First, corporate greed, “miracle cures,” PR spin and false advertising have eroded trust. Second, many brands are competing for customer attention (and customers have become excellent at ignoring marketing). Third, even superior products don’t necessarily succeed.
“To survive,” says Rohit, “you’ve got to get people to like you.”
How? Here are five principles Rohit recommends to make customers like you:
Principle 1: Show the truth
One of the most in-demand budget hostels in Amsterdam uses the slogan: “Proudly disappointing customers for 40 years.”
If that wasn’t enough, the hostel even touts its runny eggs and lack of amenities.
How does it remain so popular? Rohit said the slogan does the opposite of sugarcoating; instead, it appeals to what the hostel’s target audience (backpackers) want most: a story to tell their friends and family.
Principle 2: Tell purposeful stories
Lynda Resnick, the co-owner of POM Wonderful and Fiji Water brands, did something seemingly crazy.
She paid $211,000 at auction for the fake pearls Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore in many iconic photos. But in the end, it was worth every penny and more.
Lynda replicated the fake pearls and sold thousands of them, making millions.
“Once Linda had the true replica, it made a difference because people bought into the story,” Rohit said.
Principle 3: Be unselfish
Often, a company solicits success stories from their customers and yet requires them to fill out a number of fields, including unreasonable requests like fax numbers.
“We’re asking for unreasonable stuff because we’re being selfish,” Rohit said. “If we can be unselfish, it actually makes a powerful difference.”
Weber Grills allowed Rohit to choose between gas and charcoal by providing a simple PDF questionnaire for discovering what he most wanted.
Once Rohit completed the checklist, he brought it into a local dealer and was directed straight to the Weber model that matched his preferences.
“They have no idea what my fax number is,” Rohit said. “But they still made the sale.”
Principle 4: Keep it simple
Often times, the solutions to your problems are simple. We tend to stand in our own way by overcomplicating.
Going viral would be great, but it’s nearly impossible. Zildjian, a cymbal manufacturer, knew this and never even bothered to try.
Instead, it posted video reviews for each individual cymbal they sell, few of which have more than 1,000 views.
They’ve created more than 6,000 videos, though, earning millions of views and dominating their niche market.
Principle 5: Respect timing
Domino’s Pizza recently launched a campaign where it acknowledged the poor quality of its pizza and showed how they fixed it, turning around its sales.
How can a local pizza parlor compete with an ad campaign that cost millions of dollars? React in the moment.
One pizza parlor put up a billboard that read: “We’ve never had to change our recipe. Because it never sucked.”
“This succeeds because it’s the right timing,” Rohit said.
Image: Divya Ooi