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Expecting More and Expecting Less
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s no secret that all brands are different. Varying levels of success, a wide range of products and services, and marketing plans that are unique to the business. Customers know this as well. They know the difference between the Mom & Pop in their town to the international brand they see everywhere. So they have different expectations. Maybe it’s fair, maybe it’s not, but it’s the truth, and brands need to understand exactly where they fall within a customer’s mindset. Because expectations can vary greatly, so what one brand can produce, say, or do and be revered for, another brand will be criticized for. No, it’s not fair; no, there are no rules; but these are customers and what they think and do matter greatly to a brand’s success. First step? Identifying customers' expectations. A little more specific — not customers that look like brand followers, but actual brand followers. The more specific a brand can be in identifying what customers expect, the better chance they have to succeed.

That Mom & Pop shop releases a new product; customers love it, but it has some kinks. So the Mom & Pop continues to update and change to get it right for the customers. All in all, it’s a positive experience for both the brand and the customer. Apple does the same thing. Launches a new product — iPhone, iPod, etc. — but it has some hiccups. Unfortunately, customers react much differently in this scenario. And not in a positive way. Customers expect the Apples of the world to have product launches buttoned up. They have the time, money, and resources for testing, technology, and launches, so in a customer’s mind anything less than perfect is, well, annoying.

As a brand it’s important to determine where the business falls for customers. Many times it’s easy to identify expectations if you are the Apple or the Mom & Pop, but anywhere in the middle gets a little blurry. It’s still important for success. So ask customers; force them to tell you what works for them in this relationship, what will make them smile, and what will make them turn away. The more info the better. At the next encounter, the brand will know exactly what to bring with no surprises hiding around the corner.

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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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