Consumers have dismissed 77% of everyday brands. If you don’t do something that is unexpected in your industry, you will be one of them. Here are the whys and the hows you need to know to remain a meaningful brand.
“Globally, consumers say they would not care if 77% of everyday brands disappeared.”
If you are one of the 77%, you are meaningless. Your company or product has become irrelevant. But it’s not irreparable.
“Brands’ failure to create relevant and meaningful content, combined with their inability to improve consumers’ wellbeing, means they are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the minds of shoppers.”
Tired, mothball-smelling, old-timey marketing messages, sales tactics, and customer experiences are dragging down your meaningfulness.
Sometimes you’re nose-blind to it. Call it a blind spot, comfort zone, or cone of silence – it’s killing your sales, impact, and meaningfulness.
If your sales are flat or declining, your company or product doesn’t matter to your customers. But you can change it.
Once you’re aware of it, you need to be willing to experiment and do things that are challenges to “the norm.”
DARE to do things differently.
Start by thinking about how you can interrupt people’s expectations – but interrupt them in a good way, m’kay?
You know all about meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Interrupting expectations is similar to exceeding but with a twist.
No matter what you sell, the suggestions below will interrupt people’s expectations.
Seriously, ANY business can find and replace “the norm” with the unexpected.
If you are a dermatologist, an HVAC company, a manufacturer of gaskets, sell B2B or B2C, dare to do the unexpected.
Offer a free product or service to all customers, not just new ones.
Why: Nothing steams my clams more than being a loyal customer and getting an offer for a free month and seeing it’s only for new customers. SERIOUSLY?!I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, and so do the unexpected. Please!
Bonus points: Avoid customer churn by doing it every month or quarter. Think about the last time you switched to a different provider or product because the other guy had a new-customers-only offer.
Praise the competition publicly
Why: Duke University research found customers buy more when competing brands praise each other. In one experiment, after seeing a tweet where Kit Kat praised rival Twix, consumers were 34% more likely to buy a Kit Kat.
Bonus points: Praise a different competitor every quarter.
Tell people NOT to buy your product or service when it is in their best interest.
Why: Free PR and more sales. It is SO unexpected that people share it. Example: In December 2021, Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese offered to PAY people to not buy their product. Read more about it here! It is an example of daring, empathetic, bad-ass business strategy that turned a supply chain shortage into a media and brand-building opportunity.
TL;DR: There was a cream cheese shortage at the time, which could have frustrated shoppers who planned to bake a cheesecake for holiday get-togethers. But Kraft got crafty! [Bet you saw that one coming.] They gave 18,000 customers $20 vouchers so they could buy a dessert instead! “A delicious cheesecake is a holiday tradition that many families look forward to…we want to make sure that you still get that holiday feeling, even if it’s through other desserts. If you can’t spread Philly, spread the feeling.” – From the Kraft promotion website
Bonus points: Give them a way to succeed without your product or service.
Send handwritten cards to your customers for any or no reason.
Why: I know you’ve heard this one a million times, but it delights customers every time you do it. Old school snail mail will stand out because everyone is sending email. Don’t have an address? Dare to be transparent. Tell your customer you have something special for them and ask if you can have a good physical address so you can send it to them.
Bonus points: Send a personalized Cameo message to one customer every month.
Customize it for your company
List everything your competition is doing, then choose one thing you could do differently. OR choose something you’re currently doing and flip it like a pancake to make it special-er.
Choose something that will be meaningful to your customers and do it.
I dare you!