Blazing a trail: Brand evangelism at scale

Blazing a trail: Brand evangelism at scale
As Chief Marketing Officer for Salesforce in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Guillaume is passionate about technology’s role in enabling brands to connect with customers in personalised, impactful ways never before possible. He believes that in the not too distant future, people can expect one-to-one personalised experiences with all of the brands in their lives. Guillaume’s unique perspective is informed by his rich experience, which combines technology, business operations and marketing; having started as a developer at IBM, Guillaume then transitioned to product management with a ten-year tenure at Microsoft, before moving to Salesforce. Guillaume holds a master’s degree from ESCP Europe.

We all have our list of favourite, go-to brands – those companies that we’d never stray from. It’s incredible how they take us on a path from casual customer to being so fiercely loyal that we find ourselves preaching to others about how amazing their product or service is.

One of my personal favourites that I always talk about is SuitSupply, mostly because I struggle to find the time to shop. SuitSupply takes away the stress of shopping with their level of personal, smart, social service delivered on WhatsApp – my channel of choice.

It means that they’re always on hand to help me with any last-minute style needs and are even sometimes a step ahead of me with recommendations on the latest trends I may be interested in. Their service is so good that I find myself constantly recommending their service to friends and colleagues.

Building large-scale evangelism

This is brand evangelism – the Holy Grail for a business.

However, in today’s hyper connected world, how can companies reach this higher level of engagement with their customers? I believe the answer lies in developing a marketing strategy that takes advantage of data analytics to help you personalise the customer experience and build brand evangelism at scale.

If you work in marketing you’ve no doubt heard of the phrases ‘one-to-many’ and ‘one-to-one’ marketing. There have been many articles written as to why one approach is better than the other. In my opinion, today’s best marketing strategies add another layer – the ‘many to many’ communications. And, by effectively combining all three, marketer can build a sustainable following of brand evangelists.

The ‘one-to-many’ approach is the first phase of your marketing strategy. It’s where you create awareness of your product or service among many people, often through advertising. Once you’ve communicated your offering and identified prospective customers you can then move into ‘one-to-one’ marketing. This is a much more tailored approach and allows you to create more personalised engagements with your customers by using data to build a 360-degree view.

sustaining and building a growing community of evangelists can be tricky as it requires customer personalisation at scale

We know from our own research that customers expect seamless, personalised experiences, across different channels, and devices. They want to feel valued and if they subscribe to a brand’s e-newsletter or engage with them on social they want the marketing content to also be personalised. One-to-one marketing is all about creating a culture where every customer feels like they matter and that they’re treated like family.

It’s here that brand loyalty is created and where many companies consider they’ve executed a successful strategy. This used to be the case but now, in order to beat the competition, brands need to go one step further and turn their loyal fans into evangelists. This is ‘many-to-many’ marketing where customers start engaging with others in the same community to share positive information and content. Essentially they’re spreading the word about the company – something that’s become more important because of the rise of social media and the trust consumers place in word-of-mouth recommendations.

Sustaining and building a growing community of evangelists can be tricky as it requires customer personalisation at scale but that’s where cloud technology can help. Mattel is a great example, because as a children’s toy company, their customers have a strong emotional investment in their purchases and therefore expect a flawless customer experience.

The challenge for Mattel though is keeping their customer’s children engaged with the brand. Today, Mattel has its customer data fully available and can create an exciting connected customer journey across all devices and through multiple brands – exactly what their customers want.

This connected journey is becoming a real differentiator for Mattel. Using a whole host of channels from emails to wechat, Mattel can keep customers engaged long after they make their purchase.

Using purchase data, they are able to drive an experience based on a customer’s preferences that makes them want to try new brands as their children’s interests evolve. This has led to Mattel customers creating their own community where they share their experiences and toy recommendations online, increasing the company’s potential customer base.

Shared experiences

Brand evangelism is also important in the B2B world too.

Take Salesforce, the company I work for, as an example. Our own big global events such as Dreamforce and the World Tour series are real-life examples of our community and customers coming together. What’s incredible is that our customers can tell the story for us in-person and on social, unprompted.

It’s by sharing their experiences with other customers, prospects and partners that our customers can create an impact that we could never do through our own marketing. Their passion is part of what makes our events and products so unique. This then plays out on social media, where attendees enthuse about what they’re seeing and experiencing onsite – making a virtual community that can “be part of the magic” no matter where they might physically reside.

technology makes connecting and amplifying experiences more effective than ever before

For Salesforce, the most important thing is that we help our customers share their stories by creating the right forum and helping connect our prospects to the customers that they can learn the most from.

We use data analytics to ensure the events are tailored and personalised to attendees at every touch point, from registration to post-event, with the most relevant content, sessions and stories suggested to attendees. Once they’re connected, we know our whole “Ohana” – including our customers – will do the rest!

Cultivating these kinds of relationships comes right back to putting the customer at the centre of everything you do.

Technology makes connecting and amplifying experiences more effective than ever before, and data analysis and insight ensures that customer information can continually provide personalised experiences, special offers and an exceptional level of service.

And have I mentioned that SuitSupply makes me look great?


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