On my way to see a client in London recently I felt like rewarding myself with a good cup of coffee. Directly opposite the Gloucester Road Tube Station in Kensington is a Starbucks. However I checked into Foursquare which alerted me to Prêt (another coffee place) just a little further along the road. So I ventured out of my way to visit Pret.
If you’ve not yet discovered FourSquare, I urge you to check it out. Foursquare has provided me with many benefits but I will save this story for another time.
I do love Starbucks coffee too so why would I be tempted to walk past Starbucks to go to Prêt? You see, on Prêt coffee cups they print a variety of vision statements. Over time these messages have seeped into my subconscious mind and changed my beliefs and perception of the brand. Here is one example;
“SLOW COFFEE, FAST! A mastery of dribble tests, button-holed creams, mild frothing, steaming and stretching is absolutely fundamental to graduating as a Prêt Barista. It takes about 12 weeks to create a perfect Prêt Coffee. Time well spent (we think!)”
Every coffee cup has a unique message.Powerful messages such as this can be extremely influential in how customers perceive a business. Using copy which educates your customers allows them to ‘buy into you’ which in turn builds their loyalty. It’s all about setting your business apart from your competitors.
Prêt sandwiches are certainly not cheap but the value that I believe I am receiving comes from the sense of loyalty which has been built through my understanding of the background of the brand. Starbucks’ coffee may or may not be cheaper or taste nicer than Prêt but Prêt have done a better job of educating me by ‘drip feeding’ me information about their beliefs. And now I have bought into these same beliefs too.
If you’re considering a healthy fruit smoothie and want to buy a brand that doesn’t use artificial preservatives, which is the first brand that comes to mind? For me that brand is Innocent. Why? Because they’ve told me so on all their packaging! I bet they’re not the only brand with this philosophy but Innocent is the brand that has educated me. so the message and the brand then become synonymous.
When you think about it, advertising that educates customers into believing they sell the premium products (at a premium price) amongst mass competition is pretty clever! Neither of these brands began as ‘big’ – their success came because they set themselves apart. Customers will always pay a premium price for a premium product – if they can see the premium value.
Once you have established the unique selling point of your business, using social media properly to deliver your message is very effective.
The CEOs who do not understand this may be at greater risk of losing their business to competitors. However successful they may have been in the past, the way we communicate with customers is changing – and those who adapt to the changes will achieve the greater success.
So how do your products or services differentiate from those of your competitors? How are you educating your customers of your premium offering?