Using Your Customers To Drive Your Brand Strategy

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As strategy and marketing chief for the fastest-growing women's health media company today, EmpowHER Media's Thom Brodeur addresses the role of the customer in shaping, driving and measuring your brand strategy. Going beyond the notion of users and customers as brand ambassadors and evangelists, this session looks at users and customers as architects, co-pilots, and collaborators in creating, achieving and measuring the outcome.

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  • TB, Executive VP and CMO EmpowHER is an award-winning health media company for women The only network of sites dedicated exclusively to women’s health and wellness. EmpowHER was started in 2007 by renowned women’s health advocate Michelle King Robson following her own debilitating struggle with a health issue, and her promise that no woman would have to go through what she did. Now, EmpowHER is a top 5 women’s health and wellness site Top 24 of all women’s lifestyle sites And top 7% of all health sites!
  • So, with that – let’s jump right into the topic at hand. First, a question. Who creates the brand strategy in your organization? CEO CMO Marketing Director Brand Manager collaborative effort within your marketing team?
  • And once your strategy is set – who determines the course, corrective tweaks and follow up? Same key players I already said?
  • Are you leveraging the right people to reach and measure your WINNING brand strategy? Times have changed – teams have changed No longer are the days when a single owner or team could dictate and push a brand strategy or marketing program. Collaboration is the key. Not just internally… but externally as well.
  • The times have changed, as I just said. It really is a new world out there. The media landscape isn’t the same as it used to be. It’s not just CHANGED forever, it’s continuously evolving, challenging marketers to keep up. Social media has leveled the play field and shifted the balance of power away from US (the company) to and to THEM – your customers. Marketers used to have a captive audience to receive communications how and when WE wanted. Not so much anymore. Our audience – the customers – they are the ones in control now, dictating to us how and when they want communications from us. And, we better listen! Marketers used to have the luxury of dictating content to the audience. Now, customers are active and louder than ever when it comes to brands. They want… no, EXPECT a dialogue This is the hardest point for some folks to realize. Brands are no longer in control of the messaging. Your brand is no longer what YOU say it is. Anyone can take control of messages now. Your brand is the hands of your customers. Your brand is what THEY say it is. Publishing used to be a significant investment. Publishing content isn’t the investment anymore – participation is the investment! Engaging in dialogue with your customers takes more than money, it takes time and knowledge and openness and willingness to just relinquish control and LISTEN and ENGAGE Information used to travel at the speed of print – well, guess what – now it’s even faster – with the click of a mouse information is published!
  • So, all of that to say this: Just to reinforce the newsflash – you’re NOT in control anymore… THEY ARE! Wouldn’t it be helpful to have them HELP YOU?
  • Gone are the days when your customers were JUST customers. 5 years ago, maybe, a customer was JUST a customer. Then with proliferation of word-of-mouth marketing, smart marketers leveraged their customers as evangelists to work on their behalf to create additional customers And now, the REALLY smart marketers will take their customers beyond evangelists, and engage them as co-pilots and architects to their brand strategy. Leveraging insights from their audience to incorporate into their marketing programs.
  • To reinforce.. customer feedback should not only be at the center of your brand strategy, but customers should be active partners in developing and adapting your strategy
  • But, with that said, how do you really connect with your customers? There is so much noise out there – between: competition, organization pressures, market standards. How do you get your customers to hear and LISTEN to you?
  • The answer: You rise above the noise NOT by being loudest – but being humble. Brand humility is the only response to a fast-changing and competitive marketplace. The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day.
  • So that means – connect with your customers not just once or twice, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. And, not as a robot!! Despite proliferation of social networks, studies show people connect more with brands that have a “real face”
  • So those interactions with your customers – they come as impressions for your brand, right? How do YOU measure these connections with your audience?
  • It used to be that measuring customer impressions were JUST by eyeballs – how many people saw your ad. Then came the rate this/rate that and thumbs up or down (“like”) this approach. Some what engaging fans… but what’s next. How do you even better measure the social sentiment of your customers? Here’s a hint – it’s not the traditional metrics…
  • It’s by tapping into your customers’ souls!!!!!!!! Go beyond the impressions …. Measure EXPRESSIONS It’s not about evangelists anymore – it’s about advocates. And how you create advocates is by tapping into their soul.
  • Brands that WIN will go beyond the metric to advocacy! Other marketers see the value of going beyond impressions – check out what they are saying: Coca-Cola’s EVP and Chief marketing and commercial officer says awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level The President and CEO of the association of national advertisers predicts that we’ll see more brands tapping into the EMOTIONAL side of consumers Brian Solis says that by increasing meaningful interaction – your customers will go beyond liking your brand, but genuinely LOVING IT
  • So, with that said, let’s take a look at what EmpowHER has done to turn our customers into advocates. How did we do it?
  • The answer is really pretty simple. We LISTENED. We not only heard what our users/audience were saying about EmpowHER. Then, we took it a step further. We not only HEARD their feedback, we incorporated that into our strategy, and we created something truly unique which I will get to momentarily.
  • When we actually listened – we learned some really powerful things about our brand.
  • Gina – Plain and simple EmpowHER saved my life Christina – What I thought was the end, was only the beginning… EmpowHER changed my life
  • MonaLou – reading an article on EmpowHER saved my loved one’s life Paula – sharing my story on EmpowHER helped me find other women in the same situation.
  • We learned that EmpowHER is truly improving, changing and even SAVING women’s lives. So, we incorporated their feedback, our audience therefore became our co-pilots that helped us architect…
  • Path to advocacy! It’s a program designed to educate, promote and also celebrate self-advocacy among female health consumers through our social community. The first part of the program is geared toward providing resources and tools that help women become better consumers of healthcare The second part is all about encouragement and recognition of women who do a great job of advocating for themselves and others
  • We also created the HER Health meter. Here at EmpowHER we measure sentiment to tap into the very soul of our customer to get to the heart of our mission – improving health and changing lives (what we’ve learned along the way is that we’ve ‘saved’ some lives too) We want to know more than just a simple “like” of a video or article on our site. We want to know if our content had an impact on your life!
  • So, with that said – how can you incorporate customer feedback into your brand strategy. Where do you go from here?
  • First. It’s about relinquishing a bit of control, and accepting you are no longer calling the shots when it comes to your brand. Your customers are.
  • Then, create conversations with your customers; don’t control them.
  • Provide content that fuels conversations. Content that your customers want that is engaging and inspires your customers to act, share, and engage with your content. Then, participate in the conversations, don’t control them.
  • Design a feedback mechanism to collect insights from your customers to incorporate into your branding efforts, and ultimately your organization. Implement a process that takes your customer sentiment and weaves it into a meaningful way back into your brand strategy.
  • And, most importantly. EVOLVE. As we’ve already discussed, the media landscape is changing, and it’s changing at a fast pace. Make sure you are not stuck in the past, and if you are not, make sure that your brand strategy is agile enough to shift with the changing landscapes and consumer demands.
  • By incorporating those steps: listening, participating, engaging, designing and evolving – you too can create MEASURABLE impact. Here at EmpowHER we MEASURE out impact against our mission EVERY DAY. Additionally, in our marketing materials – this “redefine ROI” campaign aims to get our potential clients and partners to do the same. Urging them to redefine they way they interact with their customers.
  • Are you ready for this? Listen – your customers are already empowered and connected – so why not let them help you start creating measurable impact on your brand TODAY.
  • Here’s an example of a few of the clients we’ve helped.
  • How can we help you? Questions?
  • Using Your Customers To Drive Your Brand Strategy

    1. 1. Answers. Advocacy. Community. Using Customers to Drive Your Brand Strategy June 7, 2011
    2. 2. First, a little introduction <ul><li>Thom Brodeur, Executive Vice President and CMO </li></ul><ul><li>EmpowHER is a health media company for Women </li></ul><ul><li>Only network of sites exclusively dedicated to women’s health and wellness </li></ul><ul><li>Started in 2007 by renowned women’s health advocate Michelle King Robson </li></ul><ul><li>Fastest growing in the category: </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Top 5 Top 25 Top 7% Women’s Health & Wellness Site Source: Experian Hitwise Of All Women’s Lifestyle Sites Source: Experian Hitwise (all categories) Of All Health Sites Source: Experian Hitwise
    3. 3. Brand strategy? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Who creates the brand strategy in your organization?
    4. 4. And then, what? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER And once your strategy is set – who determines the course, corrective tweaks and follow up?
    5. 5. Times have changed – teams have changed
    6. 6. It’s a new world out there … Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER The Old Way The New Way Captive audience Audience in control One-way “push” communication Two-way dialogue Brand in control of messages Anyone can take control Publishing WAS the investment Participation IS the investment ‘ Speed of print’ - FAST ‘ Speed of click’ - FASTER
    7. 7. You’re NOT in control anymore…. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER THEY ARE
    8. 8. Continuum of customer role Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Gone are the days when your customers were JUST customers…
    9. 9. Customers should be at the center of your strategy Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Customer feedback should not only be at the center of your brand strategy, but customers should be active partners in developing and adapting your strategy
    10. 10. So much noise! Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    11. 11. How do you rise above it? <ul><ul><ul><li>“ The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day .” </li></ul></ul></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER BRAND HUMILITY
    12. 12. Connect with your customer …. EVERYDAY Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    13. 13. <ul><li>How do you measure the ROI of those connections with your customers? </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    14. 14. Continuum of measuring customer impressions Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER ?
    15. 15. Go beyond the impressions, tap into your customer’s soul – and measure expressions Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER SOUL
    16. 16. Others see the value beyond impressions… Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER “ As we progress in the (economic) recovery, we expect greater use of emotional benefits by aspiring brands to drive long-term health.” ~ Bob Liodice, President & CEO of the Association of National Advertisers “ Impressions only tell advertisers the raw size of the audience. By definition, impressions are passive. They give us no real sense of engagement, and consumer engagement with our brands is ultimately what we're striving to achieve. Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level .” ~ Joe Tripodi, EVP, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at the Coca-Cola Company “ By increasing meaningful interaction , brand reach is dramatically amplified through the social effect. Your customers will not only be encouraged to “like” your brand, but genuinely love it .” ~ Brian Solis, award-winning Author, Speaker, and Principal of Altimeter
    17. 17. <ul><li>EmpowHER. A Case Study. </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    18. 18. The answer… <ul><li>We </li></ul><ul><li>listened ... </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER And then, we created…
    19. 19. <ul><li>The results of listening… </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    20. 20. <ul><li>Gina was suffering from irregular periods, heavy bleeding, </li></ul><ul><li>and severe depression. </li></ul><ul><li>Treatments did not help; came very close to taking her </li></ul><ul><li>own life. </li></ul><ul><li>Shared her story on the site, and within 24 hours she was </li></ul><ul><li>on a brighter path. </li></ul><ul><li>Her doctor is really addressing her issues and she feels </li></ul><ul><li>Gina like a new person. </li></ul>“ Plain and simple…EmpowHER saved my life.” • Christina had a complete hysterectomy in her 30’s creating a confusing path of changes to her body. • Her doctor could not give her the answers she needed. • She found the answers she needed on EmpowHER. • Christina now advocates for others and has won an award from the American Heart Association for her efforts. “ What I thought was the end, was only the beginning… EmpowHER changed my life.” Gina Member, EmpowHER Christina Member, EmpowHER
    21. 21. • MonaLou’s partner was having odd sensations in his abdomen. • Read an article on EmpowHER about the symptoms of aortic aneurysm. • His doctor who scheduled emergency surgery. • Had it burst; he would have died... Post surgery, he is a perfect picture of health. “ Reading an article on EmpowHER saved my loved one’s life.” • Went to doctor with symptoms, tested negative. • Diagnosed w/Stage IIIC Ovarian Cancer 4 months later. • Daughter Shari passed away from same condition • Needed to know she had support and could express her grief. “ Sharing my story on EmpowHER helped me find other women in the same situation.” MonaLou Member, EmpowHER Paula Member, EmpowHER
    22. 22. <ul><li>By listening, and incorporating customer feedback, our audience became our co-pilots that helped EmpowHER architect… </li></ul>Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    23. 23. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    24. 24. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    25. 25. So where do we go from here? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    26. 26. First, accept that you are no longer in control … your customers are! Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    27. 27. Spark conversations with your customers, don’t control them. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    28. 28. Provide content that your customers really want – not that you want to push. And, make it EASY to share! Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    29. 29. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Design a feedback mechanism to capture customer sentiment and incorporate it into your brand.
    30. 30. EVOLVE! Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    31. 31. Measurable Impact Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER That’s our mission! We are measuring this EVERY DAY helping us stay mission-aligned in all that we do.
    32. 32. Are you ready? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Start listening to and engaging your customers. They are already empowered and networked. Let them help you! Start creating measurable impact… TODAY!
    33. 33. Others we’ve helped. How can we help you? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER
    34. 34. Questions? Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. © 2011 EmpowHER Thom Brodeur, Executive Vice President and CMO EmpowHER [email_address]

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