Olson had the honor of sponsoring IC Summits’ first-ever conference in Texas last week. It was the first of several conferences designed to bring together client-side marketers, agencies and service providers in key markets to connect on the issues of the day. Unlike larger national conferences, the IC Summits are designed to include no more than 400 individuals to increase conversation, idea sharing and connection. We made a lot of new friends, and brands echoed important lessons.
1. Treat people the way you would want to be treated.
One of the core ways brands will stand apart is through the art of customer service. Anne Murray, Senior Director of Marketing Communication at Southwest Airlines, talked about how her brand has invested in service to ensure that travelers receive a response in less than 7 minutes. This kind of responsiveness is critical considering that travelers often are waiting for lost luggage or dealing with a canceled flight.
2. Innovate or fall behind.
What’s “bold” or “innovative” to one brand may be safe or commonplace to another. But if marketers approach their brands with a fresh perspective each day—and think like a challenger—they will be one step ahead of those that are more complacent. Think like a start-up. How do people interact with your service or product, how might that change in the future, how can you develop a solution or product that ensures you will be on the leading edge of that change?
3. Do it quickly.
Speed was a big topic of conversation. The brands that are having the most success empower their internal teams and agency partners to author and deploy content. They try new things in-market and ensure they are timely, relevant and not losing out on opportunities to drive impact. This has big implications for social content, as well as customer service and new product innovation. Agencies who can work at retail pace will be the most successful.
4. Be authentic to your brand.
From the Texas State Fair to Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and from Avocados from Mexico to Southwest Airlines, Texas marketers leverage geography as a point of difference. Certainly Southwest Airlines and their legendary customer service and southern hospitality stand out in a category that often lacks humanity. When it makes sense to leverage geography as part of your brand story, do. If it isn’t as relevant, don’t.
5. Think Like People.™
We live in an age when we’re confronted with a plethora of data daily. We can now measure nearly every single aspect of our marketing mix and how people interact with our messaging and products.. It can be paralyzing if you don’t have the right resources or partners to help you make sense of it. The best way to balance this overload is to take a step back and stop thinking like a marketer. Instead, remember that humans buy products, not targets or “customers.” At Olson, we just say Think Like People.™