Yes, it is important. Word of mouth is critical, “buzz” is better than advertising; referrals are very, very profitable. However, it is time to recognize this conversation is taking a new, more important step to a higher level of consumer consciousness.
Better Question: what does your product say about your customer?
This will be a critical marketing focus over the next 2 years with big rewards for early adopters. Pay attention
Starbucks is a great example with their new “It is not just Coffee. It is Starbucks.” advertising campaign.
Early on h Shultz realized when people bought Starbucks they were buying more than coffee. They were making a $5 luxury purchase. Ordinary parents could be cool arriving at a soccer game with a Starbucks or be a venti glamorous if they carried the Starbucks logo on their morning stroll into the office. It’s just not the same thing with a Dunkin Donuts Styrofoam cup.
For the past couple of decades, Starbucks helped create a culture of conspicuous consumption (buying to be seen) and celebrity around their product and it worked magically.
Today, however, the brain trust at Starbucks realizes conspicuous consumption is out and conscientious consumption (buying to be heard) is in. They will spend hundreds of millions on their advertising campaign to change the focus from conspicuous to conscientious by letting consumers now tell a different story about themselves.
Did you know that Starbucks supports green causes across the country, supports Fair Trade coffee through out the world, partners with Conservation International and provides healthcare for every employee working 20 hours per week? You can be a part of that for your $5 late.
Knowing that, now allows you to feel good about Starbucks because you can tell yourself a story about how you are willing to spend a little extra to care for others across the globe, our environment and provide healthcare for a needy barista, just by enjoying a cup of coffee. How generous, how thoughtful… everybody wins.
The Starbucks ads are brilliant and will work because they tell an authentic story about a good corporate citizen that happens to serve damn good coffee.
What story will you let me tell myself?
Why is your car wash better for the local environment than washing in the driveway?
What does your restaurant do with left over food?
How does your summer camp help those in need of tuition assistance?
How does your pizzeria help local fund raising efforts?
How do you help employees donate company time for charity?
Yes, we are in a tight economy, people are cutting back everywhere. Do not focus on lowering your prices or cutting back on service. Focus on educating your customers about the good works you do and how they can tell themselves a feel good story just because they do business with you.
This is big. Start working on your story today.