December 14, 2006
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a firm believer in emulating things I find to be successful in other occupations or businesses, if I'm impressed with an action or plan, I will ask myself, "How might this work for me"? You can find some really great ideas by transporting practices from one area to another.
Last week prior to Sunday Services, I noticed the deacon in our Church, Rev. Tom Dushney, walking among the parishioners seated in Church before the service. He would stop to greet various ones, spending some time to discuss various problem or events. It struck me that I had never seen this before. Usually the minister will greet the parishioners as they leave the services but not prior to the service. On the surface, it is not much but from my perspective, it can have a profound effect on the community of faithful. It certainly did for me.
How does the above relate to our business? Think of how many opportunities we have to interact with the general public, our consumers. Could these interactions have the same positive effect that was displayed by the deacon? I think so. Consider the number of times that you interact with the consumers through in-store intercepts, in-home group discussions, focus groups, personal shopping, etc. If they know who you are and the company you represent, could it become a positive for the company image? Consider the potential "word of mouth" publicity.
Some researchers will tell you that the consumer should never know the identity of the company in research projects. I'm not sure that is correct in all research. If you are in the Evaluative Mode of research, I agree.
However, if you are in the Exploratory Mode, I think company awareness can be an asset. Consider for a moment a program set up by Ms. Sue Wissman of P&G. Sue created a series of Peer Groups ranging from teens to senior citizens that met each month to discuss certain consumer topics. Not only did we have the benefits of the discussions, Sue would give each group a set of homework tasks to do during the next month in preparation for the next meeting. The tasks may involve observations of specific household tasks and the results, or it may involve collecting information from their friends. The participants definitely knew the identity of the company.
We were not only pleased with the information collected through this very successful Exploratory Research Project, but also the goodwill developed among the participants made a lasting impression not only among the participants but also their friends, especially if it is unexpectedly pleasant.
How many opportunities do you have each week to make an impression on your customers, good or bad?
How often do you make use of these opportunities?