10 Ways Brand Leaders Win by Leveraging Customer Pain Points, Part 2

By: Andrea Syverson

This is part two of a two-part series that discusses a 10-step plan around  leveraging customers’ pain points in order to realize gains. Part one was published in last Wednesday’s Inner Circle, and included tips one through five. This article features tips six through 10.

6. Think like a publisher. Harry Potter may have started out as a young wizard, but over the last decade he’s magically become a best-seller of 450 million-plus books worldwide, theme parks, movies, countless licensed merchandised properties and all sorts of spinoffs — all based on the innovation of J.K. Rowling’s treatment of a typical coming-of-age pain point. Wow! Look at the potential of pain points! Publishers have notoriously done an excellent job of repackaging and repurposing original content into all sorts of interesting revenue streams. Just think about Food Network: cooking channels, shows, cookbooks, restaurants, contests, travel, chef-specific merchandise. No doubt it listened empathetically to its customers who have been evangelical in telling Food Network they want more … more … more.

Step six: What pain points allow you plenty of creative opportunity to repurpose and repackage?

7. Think like a customer. Author Don Miller prompts us: “Businesses tend to sell solutions to external problems, but did you know customers tend to buy solutions to internal problems. In other words, customers are trying to resolve a frustration they’re feeling and you’re going to be the brand that helps them resolve.”

The way to master this art of solution-based pain point storytelling is simple: Think like a customer. You’ve heard it before, but how many brand leaders still lead from the company’s vantage point first with thought processes like these: What’s easiest for operations? What’s best for our bottom line? What are our new product features?

This type of company-centric storytelling turns customers away. Stop. Re-evaluate all your brand touchpoints through the lens of your customers’. If you’ve walked a mile in their wellies, you’ve no doubt heard lots of ways to improve the user experience. Do more than take those comments to heart — do something about them! Just look at what Bed Bath & Beyond did to help new college freshmen figure out their dorm room needs — a comprehensive checklist (driven by verbs!) with much more customer-centric, added-value content on its website!

Step seven: How engaging are all your touchpoints?

8. Amplify. Shoptology Senior Vice President Ken Madden writes: “Every touchpoint becomes a potential brand-building activity and a potential point of activation.” I would add that every touchpoint allows you an opportunity to increase trust in your brand. It really is all about the little things.

As your brand touchpoints are refreshed to be more empathetic towards your customers’ decision-making journey, pay attention to one more verb: AMPLIFY. If you’ve done the deep work of leveraging your customers’ pain points, you now have an even more important brand story to share. Think short and sweet, ala Twitter length or like a six-word billboard. What’s the pain-point solving message you want your customers to know? How will you recalibrate your lengthy messaging to make this story as impactful and buzzworthy as possible?

Step eight: What needs to be recalibrated to strengthen your story?

9. Discover. Do. Discover. Bravo! You’re taking customer-centric action. You’re learning, growing, testing, recalibrating. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Soon it will be time for another TalkAbout session to process all those learning lessons to talk about failing forward, brand bravery, small wins and meaningful changes. Time for more deep work.

Step nine: Name and celebrate your experiments.

10. Know gain. Here’s the moment to savor and take time for a collective reflective pause to sense the gains you’ve made in brand equity, the gains in customer gratitude for amazingly useful experiences, the gains made in market share, the increase in your Net Promotor Score, the gains in adding more influential external brand ambassadors to your tribe, the gains in the satisfaction of internal brand ambassadors who know they’ve done the very best for their customers. By deeply knowing and responding to your customers’ pain points, you’ve taken steps toward becoming a beloved brand. What more could you ask for?

So, as you can see, the seven traits of an ideal doctor — confidence, empathy, personal, humane, forthright, respectful and thorough — do mirror what the best brand leaders do well. Why not schedule a preventative-based brand physical for your company and use this 10-step outline to see how you and your team can best leverage your customers’ pain points? Make an investment today in your brand’s long-term health!

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. Andrea has more than 20 years of providing clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants.

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