long as you can communicate that to the right people.

Who, What, When, Where, How, Why?

Answering these questions will write your marketing, PR, communications plan. Hell, throw in a few spreadsheets, sprinkle on the Excel pixie dust, you’ll see a business plan forming.

  • Define your brand, focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses. Identify those you can help with your boffo products or whiz bang services and go find more of them.
  • Don’t run from the competition, study them, learn from them, find ways to do it better. Fat and lazy gets beaten by small and quick, the big guys can get it wrong with terrible customer service story telling – that ignores the customer.
  • Figure out where you were, where you are now, and where you need to be. Determine where the fish are biting and what bait to use; if nary a customer is using Facebook, then no you don’t ‘need’ a FB page no matter what some pundit tells you.

It’s all relative

You can have the bestest thingamabobs in the tri-state area, but if no one hears of you, no one ‘gets’ what your doodads can do for them, it won’t matter. Customers search to solve their problems, not to find your solutions.

You can be a great place to work but unless you are involved with your community and people understand your business is more than a line on a resume, you’ll have a hard time recruiting top talent to work there.

Yes start up businesses can not only afford PR, IMO they need that comprehensive approach to communications – focusing on more than just the media. It’s public relations for a reason, because it’s about relationships and communications, relating to the various strategic audiences businesses need in order to succeed.

Stories are for the audience

Who cares from memory chips and data speed when they can have a “so easy, even my techno-challenged F&F can do it” FaceTime chat?

There’s only one Apple. There’s also only one you. Grow your business by telling your story in a way your audiences  – customers, as well as media, employees, investors, vendors – can relate to.

Photo credit: History, humor .. also relative, especially for a dork like myself. Very Demotivational.

Comments (8) | Trackback

8 Responses to “Do you relate to your customers?”

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  5. Adam says:

    You hit on one of Apple’s strongest points, IMHO, the story and the “raving fan” attitude that it creates. It’s good food for thought … every business should consider what its story is, if it is being told (and how) in each stage of the customer experience, and how it is being received.

    A story is being created no matter what — the question is who is telling it.
    Adam recently posted..What Is Customer Service?

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Very good point Adam – different people tell your brand’s story. In fact, people tell THEIR version of your story – what’s relevant to them; makes it that much more important to relate to them, on their level.

    And since the story will exist no mater who’s doing the telling, it’s also essential for brands to listen, to engage – none of that ‘duck and cover’ no comment b.s. Sometimes we see it happen – in business, marketing, politics, etc. – others have run w/ their version of the story so long, it’s almost impossible for TPTB to get any sort of ‘control’ back, set the record straight. FWIW.

    [Reply]

  6. I love this post because I’ve been writing on Apple a bunch or a peck…mostly on the innovation that stems from those who leave or are hired away. This week I wrote on the new CEO formerly Apple and now JC Penney.

    It’s so obvious what Apple does to brands and products. Customers want, want, and they buy, buy.

    So, your counsel is solid — look inside your own company and freshen the approach. Give everything a dust off and invite some new thinkers in for a retreat with some new ideas. That doesn’t cost much and no one says you have to hire them FTE.

    Glad you posted…great to see you.
    Jayme Soulati recently posted..The Apple, The Tree And JCP

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    One of the links I shared was to a horrible ‘customer commitment statement’ – some dreadful corporate babblespeak that was all about the brand. WTH? You’ll never speak or connect with your audience that way, if it’s all about you without regard to them. Thanks.

    [Reply]

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