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Who is THE Expert?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Many brands employ experts. The design expert, the product expert, and even the branding expert. Each provides their own perspective, helping the brand to achieve success in some part of the business. However, the question still remains: what makes someone an expert? Are these experts providing the right information to help the brand be better than the next? Those are the expert questions that need to be answered in order for this strategy to work.

Many brands, no matter what the strategy, test-drive these ideas with their own customers. It’s like a brand gut check and most brands can’t live without it. Through this process, some brands have discovered that a high-priced expert is not what they need, but instead the customers provide that value for them. In addition, many brands are shifting to a model where real customers become the experts and this turns the whole idea upside down. But it works. And if it works, brands move forward.

Then there are some brands that come up with a great idea and just move forward. Maybe they think it’s simple enough; maybe they think it makes sense or that it just can’t fail. But without doing a check, a real customer check it can fall flat. Sorry JCPenney, but right now you are this brand. New CEO Ron Johnson recently explained his surprise when the brand changed its known method of business. JCPenney recently tried a new idea that simply offered a great price to customers, sans coupons. The brand announced it and marketed it and yet it failed. Why? Because the customers are the expert. And they want what they want. Too bad the brand didn’t ask the expert.

The lesson here is to understand how to prevent an injury like this to any brand. A good idea can be just that, an idea, but without backing from the true experts there’s no telling how far it will go. Sure, a brand may be able to execute it and it works on paper, but if customers say no, that’s the final answer. Just don’t forget to ask them first.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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