Want to grow your brand? Enrich the rituals

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Rob DaltonSMALLEvery day, your customers are bombarded with countless new product introductions, ad messages, testimonials, social media, news alerts and other sources of information (like this article).  For marketers, “cutting through the clutter” has become the rally cry of the day, yet Americans are increasingly immune to even the most well-crafted and richly funded communications. Simply communicating brand values, or product features and benefits often stops short of winning and sustaining business. Of course, others before me have made this declaration, but few have yet to offer a reasonable and effective solution. May I suggest the real marketing challenge is not about interrupting or persuading your prospective customers…. but instead, becoming so valuable you ATTRACT them with exceptional quality, function, price and like-ability. How? By ENRICHING THE RITUALS.

We all have daily rituals. This morning my rituals included walking and feeding the dog, taking a shower, eating yogurt, stopping by my local coffee shop, checking my emails and social media sites. Rituals allow us to go through our day without making more decisions than we have to. In other words, we try stuff and repeat what works. Every ritual mentioned above involved a repeat purchase. In one hour I interacted with no less than 20 brands including dog food, shampoo, soap, clothing, shoes, yogurt, car, music, coffee and more.

I believe one of the biggest opportunities to advance a brand, change behaviors and drive business, lies in the practice of enriching the rituals. By bringing more power, ease-of-use, value, enjoyment, style, comfort, safety, effectiveness, etc. into these rituals, your brand will become more attractive and valuable to your customers…. And they will reward your efforts by buying from you AND by telling others about their experience.

Of course, enriching the rituals is not limited to consumer brands. B2B companies have customers who practice the rituals of researching new solutions, specifying and ordering products, receiving training, engaging customer service and so on.

Uponor, a manufacturer of PEX tubing used in residential and commercial plumbing and heating systems enriches customer interactions at every turn. By putting customers first, they’ve built a reputation for stellar service, training, design assistance and problem solving. A small sign posted at every visitor parking spot reads, “We’re glad you’re here,” signaling from the moment they arrive, every visitor can count on personal attention and genuine care.

Grundfos, a manufacturer of commercial and industrial pumps has taken the ritual of internet-based training to a new level with their recently launched Ecademy. This free website opens by asking each visitor to state their role in the building and construction industry so the information they receive will be customized for their needs. Its rich content, including videos, slideshows and interactive tools provide unmatched, easy-to-access technical information before, during and after the purchase process.

Both of these brands, one high touch, the other high tech, understand the rituals involved in customer interaction… and enriched them to a level that effectively differentiates their respective companies.

By all means, cut through the clutter and communicate what makes your brand and products special. But don’t stop there. Leverage your brand by enriching the rituals watch your business grow.

Rob Dalton is president and lead consultant rob@daltonsherman.com. Dalton Sherman Brand Catalyst helps brands stand out, work harder and earn bigger marketing dividends. Visit online at www.daltonsherman.com.

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