Wednesday evening, Jim Joseph, President of Lippe Taylor, and the author of The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience , joined public relations students, professionals and educators for a Twitter based discussion regarding how using public relations creates a better brand experience. Here is an overview of the takeaways Joseph shared during the dynamic twitter chat.
How does PR contribute to a customer experience that builds loyalty? PR is about relationships WITH consumers, not talking at them. We know conversations build relationships, not just creative that builds attention. That’s why PR should own social media- about relationships and conversations. Loyalty is an everyday dialogue, not an occasional message
What tools can you use to understand your target audience and to engage more effectively? Social Media is one of the best tools to get to know your audience- and it’s free. Follow your target audience on Facebook- you’ll learn more than any focus group! Blogs too- see what’s written and what’s commented. Key to learning is following comments- on blogs, in reviews, on Facebook. Survey current customers- either online, in store over the phone– however you can reach them. Social media tools are especially effective for small business – small research budgets. Pick a few target consumers and follow them for the day – physically and virtually – with permission. Go to the stores where they shop – at the point of decision.
How can PR and marketing help companies create a brand experience that resonates? The key is consistency with the rest of the marketing program to have a good effective conversation. PR can add personality and direct dialogue to the marketing effort. I find that PR is the best part of the experience- more so than advertising, website, radio, etc. Many say that it’s PR, especially social media, that IS the brand experience. It’s only good storytelling if your consumers care and if it adds value to their lives.
What are favorite examples of companies with strong and consistent branding? I would add the “ability to evolve” to strong and consistent.
· J Crew is all over my book- incredibly consistent experience from touchpoint to touchpoint.
· Lady Gaga- not just a marketer, but a brand! Strong and Consistent!
· Nike- strong and consistent brand experience
· Paula Deen, not so much!
· I used to think The Today Show, but no longer- they have lost their strength and consistency
· State Farm
· Starbucks had a chance and still strong, but not consistent.
· Disney – theme parks, movies, tv shows, merchandise– all about magic
How do you root the brand in the customer’s lifestyle to satisfy needs? By being in their lives on their terms, when they need you; by constantly evolving with their needs ala Betty White. Think about them, not you. You have to make sure you are helping, adding value to their lives, otherwise they turn you off …
What communications touch points engage customers the most? It depends on the customer and how they live their lives. I’ve seen touchpoints in gyms that are more relevant than advertising or PR. The best touchpoint is the one that bumps into your consumer at the time they might consider you. Advertising can still be a great mass touchpoint. We will eventually live in an all mobile world. Not yet though. Let’s remember that not all our consumers are app-friendly or even mobile friendly.
With respect to branding, how do personal experiences shape perception?
Personal experiences are the perception – how many times has a bad customer experience turned you off of a good brand? How we interact with a brand ourselves, does in fact become the brand. Personal experiences that we share with friends become their perceptions as well. Great product with a bad experience = unacceptable brand.
I trust my friends more than your PR team. If they have a bad experience, that’s hard to overcome. When the experience gets better and netter over time, you’ve got a chance at loyalty. How many of you have dropped a great product because of a bad experience? Happens in restaurants all the time. When a customer has a consistently good experience, they become an advocate for how others perceive the brand.
What advice would you give to PR students & pros about creating a better brand experience?
The first step is to know your consumer. The second step is to know what you, as a brand, are capable of offering them. Build the experience on their terms. Authentic has become such a buzzword, and cost of entry, but that’s a key ingredient. Get into their lives and add value, like Starbucks has for so many. Try to mirror the lives of your customers as much as possible in the identity of your brand, Marketing is a spectator sport- observe, learn, reapply. Surround yourself by people smarter than you. Do good work and learn from it.
What are the secrets to finding success at a New York PR firm? Be willing to do anything to learn, Start out on a small brand, where you can play a big role. Creativity, collaboration, client service A never ending quest. Get a mentor! Make youself indespensible to the cleints. Sweat equity- don’t expect things to be handed to you, they’ll be handed to the hardest working person. Can-do attitude– clients and bosses and teammates alike adore that!
*The #PRStudChat Twitter community also added powerful contributions to the discussion. Those insights will be shared in a second post. Be sure to subscribe to the public relations examiner column so that you don’t miss out!
About Jim Joseph:
Jim Joseph is an award winning marketing professional who has specialized in helping blockbuster clients including Kellogg’s, Kraft, Cadillac, Tylenol, Clean & Clear, Aveeno, Durex, AFLAC, Ambien CR, and Wal-Mart create successful brand experiences that engage consumers and add value to their lives. His first book titled “The Experience Effect” is aimed at helping marketers build consistent brand experiences across multiple touch points.
Prior to joining Lippe Taylor, Jim started his own agency, which he later sold to Publicis and then merged it with two others to create Arc-NY, the largest integrated marketing services agency in Manhattan, at the time. He later took over Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, where he led the transformation of the agency from traditional advertising to diversified marketing.
It began with a simple question asked by Angela Hernandez, then President of PRSSA at Central Michigan University(CMU). “Is PR Right for me?”A follow up blog post by PR 2.0 expert Deirdre Breakenridgeinspired a series of direct messages on Twitter between Breakenridge and fellow PR industry pro, Valerie Simon. This was an important question and one that should be explored beyond one student or one blog post. Why not build a community to help students across the country, and even the globe, learn from the experience and perspective of industry professionals… A community where everyone can learn and grow together. Read more