Is Your Service Brand Authentically Kind?

May 6th, 2013 — 9:36am

Is your Service Brand “authentically kind”?

I ask this because there are many brands these days that have taken on the tenor of the times. They are unabashedly exactly who they say they are, they are uncompromisingly themselves, and they give everything that they say they will deliver. But when you meet face to face or over the phone or the web with their reps, you get something that is professional, sometimes even passionate, but often times a little shy of just simply human.

Let’s talk about service marketers, and what that means. You can offer the best products, served with the most efficiency, and even produce the best results, but they leave their buyers knowing that they have bought into something that is iconic-ally true, but somehow hollow. Even though it has a strong brand character, you get the sense that the people behind it understand what they are doing, but they may not understand people that well.

Having said that, let me tell you about a brand that seems to want to make real contact, in a truly human way. Consumers are just people, and in Service Marketing, you are rarely calling for service because you are happy, and everything is working well. You are frustrated, you are often confused, and unsure of what to do. That frustration bubbles off of you, no matter how good your “poker face” happens to be.

You want someone who is going to help you do better than you were doing before you called, and make you feel, well…Smart again.

Recently, when my AC went out, we called service professionals, they sent me someone promptly, Larry, the technician, and Luis, the product specialist knew what they were talking about, and they took the time to help me understand what needed to be done, and my options for doing it. I felt informed, and prepared. In the end, I didn’t feel like I was dealing with an adversary, or that the goals of me, as a consumer, were not in alignment with them, as the service provider.

I felt SMART.

I felt like I made the right decision when I called them.

It didn’t take much, it just took the understanding from everyone in the organization that if I had called them, I needed them to bring expertise, education and understanding about what I was going through, and maybe a little compassion and empathy.

If you work for a service brand, and you believe in what you are selling, and love your brand, then take some time, start a conversation with your customers, ask them how they felt when things went wrong, and how they felt when you made it better, and how the journey between those two points impacted them on a human level. If you do this, you won’t just delight the consumer, but you will have made an “authentically kind” choice, and that will be how your brand is remembered.

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Marketing God: Reaching the Faithful in a Digital Age

December 12th, 2012 — 3:32pm

Team Welt had the chance to sit down with a true marketing innovator, Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom in Amberley Village. Now, typically when you think of “marketing innovators,” they are generally working with the cutting edge in commercial products and business to business products and processes, but you rarely think of faith or God as something that needs to be (or even should be?) “marketed.”

When Rabbi Miriam came to Sholom in the summer of 2010, she saw a congregation that seemed to be aging, and recognized immediately that it would be necessary to reach out to a younger community to revitalize the congregation. She convinced her board that social media (YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) offered a way forward.

She had a new sound system, and video cameras installed in the Synagogue. She began streaming major events on the web, and offering services regularly on YouTube. She made Facebook and Twitter solid channels for offering the latest news about services, events and the human interest stories that bring congregations together.

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp

She and her team of staffers and volunteers use video to share ideas and issues, and they take full advantage of the interactive nature of social media to solicit feedback from her extended flock. Our two-hour conversation ranged across a wide variety of topics that included her background in design (she holds a B.A. in Studio Art, which helps her to understand how important the visual aspects of messaging is to the younger, web users), to her experience as a young, female Rabbi from the West Coast who happened to end up in Cincinnati. She shared stories of her vibrant and diverse family, who make their homes in far-flung places such as Brazil and London.

But even as this vibrant, thoroughly modern woman described her very contemporary life, she made it very clear that foremost in her heart and mind is faith and tradition. When you look at the themes and concepts she explores with her congregation, she may address them in the language of today, and relate them to modern touch-points and imagery, but she knows that it is the traditions that must endure.

And even though she has taken leaps forward with new media, the traditions and values that she brings out in her sermons, are the same beautiful, meaningful expressions of faith that they have been for thousands of years. She just shifts them on to new platforms, and uses new tools to make them real for a generation that still craves connection with community and spirituality that is Judaism.

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp with young members of congregation.

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5 Most Tweetable Moments at #BoldFusion

November 30th, 2012 — 4:39pm

As proud sponsors of the Digital Green Room at this year’s Bold Fusion event, Welt has narrowed down our top five favorite tweets from yesterday. That means if you weren’t able to attend the event this year…you are in luck: you can capture a glimpse of it right here.

We were glad to see the event be such a success, and the best #BoldFusion to date!

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The Largest Convergence of Young Professionals…

November 26th, 2012 — 1:48pm

Bold Fusion is the largest annual convergence of Cincinnati’s best young talent, designed to provide attendees the opportunity to gain and give fresh perspectives on a global and local issue or trend…

This year’s event, held at Music Hall on November 29, will feature none other than Guy Kawasaki. The former Chief Evangelist at Apple will share insights into his latest book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds & Actions, and share his keys to enchanting customers, employees and even bosses.

Not only will you walk away knowing the ten steps to enchantment–and with your very own copy of Guy’s book–but you will also be able to interact with Cincinnati’s leading social media members. These “Twitterati” (including Welt Branding, of course) will provide information and be tweeting live during and after the event in Hype’s Digital Green Room.

Are you attending? Then be sure to use the #boldfusion hashtag. Haven’t signed up yet? It’s not too late! Visit here. Need more information about the event? We got you covered.

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Spotlight: 5 Cincinnati Blogs You Should be Following

October 3rd, 2012 — 8:25am

This week we give a preview of 5 Cincinnati blogs you might want to add to your RSS reader.

Digging Cincinnati History

If there’s anything that we Cincinnatians love, it’s having the inside scoop…Or, at least, thinking we’re onto something exclusive!

And, because as Brandlings we’re always up for learning more about our history, we can’t get enough of Digging Cincinnati History, which uncovers fascinating stories about the buildings and families that have played a part in Cincinnati’s narrative. The blog—which allows you to view the graphics in multiple ways (sidebar, snapshot, timeslide, flipcard, magazine style, etc.)—reveals charming photographs and artifacts from our city’s past. “I believe buildings have ancestors, just like people,” says blog author Ann Senefeld.

How did the blog start? “I turned my research into blogging at the suggestion of a friend…Blogging gave me a way to showcase the every day stories of Cincinnati history through buildings and to find clients who may be interested in researching their own properties.”

Epi-Ventures

One of the most underrated things about Cincinnati: our food! Fellow adwoman Courtney Tsitouris started the Epi-Ventures food blog in 2010. “I’m the kind of person who reads a cookbook in bed like a novel—and I think the really good ones are part biography, part textbook, part teacher, and part entertainer.”

We like her initiative and that entrepreneurial spirit that shows up throughout her posts. She seems to know exactly what makes her blog so popular when she describes what she aimed to do when she started the blog: “I wanted to tell a good story, share a good recipe, maybe share a technique, and call it a night. If I’ve done any of those things, I’m happy.”

Cincinnati Blog

Well, the name might say it all: The Cincinnati Blog covers all things Cincinnati—and its been around for quite some time. The blog almost acts as a watchdog—calling people, politicians, and even news outlets out and covering all things news, media, and Cincinnati-related. If you like great analysis and a strong opinion to go with, you’ll love to check in on this blog for the latest news you should know about.

Kate’s Random Musings

Katy Crossen, aka Kate the Great, has one of the most popular blogs in Cincinnati, Kate’s Random Musings. The title really does say it all: her posts have ranged from “Mother Nature Strikes Back,” to reflections on where she is in life, to opinions on the men of Downtown Cincinnati, to an amusing laundry list of what she’s fantasizing about, and even an Ode to George Bailey, among other things in its more than eight year run. “Sometimes I can be very silly, and sometimes I can be very serious, but it’s always personal and honest, and I think that’s why the blog resonates with people,” she tells Welt.

Perhaps adding some advice to both companies and individual bloggers alike, she adds, “I only write when I’m inspired by something, and I hope my readers find something they can appreciate in my posts, too.” One thing is for certain: no list would be complete with a mention of her blog, since after all, she’s been deemed by many as the leader of social media in Cincinnati.

Welt’s Smackdown

What do hipters, Peta, online dating, KFC and even Lady Gaga have in common? They’ve all been covered on our blog, the Smackdown. It’s one part pop culture, one part design, and of course, one part marketing strategy. And if I do say so myself, it doesn’t get any better than that…and in honor of our blog, here’s a look back at one of our earliest posts, with a line that still rings true today: “We are diverse in style and thought and yet we combine to be so LARGE for a small group.”

Have another blog that we should feature next? Hit us back at @weltbrand or @kimbrandling

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