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Trust is probably the most rare thing to win, in the battle of competition, where all offers seem similar and mainstream. And while there is crisis, increasing the need for security, truth and transparency, trust becomes an unavoidable fact and skill. But above all, the derivated effects on business are out of limits, when you know how mesure and class them into smart groups. Because, the more trust you give/put, the more you are opened to loyalty, and then addict to brand and consumption.

Bearing in mind these groups, means having dedicated actions, plans and tone to address and hold several kinds of relations, customized to reality of relation. Let’s have a look at these groups/segments and the fine tuning to get the best of them.

It’s interesting to capture all the intelligence and trust you can find on social networks. And the resources you can leverage to nurture the « social effect » until the snowball. Check at the profile you can pretend within the 4 frequent types of digital implements: leaders, pioneers, scholars or novices. Each of them has a level of maturity , in engagement, knowledge and practicing of social media. We know now how social media can leverage trust and foster all efforts done by traditional promotion. The more you facilitate and offer a whole environment of engaging with your customers, the more you’ll get a builded trust with communication and Q/A from all the community, whatever the group of participant you are in. And this, while we saw very different behaviors in the segments therefore, and the consequences on revenue, loyalty and trust. If we could resume in one main thinking is : « seed, nurture and enlight the social energy in your communities, they’ll give you back lots of engaged trust ». Personaly, I do agree and foster this behavior, and moreover it’s very enjoyable to work and exchange like that…Feeling and hold the happiness level in business, may drive you to a kind of bliss and lead the brand to another values’ environment.

1) Hazard and Doubt: it always starts with this…Do you, personnaly give anyone, from the beginning, trust? It’s quite rare to bring such trust, despite spend more time and experiences, with any brand. And the rule is on for business and ability to give more money. The best action you can lend to these “beginners”: meet them and know, at first sight, what they’re looking for…

2) Triers: OK, you triggered the first reaction and you maybe heard a few details about the brand or products and just want to try. It makes you a perfect segment to have a first exception experience, to go further. The next goal is not probably spend more, but first become a fan, to hold the relation and discover the next surprise. Triers deserve the best first promotion or sample, kind of you’ll never forget. It’s not a question of “a lot” but more a question of “the whaou effect”.

3) Price hunters: ready for any promotion, they seem to be real transparent with no particularly awareness for the brand but the price. They can spend an average part, according to the proportion of rebate, and are attracted by “shots”, deals anytime that “worths” it. Now you know that language can be “figures” and promotions for that kind of segment, becaude they focus their attention to consume “rebates” of the brand, anyshape they may be. So the question is right now to stay aside, feeding them with prices but tempting a subtile charling approach of storytelling around the prices’ universe. Unfortunately, Price and rebate is not a long term debate and can’t be the only message, valuating the brand. That segment can be shifted toward “pay-to-see” ones, who are more curious and can be lead to another story, deeper and less price-driven.

4) Hot shooters: the ultime and extremism verse of price hunters, they have only one advantage, in “build-measure-learn” process inspired from the lean management: speed. They trigger any promotion and jump on any opportunity to make a deal. Even if they don’t need sometimes, just to have impression to close a good deal and play the leader role. “I control and have an extreme footprint on the brand because I make it perform efforts and deals for me. But we all know there’s so many “fake deals” and the complete energy that brands are able to invest in, is just sometimes incredible…

5) Pay-to-See: They are very discret, don’t make any noise but stare at the brand like a curious thing, ready to try something, but don’t know what and how. They need some teaching steps that allow them to enter in relation, smartly and with “try-and-buy” process. Build some “games” or contest which give them an opportunity to start an interactive relation, with no mandatory transaction. They will decide if they enter themselves in a “payment” posture, to taste the stickability or trustiness of the brand, or simplier test an offer they identified. Choose the trigger and catch the attention may be the two keys to get into relation for them…

6) Fan: let’s say you lived on an island and never heard about “fan” or “like” fever…and can’t imagine which kind of profile we have? And of course it’s where tha value and potential is with the rationnal evolution from “Fan” to “Come backer” to “Ambassador”. The tipping point and snowball effet are not obvious to trigger and scale but is worthy enough to pay attention since the beginning. Play, engage, make them participate in any “transactional”, while they stare at the “smart” brand and are supposed to be the next first adopters. They are fans, they like the brand, but probably didn’t find any opportunity to buy. And some will stay, remaining as true “ambassadors” without consuming. Yes, it’s possible, valuable and true. Check at it!

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7) Come backers: some buy, some buy again. They are. They tried and probably are satisfied, and do it again. They start a returning relation, want to see more, consume moreover. Ok, that’s fine, you found some engaged customers to build on. Don’t miss yourself or be wrong with the message, they want your products, your relation but don’t want to be disappointed. They come from the early stages, fan or already consumer of the brand, they are not novice and probably “in the know” of the story, range or uses of the brand environment. Maybe they’re part themselves of a buyers’ environment, that guided them there. Whatever their reasons, you can rely on their relation. They did, and did it again. Not by random or foolish choice. They choose to remind you and buy your essence again. Reward them and meet their uses with your next features.

8) Ambassadors: that’s it, you are in and here we are. You achieved a performer level, having transformed mainstream customers to ambassadors. Ones that you can count on, anytime because they’re gonna be your next salesperson and your best defender. They can trigger their own advise for people who are not clients yet, convince some to jump and discover your brand and products. They are your best PR’s, arms and mouth, to spread the word about who you are, what you do and what are your values. This incredible force was far ignored before social web and has now power like never. But you know which efforts you did to bring such energy to that point of achievement. This is the ultimate step for trust, before fanatics, who could be, in a way, obsessed and dangerous. Shortly, never lose an ambassador, it could be really weaknessing your salespitch and your footprint to the community.

9) Roadies: they work hard to follow your ventures, but don’t have much revenues. They want to be at your side, in desperate long run, at all your events, doing or not, some evidences of loyalty. They like your brand, products, but for other people than their own consumption. They could be considered as “triers” in the term, but prefer be “angels”, worrying about your brand reputation and the future ongoing for you. They are “silent agent” who can give voice if they consider you in danger or being corrupted or attacked, by default. Your best “friends”, with probably less direct impact on your revenur, but keeping care of your “body”: local bodyguards, in a way…

10) Safe and Care/Admirers: the next kind is probably the most invisible, but exists. But this fact doesn’t mean that you must not stare at them, as interesting elements of your audience. They surround you, never took time or just a lift, to signal their friendship to you, but think of your brand as “cool, smart, trustable and reliable”. They have no reason to get into relation, because of lack of time, money or opportunity to get in. But they care, in an invisible “touch”. What can you consider and learn from them? The single fact that, your whole communication can sometimes risk them to be disappointed, without knowing it, so be careful for that segment too, who could wake up and give voice in the future. Voice or money, triggered by an event you can’t plan before. Just like clouds, they are energy who supports you and collaborate to your reputation, like silent witness. They deserve to be considered, like any other target, their way: “enjoy the beauty, the traction and the footprint of your brand”.

“With trust, you can raise mountains”, because you erase the last barriers to the core: the real conversation, emptied of politics, cosmetics and fakery between an environment (brand, company, organisation, people, products) and an individual. That’s where start great stories, and build a sustainable relation. That’s where we see, that relation is not only a matter of money, but lots of other things to consider, that probably in the end, grow tour business. Up to you to see and deal with it.

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Fairy, funny but no tale about the fact that no company exists without customers. And if sometimes, boss turnover seems to be a sporting challenge for shareholders, customer can’t wait. And may have the last word. It’s finally if you understand it, when you will make great deals, those called “win-win”, with the genuine relation between someone who has needs you can afford. And if sometimes your real boss tries to make it his own way, remind him that he can’t exist without customers…Everybody in his company might be confronted with this and face, hold and build the true relevant relation. Because, customer is the boss in fact, and the matter of anybody in the company. And it seems urgent to see, integrate and share the concept inside companies, to deliver different ways. Why does it seem so strange and how handle it?

  • the customer rarely needs you, he has several others choices, in a single snap he can switch and forget you ever
  • the business is growing on average consumption with either, more customers, more loyalty or raising the level of engagement: in any case, you do need customers…any customer but customers!
  • loyalty is not a concept that you can organize in your corner, thinking (hoping?) it will work: ask customers first why/how he would be more loyal, and build the wrap around…
  • the customer knows much more you ever imagine about your market and your products, and value your service: don’t forget he compares live, all the offer of the market for you. If he gives you an advise, he’s probably less blind than you!
  • even if you think “customer doesn’t know what he wants or what is good for him”, his/her help would be precious, targeting the next big picture. If you build something with him for he’s already part of it, why won’t he buy then?
  • “the more he builds, the more he’s fan”: if he’s “part” of it, he’ll be the best ambassador/advocate for your values, products and services…
  • build the “customer Stockholm Syndrom“: make him part of your story where emotion takes part of your relation and make him kind of painful of your difficult story. In pain and need will grow innovation, together…
  • in some ways, as the customer says how much he is OK/able to pay for your different propositions, he’s quite establishing your salary level: and in this way too, he’s your boss…
  • If you can passion him/her with your own passion, brand and value, he’ll become your best ambassador and outcompete agent for virality: the new media we talk about, socially correct, truthly and trusty…
  • engage with your community and encourage and reward the “social search”. Because you trust more deeply ones you know
  • don’t be shy or afraid with any enpowerment of your customers: the energy they hit for you has no price for you, comparing with resources and money you should spend for the same result…
  • know how to reward: if your customers have to become your boss, give them their salary…
  • run your business, have a business but run and build it with your customers, because they have willingness and motivation to buy your products, speak about them and hold the direction ; like the real boss…
  • like Sam Walton saidThere is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else“. I guess Wal Mart knows how to cope with it, don’t you think?

Assets, partners, friends, loyalty heroes, anyway the name you give to customers, think about your own relation, your own “stunt show”, celebrate success with them like associates to your success. “No success in business without mess with your guests” could be your last quote for community with your best assets. Don’t miss any opportunity to raise satisfaction, happiness and loyalty with your customers, they represent a silent force (while I don’t know if we can say this anymore with social communities!) that can improve your market approach, your sales feeling and ability to shoot first, accurate and focused needs, which will save time and money. Money you’ll be able to invest in this brand new other relation with your new allies…a perfect circle of business, without thinking of business and having much fun and pleasure…

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