Passion for the Experience
Off soon to a Club Med I was reflecting on why Club Med had been such a successful brand for so long, and what sets it apart. It occurred to me that Club Med has the right mix of experience for its customers and has evolved with time to profitably meet the changing needs of those customer's.
So, what precisely does it have? What makes a brand like Club Med so successful and what can we learn for every brand?
Club Med has
- a specific and replicable set of values and processes brought to life wherever a customer goes. This is much like McDonald's where people have reliable and constant knowledge in a brand's product that is trustworthy worldwide;
- employees who 'walk the talk' and deliver the ultimate experience their customer's seek; and
- the ability to suggest and solicit loyalty and return purchases by always delivering the promise.
Similarly this week in Professional Marketing Magazine I read about the success of Berkelouw Books, a family owned business spanning six generations. Built by Solomon Berkelouw from Rotterdam he had a passion for books and a focus on his customers experience from the start. Unfortunately his bookselling career came to a sudden and unfortunate end. On a late winter's afternoon, with snow falling thickly all around, Solomon attempted to cross an icy plank that connected a customer's ship to the wharf. Halfway up, he lost his footing and fell into the freezing water. Before anyone could fetch help he drowned, his jute-bag full of books sinking with him to the bottom of the icy harbour.
Today Berkelouw Books is Australia's largest rare and antiquarian, secondhand, and new bookseller and they have evolved to me even more. They talk of experience, presenting wine bars, cafe lounges, and other in-store experiences including selling other, related items such as candles to fulfil their customer's needs and provide the ultimate fulfilling experience.
They reflect on themselves as follows; "Books are our passion as well as our business and it is always a pleasure to meet customers who share our love of books. Come in, meet with friends, soak up the atmosphere, and spend as much time as you like browsing through the collection. Thus the romance of books is engendered. Thus too, the association of books and Berkelouw continues. An old and fruitful tree of Rotterdam, Holland, now firmly planted in the soil of Australia." The feeling of pride and emotion is evident.
Bain & Company reveal just how commonly companies misread the market. They surveyed 362 firms and found that 80 percent believed they delivered a "superior experience" to their customers. But when they asked customers about their own perceptions, they found that they rated only 8 percent of companies as truly delivering a superior experience.
So what sets the elite 8 percent apart? They take a distinctively broad view of the customer experience. Unlike most companies, which reflexively turn to product or service design to improve customer satisfaction, the leaders pursue three imperatives simultaneously:
- They design the right offers and experiences for the right customers.
- They deliver these propositions by focusing the entire company on them with an emphasis on cross-functional collaboration.
- They develop their capabilities to please customers again and again—by such means as revamping the planning process, training people in how to create new customer propositions, and establishing direct accountability for the customer experience.
These are great planks for all marketing folk to consider for their brands. What are you doing today for your customers, because as ever, it's all about the customer and their experience of you. As the saying goes, brands are built in the minds of the customer.