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Monday, May 22, 2006

Good Performance Is No Longer Enough

In bookstores Gallup Press, "Married to the Brand: Why Consumers Bond With Some Brands for Life," by William J. McEwen, draws on more than 60 years of research from The Gallup Organization to examine how and why we connect to the products we use and the brands we buy.

So why is this important for organizational performance?

This research demonstrates that customer satisfaction is woefully insufficient when the goal is an ongoing exclusive relationship between a customer and a brand.

"Good" performance is no longer enough, and one purchase in no way guarantees that another will follow.

Instead, an enduring (lasting) relationship between a company and a customer has four prerequisites. Together, these add up to an emotional connection that is both powerful and profitable:

  • Confidence: Customers must feel that a brand is one they can always trust and one that will always deliver on whatever it promises.
  • Integrity: Customers must feel that the brand treats them fairly -- as they've earned the right to be treated. And they must believe that the company stands resolutely behind its products and services. They must feel that if a problem ever arises, the company will fix it.
  • Pride: Customers must feel proud to be associated with the brand -- proud to be known as a brand owner, shopper, or user. They must be convinced that the brand and its representatives will always treat them with respect.
  • Passion: The customer must feel that the brand is irreplaceable in their lives and represents a perfect fit with their needs, whether those needs are tangible or intangible. In fact, they should feel that their world really wouldn't be the same without it.
BOTTOMLINE: These four aspects of an enduring customer relationship must be reinforced wherever, whenever, and however companies touch their customers. At its very core, however, the relationship between a brand and its buyers is visceral and emotional. It derives not just from the product and its features, but from the experience that surrounds its purchase and use.
It is a continual reminder to ...Be Excellent™.

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