The Marketing Strategist:
How to Ensure Customers Will Remember You
Want to be remembered? Create an emotional connection.
Emotion in marketing is not just for B2C. B2B marketers can use emotion to their advantage as well. That’s exactly what HCL Technologies (HCL), ITSMA’s 2015 Marketing Excellence Award winner for Delivering an Omnichannel Experience, did. The company took an innovative approach with its brand promise and new marketing campaign, bucking the norm. It paid off—big time.
Give Employees a Brand Promise They Can Believe In
Developing a brand reputation is no easy task, especially if you are known for, well, nothing. If you sound like everyone else, it’s time to go to the source. Ask your customers to tell you, in their own words, what they believe your key strengths are. Then get your employees to buy in.
HCL conducted research with its customers to unveil its true differentiators. Customers told HCL that it wasn’t what they provided, but how they provided it. Customers recognized that HCL goes above and beyond to build and maintain relationships, even treating the customer’s business as its own. That’s one reason HCL’s business continued to grow, even during the 2008 recession.
The research also uncovered other core strengths. HCL narrowed them down and obtained internal agreement. Marketing asked employees for their input on which of the identified strengths they believed best represented the company. HCL made sure the brand promise was one that sales and other customer-facing employees would stand behind and could communicate consistently with conviction. Getting that internal buy-in before it publically announced the new brand was critical to success.
Create an Emotional Connection
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” HCL took this approach in its unified messaging campaign Relationship Beyond the Contract, which reflects its commitment to customer relationships. It created an emotional short video documenting a father-son relationship to showcase its message—that every relationship has a contract, but true joy and memorability of that relationship sprout only from moments in which it goes beyond the contract.
The message was not about the usual stuff—technology, business or industry issues, or market trends. It was simply about the importance of the relationship.
A Brand Is Only as Good as its Ambassadors.
Training is a must so that employees can consistently communicate the brand and avoid misinterpretation. For HCL this meant training all sales, delivery, pre-sales, support, and senior leadership. To keep training exciting, HCL got creative. First, it created an automated training module to combat the two major hurdles associated with training: availability and attention span. By automating the training process, HCL made it easier to deliver rich training content around the clock and on demand while cutting down travel time and budgets.
Further, all salespeople were required to become certified in Relationship Beyond the Contract. Salespeople achieved certification by passing an exhaustive online quiz, which itself was a detailed training session.
HCL’s meticulous approach to training ensured that employees could fully represent the meaning of Relationship Beyond the Contract.
Take a Chance and Tell Your Story in a New Way.
HCL went out on a limb, butting directly against the technology industry norm in a cold B2B IT space. Yet it succeeded. The Relationship Beyond the Contract campaign created interest, buzz, and discussion. The business impact is undeniable: a differentiated message, improved brand favorability, and increased website visits, impressions, and percentage of deals won.
For more information about HCL Technologies and ITSMA’s prestigious Marketing Excellence Awards, click here.