A few months ago, I wrote a post here at StartUpNation on what every mom/entrepreneur should have in her bag of tricks. This was a fun post for me to write because I carry a large (really large) tote everywhere I go. Please do not ever look inside that tote because it is the most unorganized thing that you will ever see. Nonetheless, the tote keeps me alive because at any given moment, I can locate anything from a snack bar (LUNA) to my latest project (in folders from Target) to something to occupy my kids on a sick day (Apple iPad) inside there. Right there inside my bag is evidence of my consumerism and brand loyalty.
What I have not admitted before is I am a consumer extraordinaire. Yes, I have Bright Shiny Object Syndrome as many of you have been reading about lately. Although, I cannot say that I am limited to bright shiny objects, but fashion, snacks, and occasionally bakeware, too.
On my own blog this week, I reflect on getting my boys packed for sleep away camp and their preferences for certain brands and items. I noticed that my boys are pretty brand loyal consumers, too. Obviously, the apple does not fall far from the tree, and it would only make sense that my boys become lovers of particular brands.
Although I am a loyal consumer, I do not buy/promote/suggest without being a believer. I need to BELIEVE in a brand to fully support it, to be loyal to it, and to recommend it. In other words, my hand cannot be forced but rather I need to feel something genuine from a brand to be a loyal, repeat customer.
Of course, as consumers we are lured by advertising, facebook campaigns, twitter recommendations, and the opinions of our friends. BUT, what really builds LOYALTY? Although, the brands inside my bag that I mention above are BIG brands, what can we learn from them as budding small businesses?
For me, LOYALTY grows from:
- Providing a Consistent Product
- Outstanding Customer Service
- Standing by One’s Word
As new small businesses, I think these 3 points can be the cornerstone of building our brands.
- Whether we are providing a tangible product or service, it has to be consistently great. We are the new kid on the block, and we must differentiate ourselves. Whether our product is unique and one-of-a-kind or an improved version of something around, we are the newbies….our reputation is going to make or break us.
- As for customer service, I do not mean a blanket statement like “the customer is always right,” but rather listening to your customer’s feedback is the best way to make improvements in your business. It is all too easy to think that we know best. Your customers are the ones buying and using the product or service, make sure to listen up! Use the customer’s feedback, and make changes accordingly.
- WE must always stand by our word as developing brands. Do not make guarantees that you cannot keep! Follow through on deadlines that you make with a client or promises that you make on your product. Think about what an advantage you will have with a repeat customer if you are worthy of your word? We all want to feel like we are a priority as the consumer!
This week, I received an email from a client that is excited to move forward with her next appointment with me. That is an awesome feeling as a service provider who is building her brand! Obviously, the customer was happy enough to ask for more. Now it is my responsibility to continue to grow the loyalty. I must be consistent and never stop listening.
Do you have companies or products that you are loyal to? Do you try to role model after their practices? Let me know here….
Join me at http://backngroovemom.com for more on my budding venture.