Cecy Shveid

Building Customer Relationships That Last in Four Steps

By: Cecy Shveid | March 14, 2017 | 

Building Customer Relationships That LastCustomer relationships in 2017 are more personal than ever.

Brands used to get away with a lazy marketing approach based on product advertising.

Today, brands must become part of the culture with which their audience identifies.

It’s central to building customer relationships that last.

In 2014, Procter & Gamble created an advertising campaign that became a national sensation for its provocative and wholesome message.

The “Like a Girl” campaign took a phrase popularized by elementary school bullies and turned it into something powerful.

Instead of implying weakness, doing something “like a girl” meant doing it with enthusiasm and energy.

That message resonated deeply with an increasingly progressive national audience, transforming the P&G brand image from a creator of products to a champion of ideals.

Creating an emotional connection with audience members is powerful.

Customers who believe you share their ideals will be more likely to select your products—and advocate for your brand.

Building Customer Relationships Step-by-Step

Of course, establishing a relationship with an audience is only the first step in building customer relationships.

These steps outline how to initiate contact, grow a relationship, and keep consumers aligned with the brand.

Get Acquainted

Personalization is the key to strong customer connections, and it all starts with data.

Data you collect on specific customers and their needs can be used to increase trust in your brand.

Share this data among departments, from marketing to sales to customer service.

It enables brands to appear more caring and genuine to their audiences.

This involves more than demographic details with a few likes sprinkled in.

Personalization means understanding the needs of a consumer culture and responding to them appropriately.

Welcome communications to new clients provide a great opportunity to gather new data while making customers feel welcome.

Subsequent interactions are additional opportunities to collect data and provide a more comprehensive customer experience.

Deepen the Relationship

Between consumers and brands, the honeymoon period ends quickly.

To ensure a continued place at the forefront of consumer consciousness, brands must continue to press the attack.

Otherwise, they risk becoming irrelevant.

Consider where customers consume their information, and use your established relationship to target them there.

Use email frequency preferences and a light touch to stay relevant without becoming overbearing.

Provide recognition to outstanding customers.

And if an event important to your audience members occurs, don’t stay silent.

Show them you’re still on their side and part of the conversation.

Building customer relationships shouldn’t stop with a sale.

Think Strategically

Map your customer journey to think about the various touch points you may be overlooking.

  • What are your goals?
  • What do customers want from you?
  • How can you ensure both parties are satisfied with the relationship?
  • How do you measure that success?

Consider your objectives, KPIs, message, target audience, potential topics, and media types from the beginning.

Understand your customers’ journey.

This provides more opportunities to demonstrate your brand is the one for them. 

Deliver On Your Promises

Finally, don’t be all talk.

Deliver a high-quality product or service consistently.

And back up your messaging with action.

Forty-seven percent of customers give you just one day of bad service before transitioning to a competitor.

If your brand image isn’t backed up by a strong foundation, consumers will see your culture-focused messaging as a sham.

Customer acquisition and retention don’t have to be so difficult.

Demonstrate that your brand understands and shares your audience members’ values and ideals.

Then, they will want to hear what you have to say.

Establish a relationship, leverage your data, and follow through on your promises to create brand loyalists who carry your message to a wider audience.

Disclosure: P&G is a RAPP client.

This guest post is co-authored by Cecy Shveid, SVP Planning at RAPP and Cody Hudson, the Director of Strategic Planning at RAPP. 

With over 15 years of hands on marketing experience, Cody Hudson is driven to find the sweet-spots within consumer and data trends that allow a brand’s voice to resonate and evolve. From the attribution model challenges of mobile and social, to the complexities of commerce-enabled content, the field fuels her fascination and drive. Since joining RAPP, she has lent her talents to American Family Insurance, ZIX, Greyhound and Toyota.

About Cecy Shveid

SVP Planning Cecy Shveid, RAPP Dallas, has 25 years of experience building global brands and business through heart-opening insights and data-driven strategy.

  • Hi Cecy,

    This is the challenge, isn’t it, to connect with your clientele. I resonate with this; “Creating an emotional connection with audience members is powerful.” But how to do that? One way I try to connect with customers it by reaching out in a personal email to ask them how they found us. This often (but not always) opens the conversation. It is something they don’t expect because customer service is so automated and impersonal these days!

    Thanks for the reminder to think about what matters to them. I used to craft the posters and my workshops to reflect current concerns that most people face. Got to do that with my business too!

    Have a good one!

    • Thank you for sharing, Lori. You mention the all-important elements of surprise and personalization, which can be achieved at scale with the right planning and tools in place. Customer profiles allow a brand to understand, anticipate and support on a 1-to-1 basis. In an ideal state, every engagement builds upon the last, recognizing the context and preceding behaviors so that messages are both relevant and compelling.

      One of the first steps toward achieving this is to map out the customer journey against an illustrative data profile. What are a customer’s mindset and needs at each stage of a journey? How and what information about them is being captured? Guided by insight, how does this then inform a decisioned and automated message strategy that ushers prospects and customers toward a desired connection and action?


      Cody Hudson (co-author)

  • More than ever brands need to focus on building strong connections with its customers.

    Before creating strategies and mapping customer journey, take the time to know and understand your customer. So basic, and yet so often overlooked.

    Deliver on your promises is what keeps a brand in its “customers’ loop.”

    We are creatures of habit and we tend to be loyal if we have positive experiences with the brands we choose. Why not build on that?

    Great post Cecy and Cody! Thank you!