Entering the unknown
Before I joined Shout in May this year, the company had successfully been growing for almost a decade without either a marketing manager or a brand proposition in place.
Having carved my career in a different sector and with large PLCs – working with international brands that had clearly defined brand propositions – my new role was a professional first.
After only a few days in the office and with the team, I concluded that – contrary to the company name – Shout was reserved, both in telling the world about their achievements and celebrating the calibre of clients they work with.
Where to start?
As a marketer, establishing a new brand proposition for an already successful company, is both exciting and nerve-racking in equal measures.
Get it right and you can capitalise on a wealth of knowledge, expertise and existing content.
Get it wrong and you can damage the potential to catapult the brand to its rightful place.
Putting in the groundwork
Trying to differentiate from the competition in a crowded market, is a tough proposition. There are many companies that, at first glance, offer the same or similar services to Shout.
Hiring the wonderfully talented Creative Director of Haydn Grey, Katherine Wildman - we worked on establishing an authentic tone of voice and building on the foundation of Shout's impressive case studies, and company values –honesty, integrity, and pride.
Through in-depth discussions and workshops, it became clear that our focus is on providing a good experience – whether that's for our clients, through building long-term relationships with them, or for our clients' audiences – providing experiences they'll love through technology and creativity.
Experience? It's everything
A series of intense meetings –and a lot of tea and biscuits –brought Katherine to the strap-line, 'Experience is everything.'
It really resonated with me. Subsequently, Katherine and I had an energetic email exchange about it one Friday night as we explored the many possibilities and potential it held.
Experience customer satisfaction
Experience a dynamic range of services
Experience rapport with your audience
Experience increased revenue
Experience the latest technology
And the list goes on. Eureka!
Ideas in the office started to flow on how this could be a bedrock for all our brand communications.
I've marketed prestige vehicles in the automotive trade for over a decade. It's a competitive industry where informed buyers can negotiate on price, hold a wealth of information at their fingertips, and can be more knowledgeable about the vehicle they intend to buy than the sales executive they deal with. Here, too, experience is everything.
From the ability to park close to the showroom, the quality of the coffee on offer and the customer service they receive - buyers are in the driving seat (pardon the pun) at every stage and can be easily swayed to visit a shiny competitor's showroom, just down the road.
How does that work online?
To be inside the psyche of prospective buyers in the digital landscape, then, platforms need to deliver great digital experiences that customers want to use, again and again. They need to be ready and waiting at the zero moment of truth – that micro-moment when a person needs or wants something and turns to their device for help.
And, through my own experience, I know it's the app with the clunky user interface or the irrelevant content will meet the first cull when I'm running out of storage.
Independent technology and market research company, Forrester, say:
“Customers increasingly experience your firm's products and services via digital touch-points. The digital experiences (DXes) that your customers have via their mobile phones, rich web applications, and social media conversations are vital to your firm's growth and profitability.”
Forrester: Drive unified Customer Experiences with better Technology Strategy.
There's no such thing as too much research
What inspires me the most about the work we deliver at Shout, is the extent of the research that's carried out. It's our research that ensures the user experience is not only relevant – but enjoyable. That it adds value and makes a difference to the user.
Shout's team use several different various qualitative and quantitative methods.
For example, in the initial planning stages of our Great Exhibition of the North app - an event that held the experiences of children and families at its heart, - Shout consulted with over 600 school children across the north east to ensure we created something that had the needs of real people – and not the preconceptions of a team of technical and creative experts – embedded throughout its functionality
Before Shout built the Newcastle International Airport website and app – our team carried out in-depth conversations with the team at the airport – and visited the site to visualise the passenger journey. Then an additional layer of desk-based research to find out what technologies both airlines and passengers were using around the world. That app is now the highest-rated airport app in the UK.
Experience Shout Digital
When it comes to getting customer experience (CX) right for the people you want to engage with it's this level of research and enquiry that makes the difference. As one of our clients said, during a feedback call following a project – there's no point in developing anything that people don't want to use. And so the answer is always that experience is everything. Get that right you'll increase customer satisfaction and – in turn – your return on investment.
Rachel Roberts, Marketing Manager.