Branders: don't wait for your customers to make a racket

cute white bunny with carrotMy mother has an irresistibly cute pet rabbit named Bandit. She’s trained him to perform a few tricks, and it turns out that he’s much smarter than anyone thought. Each day at 3:00pm, Bandit expects a baby carrot. And if a carrot isn't promptly provided at the appointed time, he makes enough racket in his cage that he can’t be ignored.

In short order, the tardy carrot is delivered, accompanied by soft words and some pats on Bandit’s head.

The bunny has been trained—but he’s trained my mother, too.

Bandit has a powerful message for branders: you’ve created a promise your customers expect you to keep. Fulfill those expectations and they’ll be loyal. But stop listening at your own peril.

As you plan for your brand’s future, take time to stop and listen. Use a combination of surveys, focus groups and social media listening for insights into your present and your tomorrow.

Here are 3 areas that should be examined regularly.

1. employee listening
Give employees a chance to help you work on business challenges you’re trying to solve. Find out:cute white bunny with carrot 1Who's training who? Bandit gets a carrot at 3:00pm.

  • what they love about your brand
  • what would make them love your brand more
  • what they need to do their jobs better
  • when they recommend you as an employer of choice
  • what they see that your customers need

2. customer listening
They love you already, and they want a relationship. They'll tell you:

  • what they love about your brand
  • what would make them love your brand more
  • what irks them
  • where your brand falls short
  • what unmet needs you can fill
  • when they recommend you to others
  • whether you’re their exclusive go-to or if they also buy from your competitors

3. supplier listening
They bring a unique perspective because they probably supply your competitors, too. Ask them:

  • what they love about your brand
  • what irks them
  • where your brand falls short
  • when they recommend your brand to others
  • when they recommend other brands instead
  • what others are saying in the marketplace

Problems—like rabbits—multiply fast. Don’t relegate this work to a once-yearly or every other year activity. Things can change so quickly that if you fall behind, it’s costly to catch up.

Carrot or stick?
Your customers are telling you what they want and need. Are you listening? If you’ve forgotten them entirely, they’ll make enough noise to really beat up your reputation. If you change or evolve to meet their needs they’ll reward you with love and loyalty.

Hop to it! For help building a better marketing and brand strategy, call Martha Bartlett Piland direct: 785.969.6203, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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