The ICONIC Mindset

Building an ICONIC Brand Reputation is Everything

July 31, 2020 Calvin Stovall | John Avola
The ICONIC Mindset
Building an ICONIC Brand Reputation is Everything
Chapters
1:25
Intro: Managing brand reputation
6:34
ICONIC Strategy #1: Delivering a consistent, frictionless and memorable customer experience
14:06
ICONIC Strategy #2: Focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding detractors
28:17
ICONIC Strategy #3: Invest in creating a positive employee experience
33:50
ICONIC Strategy #4: Don't ignore the power of your customers online voice
43:30
ICONIC Points
The ICONIC Mindset
Building an ICONIC Brand Reputation is Everything
Jul 31, 2020
Calvin Stovall | John Avola

Building an ICONIC Brand Reputation is Everything
Episode #5

Brand reputation is everything. It's an expectation of behavior derived from personal experiences and/or experiences from others. Great reputations are built through consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations. When you invest in proactively cultivating your brand reputation, you'll experience increases in revenue, brand equity and customer loyalty, plus you'll have the ability to hire and retain top talent.

In this episode, Calvin and John share 4 ICONIC strategies for building an ICONIC brand reputation and touch on a few signals that indicate when your brand reputation could be in jeopardy.

  • 0:01:25 - Intro: Managing brand reputation
  • 0:6:34 - ICONIC Strategy #1: Delivering a consistent, frictionless memorable customer experience
  • 0:14:06 - ICONIC Strategy #2: Focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding detractors
  • 0:28:17 - ICONIC Strategy #3: Invest in creating a positive employee experience
  • 0:33:50 - ICONIC Strategy #4: Don't ignore the power of your customers online voice
  •  0:43:30 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

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  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Building an ICONIC Brand Reputation is Everything
Episode #5

Brand reputation is everything. It's an expectation of behavior derived from personal experiences and/or experiences from others. Great reputations are built through consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations. When you invest in proactively cultivating your brand reputation, you'll experience increases in revenue, brand equity and customer loyalty, plus you'll have the ability to hire and retain top talent.

In this episode, Calvin and John share 4 ICONIC strategies for building an ICONIC brand reputation and touch on a few signals that indicate when your brand reputation could be in jeopardy.

  • 0:01:25 - Intro: Managing brand reputation
  • 0:6:34 - ICONIC Strategy #1: Delivering a consistent, frictionless memorable customer experience
  • 0:14:06 - ICONIC Strategy #2: Focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding detractors
  • 0:28:17 - ICONIC Strategy #3: Invest in creating a positive employee experience
  • 0:33:50 - ICONIC Strategy #4: Don't ignore the power of your customers online voice
  •  0:43:30 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

Connect with us!

To leave a podcast review:

  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

Introduction:

Welcome to the iconic mindset podcast with John Avola and Calvin Stovall. This is the only place that uncovers the multiple levels of iconic businesses and brands. Every episode reveals the secrets behind what it takes to make your business, idea, or movement iconic. Now, here are John and Calvin.

John Avola:

Hey, Calvin! How are you?

Calvin Stovall:

Hey John, how you doing?

John Avola:

I'm doing great. How are you, man?

Calvin Stovall:

Fantastic. Couldn't be better. I'm feeling iconic today.

John Avola:

How's the family?

Calvin Stovall:

Everybody's doing wonderful. Can't complain. How about you?

John Avola:

All well over here. We took a little time, and spent a couple of weeks in Philadelphia. So coming back refreshed. It makes a big difference to switch out the four walls for a few weeks.

Calvin Stovall:

I bet that was a nice break. My oldest son had a 13th birthday last week.

John Avola:

Oh, get out. You got a teenager.

Calvin Stovall:

I know . Right? He thinks he's already 25.

John Avola:

Oh man, a teenage boy. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about him in upcoming podcasts.

Calvin Stovall:

You got that right. But yeah, we celebrated.

John Avola:

Happy birthday to Kayden . That's pretty cool. So this episode, we're going to jump in here and we're going to share some iconic strategies around managing brand reputation. The title of our podcast is Brand Reputation is Everything. And we're going to go through four iconic strategies for maintaining that positive reputation. We're also going to touch on a few signals that can indicate your brand reputation could be failing or falling.

Calvin Stovall:

Turning this to the four P's, it's really about your purpose and defining what that is. I do believe in Simon Sinek when he says people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And your reputation and what your colleagues, friends, and relatives say about your brand is really important. When you think about purpose, what is really the story or the narrative you want people to amplify about your brand or your company? What do you want people to say? One of my favorite quotes is by Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, he says "your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room." That is the whole premise around reputation.

John Avola:

I agree with you. I think reputation can also be defined as that expectation of behavior comprised of past experiences. It's defined as either your personal experience or experiences from others. It could be good. It could be bad.

Calvin Stovall:

Another guy, Scott Cook, one of the cofounders of Intuit, his quote is, "a brand is no longer what we tell the customer. It is what customers tell each other it is." So, we can say what we are. We can tell the world what we are, but if a customer doesn't believe it, it really doesn't matter. I think you said when we were talking about this podcast, you said customer's perception is reality.

John Avola:

So true. But I also believe that reputation is the reality as well. You've got a good reputation or a poor reputation. That's also going to transfer into how things are perceived by others. You can create that positive perception with a strong PR campaign to position your brand as a thought leader or expert, you can have the best looking website that makes you look attractive. You could even have a strong social media presence where you're constantly managing conversations or maybe even some good SEO to get you on the top of Google, but a brand has control over those tactics. However, your reputation is directly tied to the customer experience. It's your customers that determine your reputation based on how well you meet or exceed their expectations. It's defined by brand interactions.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. You know, some brands, I mean, we already know some brands out there that do a great job and have a good reputation. I think sometimes brands go through transitions, but some of the brands are pretty consistent. We know they have a pretty positive reputation, like Starbucks, Ritz Carlton, Disney, Southwest Airlines, Chick-fil-A, Z appos, which you mentioned, Apple , Amazon, of course, and even Nordstrom's department stores. Some of these brands have been able to consistently maintain a positive reputation. Even though things happen from time to time, they're still able to maintain a positive image. All of those things you've mentioned, the website, the search, and all those things, the brand can control it. Once you have that reputation, it's important to maintain it. Walt Bettinger , the President of Charles Schwab, says the best advice I've ever received came in a simple reminder from my late father. Most things in the world can be bought or sold, but not reputation.

John Avola:

You can't buy reputation. But we also know that if you're proactively cultivating your reputation, you'll experience increases in revenue, lower operating costs, lower marketing spend, and you've got the ability to hire and retain top talent. However, on the flip side, if you're not taking the time to manage your brand reputation, you will experience loss of revenue. And we've got some examples there today, being stagnant on innovation, low employee engagement, decreased shareholder value, high employee turnover, costly crisis communications, and much more. So there's a lot more risk involved in letting your brand reputation slide than there is to keep and maintain a positive reputation.

Calvin Stovall:

A happy customer tells a friend. An unhappy customer tells the world. A great name can't fix a bad experience, but a bad experience can kill a great name and bad experiences are what drive customers away. And ultimately it can hurt your brand reputation. Research shows one in three customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one brand experience.

John Avola:

To add to that, one in three will walk away, but I've also read that 90% abandon the company after a second bad experience. You f eeling ready to jump in?

Calvin Stovall:

I'm ready to share. Let's start with the first one. This is the first of four strategies to build and maintain an iconic brand or company reputation. Delivering a consistent, frictionless, memorable customer experience is the best way to build and maintain an iconic brand reputation, delivering on your brand promises on a consistent basis. And the key word here is consistent. Consistency is going to be the key ingredient here. That's one of the biggest strategies that you can focus on to keep your reputation intact. I have some research here. 71% of recommendations come from a good customer experience. If your customer receives a good experience with your company, most likely they're going to buy more from you. They're going to recommend you to friends, colleagues, and coworkers and so forth. So that is your best strategy to build your iconic brand reputation. And on top of that, you want to make sure that you focus on trying to find the right balance between digital and the human experience.

John Avola:

Or better yet, connect them, right. Connecting the digital and human touch, which is really cool. When you have a brand that you feel as though that brand knows you , it's almost, they're predicting that next best action. They've connected a digital and human touch to where you may be on the phone with a salesperson and now you're receiving an email that coincides with the conversation you just had. A lot of opportunities there around the personalization and the human digital touch. But also , Calvin, wanted to bring up a company that I think we all know real well. And that's LL Bean. LL Bean just celebrated, I think, 108 years in business. They were founded back in around 1910, 1912, somewhere in that area. And they are still a family owned business. They were family founded back when they were created and the company has transcended over the years from a brand to a community dedicated to outsiders . I thought that was kind of neat, where they're now a community where those that are defined as someone who enjoys a great adventure or is eager to make friends along the way, the company is dedicated to inspiring and uniting its customers through their manifesto, which is "wherever you are, join us, because on the inside, we're all outsiders. And if it's outside, we're all in." That was kind of a neat way to position your company, as a community versus the brand itself. They're passionate about customer satisfaction and they know satisfied customers will return. Here's a quote that I've thought was real relevant from one of the LL Bean executives that states "at LL Bean a customer is not a transaction, but a relationship with someone who shares our values of quality products and love of the outdoors. That's the strength of our brand and why our trusted reputation is so enduring. No one wants to do business with a company that treats you poorly."

Calvin Stovall:

Exactly. I love that quote. I think that's a wonderful one and it really supports what we're talking about here today. I want to go back to the consistency and repetition. We talk a lot about personalization a nd I know we have to have that in our customer experiences as well, but some of the things that you need to do on a consistent basis and do repeatedly are what builds a positive reputation. People know what to expect from you. Love or hate McDonald's, I think they're the kings of this. They are the kings of consistency and repetition. Consistency and repetition is what wins and b uild an iconic brand reputation. I believe t hat experiences do not form customer loyalty, but memories of experiences do. So when I talk to my clients and when I do keynotes, I a sk them, what can you do? I always turn it into some kind of musical thing, but what can you do to get your brand company stuck in the minds of your consumers? Or how can you keep your brand song looping in their heads? So they keep buying from you again and again? And one of the things I'll talk about is this guy, the author named Derek Thompson. He has a book called Hitmakers and he says, "repetition is the God particle of music." And I love it. And he says, "repetition is nearly as integral to music as the notes themselves." And repetition, I believe, is also important to building an iconic brand reputation. So I love the music tied t o it. I want to try something with you that I usually do w ith my keynotes. And it says something about how important repetition can be. Some of today's marketing campaigns, they try hard, they try to be t rendy and clever, but sometimes the call to action, sometimes even the product, can get lost in the message and the clutter. For example, if I challenged you to name three ads from this past year's Superbowl. I know it was a while back. I know you miss football. Would you be able to do it? Can you tell me or recall the commercial o n the product itself?

John Avola:

Without throwing out brand names that are there every year, I don't think I can,

Calvin Stovall:

But I bet you one thing though, regardless of how old you are, and I kind of know where you fall, but you could probably name three disco tunes from the 1970s. And let me tell you why, because you would most likely get those much quicker again, like I said, regardless of your age, but when you think about music in the seventies, those disco tunes, they're always little ads with calls to action right there in the title, Get Up and Boogie, Shake Your Groove Thing, Get on the Good Foot, Turn the Beat Around. And now you can help me with this. Do a little dance, make a little love ....

John Avola:

Get down tonight!

Calvin Stovall:

See, you know that. And let me tell you why you know that, because repetition was common in disco music just to be sure you got the message. And this system, it works the same in customer experiences . As quirky as that was, it's really the same thing. Simply put, consistency and repetition, it's the holy grail when it comes to building a reputation and brands that customers love. The better you're able to do that on a consistent basis, people begin to expect what you're going to deliver. You deliver on those brand promises on a consistent basis. I truly believe you will build a reputation, a positive one for your brand .

John Avola:

Absolutely Calvin. Elizabeth Arden, she's the founder of Elizabeth Arden , Inc, which is a cosmetic and skincare line and now owned by Revlon. Just to kind of summarize everything you just said. And this is her quote, "repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers."

Calvin Stovall:

That just supported the whole disco thing. I think we've covered that first one pretty well, which is to make sure you're delivering a consistent, positive customer experience. All right . Next one. Focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding brand detractors. I'm going to talk a little bit about those and I'm hoping for those of you listening to us, you might be familiar with the net promoter score. That's where these two terms come from, promoters and detractors. And I'm going to go through the definition. There's three categories to get to this score.

John Avola:

Just quickly touch on the net promoter score. Just to simplify it for the audience. It's nothing more than a customer engagement score. That's all it is. It's a score. It's a zero to 10. How likely are you to recommend this particular company? And based on that Likert scale result, Calvin take it away. There are three outcomes.

Calvin Stovall:

Thank you. So here we go. A promoter is what you would call a loyal or raving fan. This would be an advocate.

John Avola:

That's your six and above. It would be a score of one to 10.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. These are what you would call your reputation builders. Let's call these people reputation builders. So these are the people that are going to go out and they're going to have a great experience with your brand. They're going to go out and tell everybody, hey, make sure you go try this product or service. It was fantastic. They're the ones who are going to give you the reviews on Yelp. They're going to be your reputation builders.

John Avola:

Real quick Calvin. These guys are, just to be sure, your advocates, your promoters. They're not influencers. I think that's a good key to make. It's not someone who's being paid to represent your company. Someone going out, as Calvin said, on their own, and they're saying, I love this brand. And here's why, and you should too.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. This is free advertising for you. It doesn't cost you a dime. And then the next group are called passives. These are people that are on the fence. They really don't have any loyalty to you or anybody else. They might like your brand, but if something else better comes along, they're gone. They really don't have any impact on your brand reputation. It's unlikely that they're going to go out and say anything. They're going to be like, okay, it was cool. And then move on. They're in the middle of the score. I believe it's five to eight or something like that. And then you have the detractors. These are what you call your brand assassins or what I'm going to call reputation killers. These are the people you will really want to avoid. And I believe these are the people that give you a score from one to four. So basically how you end up with the net promoter score. They take your promoters and minus out your detractors and whatever percentage is left, that's the score that you have. And if you want to learn more about it, just look up net promoter score, and you can kind of see where some brands fall. They do an annual study all the time and you can learn more about it, but we are using it here to really get you to focus on the fact that you want as many promoters or brand reputation builders as possible for your brand. Recall the last podcast we did where I talked about retention is the new acquisition. These are the people you want to retain. You want to retain those promoters and have them keep having positive experiences and going out, talking about your brand.

John Avola:

Like you said, Calvin, your brand promoters are extremely valuable , for your reputation management. They can elevate your reputation from average to iconic.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes, absolutely. I love it. Yes they can. Yes they can.

John Avola:

But I did want to touch on the detractors as well. I think it's important that we don't ignore the detractors. It's an opportunity to act quickly. There is opportunity for your detractors to even help your brand. They may have some interesting feedback or something that you may, as a brand, not even realize to where you can make changes based on some of the feedback from a detractor. You can encourage their feedback, make sure it's simple for the customer to get in touch with you. And if you have a connection, if you have those connection points established, make sure your response time is attentive, which I think we'll talk to here in a moment, as far as opportunities there to improve your reputation or being attentive to your customer. Not making them wait on hold, for example. Taking the time to listen to those detractors, show your empathy and make sure they feel as though you're on their side. And most importantly, be honest, especially when trying to help detractors get more familiar with your brand.

Calvin Stovall:

You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot either. You don't want to create detractors. I want to list a few things here that would be a reputation killer. These are the things that you could do. If you want more detractors, if you want to track this, these are the things you can do.

John Avola:

So what he's saying is avoid these by all means.

Calvin Stovall:

Exactly, by all means. Do not have your customers contact your company multiple times for the exact same reason . That is the most frustrating thing. If they have to keep calling back, they're going to give up and they're going to be done being put on hold for a long time. Just like you talked about John. I'll give you an example. I'm going to throw them out there because I hope they fix this situation. I've had to call Verizon. I bought an iPhone. I had to call Verizon to check about my phone insurance, in case I crack it or it gets lost. I was on hold for 48 minutes and 12 seconds. 48 minutes.

John Avola:

You probably forgot you were on hold!

Calvin Stovall:

I did . I put the phone down and I had it on the cabinet and then later, I was walking around doing stuff and then all of a sudden I heard somebody say hi. The guy I did get was very, very kind, very nice, and very, very helpful. But think about it, you're waiting almost an hour to talk to somebody and by the time you get them, you're pretty frustrated. So don't do that to your customers. Number three, having a customer repeat their same issue to several company reps over and over and over again. Very frustrating.

John Avola:

And your story gets shorter, doesn't it? Your first answer is you're just telling them everything that's going on. The second guy, you're like, all right , I'm going to summarize it. By the third guy, you're like, all right , here's the problem.

Calvin Stovall:

Just that one sentence.

John Avola:

And you almost kind of feel bad for guy number three or four. You started off so nice and now that you repeated yourself ten times, you're like, alright, dude, I know it's not your fault but I've already told this story ten times. So here it is.

Calvin Stovall:

So frustrating And just basically not being easy to do business with and not delivering on your promises. Those are biggies. And I think John, you had mentioned one more.

John Avola:

I want to touch on the failure to innovate and meet customer needs. But also, before I jump into that, back on not delivering the promises, it's better to admit your limitations than to over promise and under deliver. And I just wanted to make that point clear. Over promising and/or promising things that you are unable to complete is more detrimental than just being straight up and saying, honestly, here's what we can do. Here's our solution. And even taking the time to follow up with someone after that solution has been completed, to ensure satisfaction, is a much way better way to approach it than trying to over promise and then unfortunately under deliver. So I'm just wanting to call that out there on not delivering promises, because you don't want to be a brand that continues to put out things that unfortunately they can't make happen.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. Sometimes salespeople will make promises that really can't be delivered.

John Avola:

We've all experienced that. Yes. Hey , the sales guy told me.

Calvin Stovall:

Well, guess what, he was wrong!

John Avola:

Well, he's a sales guy and I'm the guy installing it. So here's how it's going to be.

Calvin Stovall:

That's a brand reputation killer.

John Avola:

And just to follow up on that last point there, the failure to meet customer needs, the failure to innovate. It's so important to stay innovative and remain diverse and not get disrupted by change, especially in the environment we're all living in today. Change is constant , nothing new there, but now we've added an additional fact with, of course, COVID and the pandemic that's sweeping the world. Regardless of the situation, staying ahead of the curve and maintaining and keeping a positive reputation by adapting to the customer needs and monitoring those trends so closely, Here's a company, I think it's on our mind, Calvin, and that is Columbia House. An example of not monitoring trends closely. You can buy 10 CDs for a penny. but while they're sending out their brochures in the mail , you've got Netflix that saw a new opportunity for streaming media and they quickly pivoted to the streaming revolution. And now you look at Columbia House. It's unfortunate when any company declares bankruptcy, but they are completely wiped out at this point. And you have someone like Netflix that is completely gone to where it is today. And what's interesting about that story, as I was just doing a little research before our podcast today, Netflix started after Columbia house and Netflix went to Columbia house and said, hey, can we work together? I'll put advertising online for your product If you put advertising for our product in your mailer brochures. You know what they said? No. Netflix potentially could have saved Columbia House with a cross promotion. They said no . So anyway, I just thought that was interesting.

Calvin Stovall:

Didn't something similar happen to Blockbuster?

John Avola:

As a brick and mortar rental store, they completely ignored the streaming revolution. Blockbuster, the same way. They made that transition from VHS to DVD and thought they were golden.

Calvin Stovall:

Exactly, exactly.

John Avola:

The point is don't let your product define your brand. If you've defined yourself as a seller of analog film, you'll ignore the digital revolution. Kodak, for example, they were actually the first company that invented the digital camera in 1975. But leaders actually asked the inventor, it looks great, but please let's keep this under wraps because they were afraid to see what would happen to the film market, if a digital or filmless photography was entered into the marketplace. Another one, which I just thought was real interesting, was if you've defined yourself as an online advertising giant, you'll ignore the importance of online search. You look at Yahoo who actually had the opportunity to buy two big companies that were just getting started. Google back in 2002, just kicking off, Yahoo, had the opportunity to buy them. They turned it down. Then a social networking company. You may know Facebook, 2006, still only opened to college students, started negotiations with Yahoo. They fell through mostly because the decision on both accounts was made to focus on media and in turn they neglected customer trends and the need to improve the user experience. So I just thought those examples were real relevant today, and that if your product is defining your brand and you're not diversifying yourself, there's a clear indication that your reputation and not only your reputation, but your company as a whole could be falling.

Calvin Stovall:

John, I hear it . Do I hear a P?

John Avola:

I do hear a P. Perseverance.

Calvin Stovall:

That's right. It's perseverance. That's wonderful. But again, we talk about those four Ps and perseverance always ends up coming up. In this environment, you've got to pull that lever even more than ever before. I do want to cover one more thing, John, around reputation. I just want to throw out some stats because your reputation matters. It's everything. Because you remember, you want people to talk about you. 83% of customers say that a word of mouth recommendation from a friend or a family member makes them more likely to purchase a product or service. So that's 8 out of 10. You want to make sure. And another thing that was wonderful is that millennials actually are the biggest brand evangelists with 77% of them making at least one recommendation a month. And 71%, as I mentioned before, of recommendations come from a good customer experience. So again, customer experience is the key and delivering that on a consistent basis as we talked about before, all of that matters.

John Avola:

And those millennials, those millennials. I may be one, but anyway, they're the largest consumer group now as well.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. And you want as many millennial promoters as you can possibly get. Let's move on to number three, which I think is also important. Number three, are you ready? Invest in creating a positive employee experience. Now, you know me, John, I am ....

John Avola:

Here we go. Here we go. He's standing up folks.

Calvin Stovall:

There is no - NO - customer experience without a positive employee experience. And 70% of a brand's reputation is driven by its employees. So your reputation, if you're not doing it right on the inside, you're definitely not going to get it right on the outside. JW Marriott said, "take care of your associates and they will take care of your customers." Companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more engaged employees. And I think we've seen so many studies that have shown investing in employee experience impacts the customer experience and can generate a high ROI for your company. What I want to really highlight here is, John, you've got to have the right leadership in place.

John Avola:

You have to. What is the old saying? Happy employees equal even happier customers?

Calvin Stovall:

I love it. Yes it does. And really it's going to be virtually impossible for you to build an iconic brand reputation without having a proper leadership in place. It's not going to happen because I believe employees mirror and they emulate what they see. Your leaders have to walk the talk. They have to be able to transfer your brand's vision on a consistent basis. And remember your brand's reputation is really just an outward expression of the experience your employees have on the inside of your organization.

John Avola:

Absolutely. How they think and feel is a direct reflection of the company.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. When we talk about employees and their impact on creating the magic in front of the customer, it is one of the most passionate things I like to talk about, John, because people think having the glitzy product and all of that stuff, yes, that's important. But if the customer isn't really connected to your brand and feeling like they're cared for through the employees that deliver that service on a day to day basis, it's all going to be for nothing.

John Avola:

You mentioned a couple stats as well, and more proof... Gallup does an annual study, State of the American Workplace. They recently reported that employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer service that can result in 20% increases in sales. You're looking for low hanging fruit.

Calvin Stovall:

And when people hear, make your employees happy, I think some people interpret that as give them everything they want. That is not what we're saying. What we're talking about is making sure they have the tools and resources that they need to do their jobs with excellence. We're talking about making sure they have learning and development opportunities to continue to grow. We're talking about you as a leader, having empathy, demonstrating active listening skills and making sure you're responding to their needs. That's what we're talking about.

John Avola:

Going to put in your 40 hours. But it's the experience of those 40 hours that these employees take on that is a direct reflection of your work .

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. And that builds your reputation. And in other words, everybody, regardless of your position in the organization, has to take ownership of the customer experience. Everyone has to be reading and delivering from the same sheet of music. Everybody, everybody.

John Avola:

Absolutely. And you put those together, you've got your satisfied, engaged employees. They work harder, they have higher morale. They care more about the success of your company. And they're going to go out of their way to satisfy the customer needs.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. Because really if just one person within your organization doesn't understand how important their role is to the customer experience, it's going to have a negative impact on your entire company's reputation because your customers don't see a specific department. They don't see one employee. All they're going to see is one company, one entity, one brand. Just remember you're all in this thing together.

John Avola:

And to that point, the employees who deliver that superior customer experience directly link to, as you just said, a positive brand reputation. It's a direct link between customers, employee satisfaction, and customers .

Calvin Stovall:

And as I said before, I think when we were talking about salespeople versus the installers and so forth that you want to make sure that people are talking to one another. I talk about silos. Silos are for farmers. They're not for organizations. So , you want to make sure that people are talking to one another, everybody understands their role in the customer journey, and things of that nature. One of the quotes that I love is silos build the wall in people's minds and create the barrier in organizations' hearts. I believe that.

John Avola:

We talked about Zappos earlier in our podcast. They're dedicated to their own employees. Listen to this though. The company believes that organizational silos can counteract a customer centric mindset. And so it was all employees, a flexible structure, no formal titles, and everyone works within a team that they're passionate about.

Calvin Stovall:

There you go. Okay. Number four, are you ready ? Don't ignore the power of your customers' online voice and how much it can impact your brand's reputation in this always on, hyper-connected mobile world.

John Avola:

You must be talking about that megaphone, that social media megaphone.

Calvin Stovall:

Customers are sharing their experiences online, everywhere, and they can easily share a bad experience online with a few taps of the keyboard. This is why customer experience has never been more important than ever before and why it needs to be the soul of everything that you do within your organization, every touch point or what I like to call moment of impact. It must be more than functional and transactional. It's got to be real. It's got to be authentic. It has to be memorable. And it has to bring your brand experience to life. You want your customers to talk and talk about you, remember their interaction with you, and then influence others to do business with you. That's really the trigger. Good customer experience means positive word of mouth. That's what we've been talking about. That free advertising, those promoters again, when customers have a good customer experience that are five times more likely to recommend you to other people and they have the megaphone!

John Avola:

They have the megaphone and they're not afraid to use it.

Calvin Stovall:

They share their sentiments with the world, like I said, on the keyboard about how you either improved or ruined their lives. That easy. Do not ignore the online voice.

John Avola:

No, no. When I was just starting out and getting some clients under Wild Seed Marketing, when we were just beginning years ago, it took some selling. The question was always, well, why do I need to be on social media? And my response was, your customers are talking about you, whether you like it or not. They're talking about you because they have the avenue to do so, anyone or everyone they're already talking. So you can either join the conversation or watch it happen. But if you join the conversation, at least you've got a seat at the table. They're tweeting about your latest product or leaving comments on your blog. They're posting updates on Facebook and it's your job to help manage that expectation. Looking at the company sentiment and going back to the net promoter scores and the promoters and the detractors and getting an opportunity to be part of that conversation.

Calvin Stovall:

The scary thing about it all is you never know who you're dealing with. Do you remember that guy, Dave Carroll ? United Airlines? Remember they broke his guitar and he was not happy. He only wanted $1,200 in repairs, John. And they just bounced him from agent to agent. And finally just said, nope, we're not going to do it. We're not giving you anything. This guy, he promised them that he was going to write three songs about the matter. And he came up with this song called United Breaks Guitars and it went viral on YouTube. And then of course, by that time, United changed their course. They wanted to offer him money. He said, I don't even want it, donate it to somebody. Check this out. The YouTube video was posted on July 6th, 2009. It amassed 150,000 views within one day. After that United contacted Carroll again, saying, please let us fix it. He said no. The video had over half a million views by July 9th, 5 million by mid August 2009, 10 million by February 2011, 15 million by August 2015. It hit 20 million views, 185,000 likes, as of May 2020. That's crazy , man.

John Avola:

I bet they wish they paid that $1500 bucks.

Calvin Stovall:

United's managing director of customer relations, he telephoned Carroll a lot of times but Carroll wasn't trying to hear it, but here's the stat. When we talk about brand reputation, it was widely reported that within four weeks of the video being posted online, United Airlines' stock price fell 10%, about $180 million in value.

John Avola:

I didn't know that.

Calvin Stovall:

Now that's an extreme case.

John Avola:

But it shows the power.

Calvin Stovall:

It shows the power of online voice. And again, you never know, they had no idea that this guy was a musician They didn't know who they were dealing with. Now, no customer should be treated that way, but you just never know.

John Avola:

And, Calvin on the flip side, McDonald's right, I'm loving it. And we talked about McDonald's because they took to social media in a little different way , where they are actively listening and acting upon customer feedback. A few things that you may not even realize came out of customer ideas through social media. Healthier menu options, that was a direct request from social media fans and followers. Staying open longer or opening earlier, so adjusting their store hours. And , what we all love, all day breakfast, right? The all day breakfast came from social media comments and suggestions.

Calvin Stovall:

That's awesome. Can you say, I'm loving it!

John Avola:

I'm loving it!

Calvin Stovall:

That's great . I just want to share some stats on the power of online reviews because now we're all looking online.

John Avola:

How many times are you looking at a restaurant, right? You're going to look at the reviews or you're going to call house repair or something. You're going to look at the reviews. You going to see a five star from one person or four stars from 50 people, you're probably going to lean toward that four stars. Right. It's a very interesting dynamic, but anyway, continue.

Calvin Stovall:

90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting them .

John Avola:

We're there. You and I are part of that 90%.

Calvin Stovall:

That's right. 82% of Yelp users say they typically visit Yelp because they intend to buy a product or service. Your reputation online is key.

John Avola:

They're trusting people they don't know. Think about it.

Calvin Stovall:

I guess they figured you have to have had a really great experience for you to be emotionally engaged enough to go online and write something.

John Avola:

Positive or negative.

Calvin Stovall:

Positive or negative. Absolutely.

John Avola:

Going back to Amazon, you check out those products on Amazon. You look at the reviews and the counts. I can't think of a product where you can't actually not see the stars. I think it's impossible because it's right under the product . But how many times have you looked at a product and you're like, ooh, one, two stars, and 8,000 reviews. It makes you think twice.

Calvin Stovall:

I do it on everything, John, even movies on Netflix. They have a gazillion movies on Netflix, a zillion movies on Amazon Prime. I'm not going to watch all those movies. They'll put a lot of recommendations. You know what I do? I go right on Rotten Tomatoes and put the movie in and it's 30% and I'm not doing it.

John Avola:

You're absolutely right. Netflix tells you like 98% match. You're going to love this. You know what ? I'm going to look this up on a review first. Netflix might know me, but the reviews are going to tell me what's going on.

Calvin Stovall:

So make sure you're monitoring your company's customer comments, the complaints and requests. Respond in a timely manner. Some of the things you just talked about before, be authentic and transparent in your responses . Nobody likes brand speak. Just keep it real. And as you mentioned earlier, collect feedback to make improvements. And yes, you're going to get some bad complaints sometimes, but if those are done properly, it's an opportunity to be unforgettable. You can create a positive experience from something that's quite negative, but there's some staggering stats. These are again, how you can create a detractor, which is what you don't want to do. 92% of companies do not follow up with customers to see if they are satisfied with the response. So if something happens and gives a response, yes, good. You went halfway there, which is good. You have to make sure they were happy with what you responded, but here's even worse. 32% of companies don't even respond to customer service emails.

John Avola:

No response?

Calvin Stovall:

No response. It's true. I've sent out issues I may have had. Sometimes I get a response. Sometimes I don't. And it is probably about a third of the time I get nothing.

John Avola:

What a podcast!

Calvin Stovall:

So those are the four. Quick review. Deliver a consistent, frictionless, memorable customer experience. It is the best way to build and maintain your kind of grand reputation. Have to do that. Number one. Number two, focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding brand detractors. Push promoters up. Get as many as you can. Possibly avoid people talking bad about you. Number three, invest in creating a positive employee experience. Remember 70% of your brand's perception, "reputation," is driven by your team. Positive employee experience will equal a positive customer experience will equal positive reputation. Number four, do not ignore the power of your customer's online voice. You don't want to run into a Dave Carroll. Those are the four . I think those are solid. And again, like we always say, John, we talk about iconic brands all the time. When we talk about iconic, it doesn't mean you have to be a Fortune 500 company. You don't have to be a Bank of America or any large organizations that are out there. You could be the small pancake house on the corner.

John Avola:

Or the dumpling company! Five episodes in a row!

Calvin Stovall:

Figured the dumpling company was going to find its way in and you never let me down. So, John, I hope people got something out of it.

John Avola:

I really enjoyed today's episode. I think it was just so relevant in today's world. And it's always good, Calvin, to talk with you and to share these opportunities, these strategies to become an iconic brand. Like you said, no matter your product, your service, how big or small your organization may be, you can still be iconic. And that's why we're here. Well, Calvin as always, thank you so much for your time today. Enjoyed it as always. And for our listeners, if you want to find out more, learn more about some of the economy framework we've discussed, like the four Ps, everything's available on iconicpresentations.net. You can also find our contact information there. And we'd love to hear from you. We'd love to get your feedback. And most importantly, we listen to you .

Calvin Stovall:

John, that's a good point. If any of our listeners have any suggestions or recommendations on what you'd like to hear us delve into, please feel free to send us an email. And we would love to do some follow- up research and cover that topic for you.

John Avola:

Absolutely. We'd love that. All right , Calvin. Until next time, don't just be, be iconic.

Intro: Managing brand reputation
ICONIC Strategy #1: Delivering a consistent, frictionless and memorable customer experience
ICONIC Strategy #2: Focus on nurturing brand promoters and avoiding detractors
ICONIC Strategy #3: Invest in creating a positive employee experience
ICONIC Strategy #4: Don't ignore the power of your customers online voice
ICONIC Points