Do Customers Have Relationship With Brands?
Do Customers Have Relationship With Brands?
A brand is often termed as a limited definition of a product. A company creates a brand name, comes up with ways of marketing its brand, transmits it to potential target market, and relates it to its business identity or a number of goods and services. The brand thus makes an organization, a product or a service recognized.
This though is a limited view of brand. Today, brands are not just a name; it is an experience the company produces for its customers. An experience, which is unforgettable and helps, build a relationship between the brand and the customer. In this era, where marketers are trying to find out ways to improve customer loyalty, the fact that customers build relationships with brands is not something elusive. Marketers and brand managers must realize the importance of customer- brand relationships and come up with innovative methods to make such relationships stronger.
I would like to give examples in order to argue for the above stated suggestions. The examples include one brand each from two product categories that is; AT&T (product category: cell phone) and 20th Century Fox (product category: movie studios).
Brands and Relationships Go Hand in Hand
Relationships cannot be forced on consumers. Brands earn and nurture these relationships for the organization (Peppers & Rogers, 2004). Customers are aware when there exists a relationship between them and the brand. A good relationship is one in which a customer is even willing to pay a higher price for the brand because he drives satisfaction from the relationship he has with it.
A genuine relationship is more emotional then functional. It can be characterized by terms such as trust, loyalty, dependability, affection etc. These emotional relationships always pay back more then the functional ones. When this emotional association is strong and genuine, a customer is more likely to remain a customer for many years. The customer then allocates a major share of his spending to the brand, is less cost conscious and is likely to suggest the particular brand to friends and family.
How AT&T Manages Its Customer Relationships
AT&T is the largest provider of telephone services and internet connections and also the second largest cell phone operator in the U.S. AT&T has a very large customer base but with competitors in the market the organization always has to come up with strategies to retain customers. For example management is provided with solutions that help them better track deals with customers. They also have a wireless CRM database with which data is accurately entered in real time during a transaction and helps sales and account officers to have better access to customer information (AT&T, 2009). AT&T better retains customers, cross sells to current customers and notifies customers with the help of an integrated, wireless communication system. It also outsources its customer care operations in order to develop and build new customer relationship strategies, integrate channels of interaction with its customers and find processes and solutions to improve efficiency in this area (Linder & Cantrell, 2002). By providing services such as enterprise hosting, intelligent content distribution, ultra available computing in the internet sector and connectivity and user friendly services in the telecom sector, AT&T rules the hearts of its customers and makes them loyal to the brand.
How 20th Century Fox Builds Customer Relations
20th century fox is one of the major American film studios. Since 1935, the studios have been producing a diverse range of movies catering to all ages and all tastes. This varied range of movies is made to cater to all type of customer and viewer base that the studio has. This factor has increased it fan following a lot over the years.
The 20th century fox’s creative website helps them better understand customer needs and devise sophisticated customer relationship management techniques. It also helps the company carry out online marketing activities and keep its customers up to date about the upcoming attractions and movies. The site also provides increased understanding with the intended audience by using creative and interactive database driven flash animation. The site even offers cool downloads and previews of movies in cinema and blue ray versions.
The movies produced by the studios area source of good quality home and cinematic amusement. 20th century fox always goes an extra mile to capture audience by producing the best quality movies in the industry.
There is no doubt that with the passage of time one develops a loyalty with the brand one uses. This loyalty grows even stronger when there is a favorable response form the organizations side. Getting new customers is not difficult, retaining them and building loyalty is the point.
Brand managers and marketers must understand the importance of such relationships. They should be aware of the fact that brands represent the organization. For the customer a brand is an experience, an experience with the organization and this experience should make as favorable and pleasant as it could be in order to retain customers. This notifies the customer that the brand values the relationship made by the customer.
20th Century Fox. 2009. From webpage www.fox.co.uk
AT&T Solutions. 2009. From webpage www.at&t.com
Peppers, D. and Rogers, M. 2004. Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework. Published by John Wiley and Sons.
Linder, J. and Cantrell, S. 2002. Managing Your Customer Relationships with Business Process Outsourcing. Retrieved on March 13, 2009 from http://www.accenture.com/NR/rdonlyres/31A43627-BC6B-44B2-90CE-A8E3B8FA2F47/0/ManageCRMwithBPO.pdf