Let your customers be heard
There is nothing more valuable to a brand and to its prospective customers than good customer recommendations.
There is a very good
reason for this; people are reluctant to believe a company that just preaches from behind a set of sales scripts, they are looking for authenticity. And crucially, placing the customer at the centre of your brand not only communicates real brand stories;
it demonstrates the importance you place
on the very people that rely on your products and associated services.
Here’s the thing, it actually works. The late David
Ogilvy, one of the greats of the American advertising
industry had this to say... “You should always include
testimonials; the reader finds it easier to believe the
endorsement of a fellow consumer”. Back then Ogilvy
was talking about print advertising, but the principles
remain the same today across the numerous channels
available to brands.
So, we’re all agreed, using customer testimonials is a
good thing. It’s worked pretty well for years. But let’s
be clear as with all brand activities you only get out
what you put in. Unfortunately this is where so many
brands get it wrong.
But what does getting it right actually look like when
we apply the power of customer testimonials to your
First and foremost, extraordinary brands put
people first. Moreover, they engage with people
at an emotional level. Living up to brand values
and promises during each “Moment of Truth”
during the customer journey builds long-term
loyalty. This in turn increases the likelihood of
your customer recommending you. If you are
keeping to your end of the bargain the chances
are they’ll be happy to share their relationship
with your brand.
All brand experiences need to be designed.
Create a look and feel for your campaign that
works both online and offline. Go a bit left field
behind a powerful, single-minded idea that
stands out for its inventive approach.
For example, would you think of creating a customer testimonial campaign for a market-leading tractor brand based on healthy eating? We introduced the “Your Five-A-Day” customer testimonial campaign for Fendt, which featured customers from five agricultural sectors. The campaign was a big hit with Fendt’s dealers as the associated sales kit presented them with a totally new way of approaching customers. Doors were opened and sales increased as a result. As a footnote to this example it’s also worth mentioning that because of the time put into each video the stories were interesting enough for Farming Sunday to approach Fendt for permission to use the Five-A-Day video content. Each video
was shown during a series of programmes aired on Sky TV.
As we know, the best way to judge a company is when things aren’t going to plan. Nothing is perfect, machines breakdown, parts become lost in transit etc. Be humble, let your customers talk about their problems, you got them fixed after all and that’s what your potential customers want to know.
It may be that multiple stakeholders use your products for specialist work. Could you involve your customer, their customer and maybe your product specialists too? Complex projects presented as a case study brings numerous people together all talking about the success of their project and ultimately the contribution made by your product and expertise.
Your customers won’t all be living in one part of the country; they may even be global. Widen your net and capture a cross section of customer experiences with different business models, diverse challenges and in a variety of conditions. Look to gather insights and not just observations - are there useful customer hints and tips that can be communicated at the same time?
Be under no illusion, customer testimonials are not simply a periodic box ticking exercise for CRM. You must be planning to gather material all the time. A new customer, unusual orders, returning customers and complex projects to name but a few, the source is endless. Make sure you are planning to talk to your customers regularly; they are your best sales people.
The automotive business is a people business. Take care of people first; build deep personal relationships by treating your customers as unique individuals. CRM is great, but don’t hide behind a set of bland generic communications expecting all and sundry to reach out to you. It’s those brands that engage with customers and build exceptional relationships that will be
Fundamentally, these are part of the criteria we apply, the questions we ask of our clients and ourselves when we follow the “Square Route” the three stage branding process we use to create extraordinary brands. Unleash the power of your customers and start thinking about what they can do for you.