4 ways to help your brand become a verb (or a noun)


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I was driving behind a FedEx truck this morning it occurred to me how some brands become the thing that they do. Using FedEx as an example, simply put, they are in the overnight shipping business. So if you have a document or package that needs to get somewhere overnight, you can say “overnight this.” Or you can say something like, “Be sure you FedEx this before you leave tonight.”

What about online services? Do you search for things online, or do you “Google” them? Their brand has now become the thing itself.

Service businesses tend to become verbs, while products tend to become associated with what they are. When you’re thirsty, do you purchase a cola drink, or do you grab a “Coke”? When you reach for a facial tissue, are you reaching for a “Kleenex”? If you have chapped lips, do you apply some “Vaseline” or petroleum jelly? Do you use “Band-aids” for cuts, or do you use adhesive strips?

How does this thinking apply to customers? Well, brand recognition on this magnitude is what every serious company strives for. However, it only comes about through the repeated product and service use of customers. No matter how much you advertise, market, or broadcast your message, the transformation of your brand into the language comes about purely by customer use, and is the sign of a successful business enterprise. What are some ways to help this process along?

Ensure you are satisfying your customer. If customers are not using your product, or they’re not satisfied with their service, there is no reason for them to integrate what you do with their lifestyle. The brand recognition you desire comes about only through repeated customer use, and in interactions with their friends and family.

Make it easy for your customer to do business with you. The more convenient your services and products are to use the more likely they will be used. The more that people use and talk about your products and your services, the more you become a part of their lives. By finding ways to continue to keep yourself involved in people’s lives, you create deep connections that carry over into what they say and do.

Do one thing and do it well. Companies that succeed in the language integration game typically focus on one service or product that roots itself in the life of the customer. Once this “beachhead” is established, then the company can begin reaching out to other services and products.

Google for example, became invaluable by providing the best search options online. As their database continued to grow and usership continued to flourish, they began branching out into the many other areas. They now encompass a plethora of applications such as online picture albums, e-mail formats, online documents, book collections, language translation, and the list continues to go on and on. By starting with the one thing and doing it well, it allowed them the ability to leverage to move into other areas.

Simplify your message. One surefire way to confuse your customer is to muddy your message with a bunch of competing imperatives. If you diversify your marketing message so much that people have to choose between one service or product you offer and another one that you offer, then you have diluted the effective impact you are trying to make. Remember that customers are people, and people can typically focus effectively only on one task at a time. Make sure that the tasks they’re focused on are directly related to the message you are attempting to convey.

By successfully accomplishing the steps, you begin employing your customers into your biggest marketing campaign. When customers love what you do and how you do it, they will share that message with others.

Just for fun…

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” – G.K. Chesterton

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of ThinkCustomerSatisfaction.com, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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