Yesterday I wrote about how a talented actress (Reese Witherspoon) has built her brand into a major force in Tinsel Town.
Today, Seth Godin writes about a branding related concept that ties neatly into yesterday’s post.
He talks about being indispensable to your business.
Seth makes the point that for years our marketing has focused on the business behind the brand and not any single person. But, over time, we’ve realized some people are critical to their business. He rightly cites Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine as an example of someone who is indispensable to their business and their brand.
I agree with Seth that people are important, and sometimes indispensable, to their companies. I think it’s because, no matter how big a company is, we still do business with people.
And clearly, someone like Reese Witherspoon is indispensable to her brand.
Obviously not all companies and brands require a single person. In fact, most large companies and brands will outlive all the people involved in building them. To be absolutely indispensable, your company probably needs to be quite small. In Jeff Jarvis’ case, the company is just him (as far as I know). So, it’s easy to see how he is indispensable.
And many of us have a similar situation. As owners, founders or even sole-employees, we are probably indispensable to our companies and our brands.
What if you work for a larger company where no single person is critical to the success and survival of the organization? In this case maybe you’re not indispensable to the whole company.
Maybe you can be indispensable in other ways. Maybe you can find ways to be so good at your job that nobody at your company would want you to leave, ever.
Another way to be indispensable is with regard to your customers.
In his book, Creating Customer Connections, Jack Burke tells us about five increasing levels of customer loyalty:
1. Preference: “Let’s try them this time.”
2. Favor: “All things equal, they get our business.”
3. Commitment: “They are our supplier.”
4. Reference: “You ought to do business with them.”
5. Exclusivity “No one else has a chance to win our business.”
If you get to level five, you are as close to being indispensable as you can get with a customer. At that point, it’s your game to lose.
Whether you’re one employee among many or the sole-employee, you can find ways to become important and even indispensible to your customers.
Make a list of your top 10 customers.
Then think about your relationship with them in terms of Jack Burke’s list above. What level are you at with each of them? If it’s not level five, why not?
What can you do to move up the scale and achieve level five with your top 10 customers? Brainstorm some ideas and write them down as action items.
Then work on these actions every day. Before long you’ll realize your customers will need your more and more. And your sales will prove it!