Local businesses know everything about recognition: Acknowledge and recognize good customers, make them feel welcome and listen to their needs and desires. These good customers will spread the word for you and add new customers. One by one. That’s how you build a flourishing coffee shop, a profitable flower store. This is a customer-centric approach that plays well within the overall idea of the Cluetrain Manifesto.
National/global brands understand the need for recognition as well. Instead being customer-centric, big brands focus on themselves by creating ginormous CRM systems, hoping to cash in through recognition. That’s not recognition. That’s just opportunistic.
Merriam-Webster defines recognition as ‘special notice or attention’. Paying attention to customers when it’s opportune for your business goals might lead to short-term gains. But offers no value for people in the long run.
Prying open the old marketing book, customer satisfaction is a combination of customer perception and customer expectation. If the client perception of the product delivered is lower than their expectations, negative satisfaction is the result. However, if the client’s perception of the product delivered exceeds their expectations, a positive level of satisfaction is achieved.
The challenge for national/global brand is in redefining ‘client perception of the product’. This is much more than a review on Amazon or Tripadvisor. Every call to 1-800-YOUR-CALL-IS-IMPORTANT-TO-US, each email, each interaction with the final product changes the product perception. I used to love my car, and the brand associated with it, until I had to deal with a service issue and were introduced to layers of bureaucracy. Now I can’t wait to get out of the lease.
In the new marketing reality, recognition is more than just paying special notice and attention to people. It’s listening to and understanding the changing needs and desires of people. Acknowledging them and integrating those insights into your marketing touch points. It’s nothing new or revolutionary. It’s very human and natural.
So, next time when you want to find out more about the importance of recognition, close that marketing text book. Walk down to the butcher next door. You won’t regret it.