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Feb 26

Relationship Marketing – A Paradigm Shift in Business

The bottom-line sales mentality is undoubtedly an important driving force behind establishing brand presence in the market and causing competitors to sit up and take notice. An assertively robust transactional approach is necessary, sure, but it is so easy to forget the importance of forging a relationship for the transaction to materialise, especially when no brand wishes to be written off as a one-time wonder. There are plenty of “how-to” self-help saviours and marketing gurus out there advocating the importance of the product/service and consumer connection. Very few demonstrate genuine commercial and relationship-oriented acumen and focus on providing the consumers with information on the Brand Source.

Who is the person/people behind the brand?

What served as their source of inspiration? How do they know what’s important for us, the consumers?

This person/people are consumers too. What gap in the market did they identify and what helped them see what others did not see?

Are they offering a product or service? Or are they endorsing a way of life, a revolutionary change? Have they conceived something that would force us to look at everyday life through different lenses? Will future posterity benefit from this change?

Therefore, the keystone for successful relationship marketing is a two-way street. The “person” in the relationship is not just the consumer but also the human eyes, ears, heart and hands behind a brand, no different from the average Joe across the street. It is this person or group of people who tapped a particular talent and built upon a vision, in the hopes that the masses would see what they see. If we care to look into the origins of any brand, it is often no coincidence that there is a consistent pattern of: need realisation, entrepreneurial and creative ingenuity, resourcefulness, old-fashioned goodwill and teamwork and the eventual propelling into commercial success and a widespread following.

Once a brand’s portfolio of offerings consistently resonates with the cultural heritage resulting from the “story of the origins”; consumers are able to identify with a person or people, remarkable approachable despite the high pedestal their fame and success puts them on. This prompts customer responsiveness which lays the foundation for the long-term brand-consumer relationship as it appears at the “front-end”.

Marketing strategists should answer the question, “What’s your story?”, before they endorse their USP. If an entire population of strangers has to be persuaded to tell their story, so that their needs can be understood and satisfied with particular services, the best way to do so is to take the first step and offer one’s own story.

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