What we shouldn’t still be talking about in 2014
Posted by
Nomonde Gama at 10:00

With all the 2014 trend forecasts flooding our inboxes at this time of year, (for some perspective, don't forget to read our take on marketing in 2014 here), marketers might be feeling a little overwhelmed by trying to keep up. But it looks as though many brand-owners actually need to revisit some of their 2011 trend reports! A few rather unpleasant encounters with my glam squad over the past few months have got me really thinking - How are brands still not 'getting' customer experience? In 2014?

There's this guy in the South who does my nails impeccably, each and every time, without fail - really, he's good. Unfortunately, his consistency in doing a good job is matched by consistency in terrible service: he is always behind schedule, double-books appointments, does two people's nails at once or sends his apprentice to do my nails, even though the appointment is booked with him.  I managed to stomach the terrible experience and lack of customer orientation because of the quality of the finished product, and his R120 gelish treat.

But ultimately, price and quality of product are not enough for me. I find the experience infuriating and it is not worth my time, money and sanity just to do my nails. So after what would be my last failed appointment at my guy in the South, and a minor tantrum, I left the store and made a firm decision to choose customer experience over a low-price gelish. It will cost me much more, but I'm happy with my choice - a brand full of freshness, ready to provide me with a feeling, not just a nail treatment.

Img Pamper2

Richly multimedia experiential marketing may sound like a glamorous trend, but the core idea of customer service is a basic of branding. It is not new and marketers need to be doing it properly by now. Here are a few things I feel we shouldn't still be talking about in 2014:

  • By the customer, for the customer, through the customer - obviously, it's ALL about the customer!
  • Experiential branding - brands only make an emotional connection when they provide experiences beyond their products and services. The rest are commodities.
  • Personal service - service isn't optional
  • You're cheaper? - Okay. What else?

Most brands are more replaceable than their teams think, and those that are closer to be being irreplaceable are the ones getting customer experience right! You can't ignore the soft stuff. It really is about relationships, trust, reputation, experiences, feeling good and enabling a human connection. These are the rules of branding now, not trends that you can plan for in next year's marketing plan.

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