David Mitchell

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

David Mitchell
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

David Mitchell is a research director within Gartner Research, where he specializes in providing go-to-market advice to both emerging and maturing technology and service businesses, helping them drive growth through improvements in channels, marketing and sales ...Read Full Bio

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Making the emotional connection

by dmitchel  |  August 19, 2012  |  1 Comment

I tend to keep the old age “people buy from people” in mind when talking to executives who are looking to improve the performance of their sales teams. If the company’s sales team is unpleasant to do business with then customers become reluctant to buy the products and/or services of that company.

On the other hand customers also develop buying preferences that are based on an emotional attachment to the brand of a particular supplier.

As blogger Sara Roberts commented in a recent posting…

Even in today’s price-sensitive economy, the imagery attached to brands goes far beyond product attributes, functional benefits and price. It’s about capturing hearts and minds. It’s moving your customer beyond retention, to commitment, delight and ultimately evangelism. According to Gallup, companies that embrace the customer in this way, not merely as a standalone activity, but in collaboration with brand and business strategy, outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.

Building attachment to abstract concepts is much harder than building emotional attachment based on the lived experience. I am a firm believer that it is the way that brands treat people, both as customer and employee, that re-enforces the brand. If a member of staff goes the extra mile to help make your shopping experience easier you’ll believe “every little helps” more readily than you will if you’ve only seen the TV advert.

People make and break brands. The most sophisticated branding strategies can be undermined and devalued if the behavior of the staff in the company doesn’t align with the values of that brand. Have you seen any companies recently where the way that you were treated by their staff contradicted the brand description?

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Richard Fouts   August 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I remember when Dave Letterman decided to teach Sears a lesson … during the midst of their “Number one in customer service” campaign. He called cusotmer service, while on the air, got into phone tree hell, tried really hard to get a person on the phone … which he finally did, but it took some doing (This was the 1980s, before the Internet).

    The customer service rep said before she could help she would need his “customer number” which he didn’t have (he was simply trying to get their store hours). Then he decided to see if they could transfer him over to another department – “the one that sells auto parts” – but the CSR wouldn’t do it, telling him to look in the phone book for the number of the department he wanted.

    Anyway, this went on for a long time … and showed the new tag line was very far from the truth. Sears actually tried to sue Letterman, but dropped legal action when they realized all it would do was show how lousy their service was (is).

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