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Where’s Your Brand When the S#!% Hits the Fan?
By: Ted Curtin
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It’s easy to be good when everything is going right. You’re providing a service or selling a product that your customers value. If you treat clients well, they’ll come back. Exceed their expectations and they’ll likely share with their friends and connections. But if you really want to be valuable and stand out from the competition, you’ll be someone they turn to in a time of need.

There are many ways to be resourceful to your customers. Usually those are directly related to your product or service, but often the best chances to meaningfully connect lie within peripheral or indirect opportunities. Mobile web tools and apps give marketers the ability to transcend the normal channels to make a difference in many aspects of the lives of customers. Think about a tire company that touts the fuel efficiencies of their tire line. Since their customers likely care about saving money on gas, maybe a location-based app that directs them to the least expensive local gas station is that just-in-time key to providing additional engagement and reinforcing their brand’s value proposition.

The beauty about mobile is its ever-present proximity to your target audience. Always on, always connected, and always within an arm’s reach. The marketing power and potential is unprecedented. You can use this channel to reach, connect and engage your audience at just about any stage of the customer decision journey or sales funnel, but to the user, it’s simply a tool.

Have you ever panicked in a situation where your flight was cancelled and you were stuck in a connecting city far from home? How about an airline app that aggregates local airport hotels, pricing, and reviews in case of a flight cancellation — regardless of which carrier you’re booked on?

Consider Weber, the popular brand of outdoor gas and charcoal barbeque grills. To stay connected with their customers outside the purchase cycle, which may only occur once every five to seven years, they created Weber’s “On the Grill” app, with suggested safe cooking temps and times that users can access in a pinch as well as tasty recipes, grocery lists, and even how-to videos.

Even when you remove the urgency, there’s still value in being useful and relevant to your customers. How about the bank that offers customers a web-based tool to track not just the account relationships with that institution, but all of the customer’s deposit, loan, credit card, and other financial accounts on one platform so they can better manage their money? That bank has positioned themselves as a resource to the client, regardless of the location of accounts. They now have an opportunity for the relationship to grow and expand so the client will see them as more than just their primary banking institution; they will see them as a consumer-friendly resource to help achieve their financial goals.

Maybe it’s information, directions, or recommendations. Maybe it’s a web-based tool, or a mobile app. Whatever assistance your customers’ need, either you’ll be an asset and helpful solution, or your competition will be.

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About the Author
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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