by Ian Cowley
What makes your brand stand out? Is it your products, your personality – or a mix of both?
Anyone operating in a crowded marketplace, and in 2015, try finding one that isn’t, needs customers to remember them ahead of their competitors.
Back in 2003 when we started Cartridge Save, we knew customers would be more likely to engage through humour and personality than our range of printer cartridges, amazing though they are.
Our idea was to create a ‘face’ of the company in the form of Dave The Badger, a friendly cartoon character. He was brought to life with his own blog and twitter feed and via a series of expensively commissioned illustrations for our website.
We were proud of him, but Dave wasn’t a success. Put bluntly, he wasn’t important to our customers – the number of unsubscribes from our emails and social media feeds told us this loud and clear.
In our drive to be fun and give the company personality, we’d forgotten why we had attracted and kept customers to start with – first class customer service, the best prices and speedy deliveries.
We all learn lessons in business and what this taught us was the importance of the bottom line. Every business owner must keep that front of mind all the time.
So, Dave was packed off back to his badger hole, but his personality lives on through the in-house culture we have built up.
Our set of core values adds up to one key point: To make it easy for customers.
This unites our whole team, which means customers receive the best service – no matter which member of the business they speak to.
It also makes decision-making easier at management level. For every question we face, if we can answer ‘yes’ to that one key point about customers, we go for it. If not, it’s a ‘no’.
For example, when deciding to engage a support service such as PR, we had an end goal in sight. To attract new customers and make it easier for those who haven’t heard of us before to find out about the company. It’s not about profile building for any individual, it’s all about driving sales and extending our reach.
It’s a different story if your customers are buying into a lifestyle when they buy from you. Aspirational brands do well from having strong personality.
However there is no need to force it. If you’ve got products that people need (as opposed to want) remember what’s leading them to buy from you in the first place. That’s most likely to be your service level and your prices.
Ian Cowley is the Managing Director of cartridgesave.co.uk, the UK’s largest dedicated printing company, offering their customers a trusted, reliable and cost effective way of buying cheap ink cartridges for printers online in the UK. They’ve been featured three times in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, which ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales.
Olga Filonenko | Courtesy of Ian Cowley