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BMA 2012: Kawasaki says offer trust, likability and quality

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Chicago—The road to brand “enchantment,” according to Guy Kawasaki, is built on three pillars: trust, likability and quality. How brands and individuals apply those attributes will determine their success, said the tech venture capitalist and former Apple Inc. executive, delivering a keynote address at the BMA Annual Conference Thursday. For Kawasaki, trust may be the most compelling brand attribute. He cited e-commerce footwear retailer Zappos.com for funding shipping both ways, as well as department store chain Nordstrom Inc. and Ama-zon.com Inc. for offering generous return policies, as evincing trust that customers won't abuse their liberal sales terms. “You need something to agree on,” Kawasaki said. “If you want to be trusted, find some small way to begin a relationship.” Kawasaki, former Apple software evangelist and current managing director at Garage Technology Ventures, is the author of “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions” (Portfolio Hardcover, 2011). He offered a number of suggestions to marketers to inspire the “enchantment” he said businesses need in order to succeed:
  • Plant many seeds. In the past, Kawasaki said, marketers “sucked up” to journalists and analysts who would endorse their products. Today, top-down marketing has been replaced by social media, with an abundance of customers and other influencers who can spread positive feedback, he said.
  • Offer excellent products and services. Kawasaki said better products have powerful functionality, are “intelligent” in their addressing of customer needs, are elegant in design and have a full complement of services and support behind them, among other attributes.
  • Use “salient points” when describing products. Obscure attributes that promote product features are not nearly as compelling to customers as descriptions of how the product can make a difference in their lives.
  • Build an ecosystem of support with other companies with a stake in your success. “The totality of the product offering depends on consultants, special interest groups, user groups, conferences and others,” Kawasaki said, of this last point. “These people and companies want you to succeed, because if you fail they fail. Don't go it alone. Share the wealth and responsibility.”
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