A Survival Guide for Municipalities During COVID-19

The past year has welcomed several unprecedented challenges. Towns and cities are among some of the most vulnerable victims to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite these challenges, there are things you can do to help your community thrive. Continue reading this survival guide to ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to survive these times.

Survival Tip #1: Be communicative.

Two-way communication involves active engagement and responsiveness. To communicate effectively, it’s essential that you listen to each of your stakeholders. Stakeholders act as various operators, including, but not limited to, residents, tourists, local government officials, local law enforcement, and public safety officials. 

Your stakeholders, and the relationships you build with them, are the backbone of your community. Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. When you fail to communicate effectively, you promote dishonesty and inauthenticity, which can destroy the trust of your stakeholders. Therefore, it’s important for your community to effectively communicate with each of its stakeholders to build and maintain trustworthy relationships.

Survival Tip #2: Avoid homogeneity. 

Homogeneity is the belief that everyone is the same. It’s common for individuals to resort to homogeneity when assessing their audience. Your communication efforts are sure to fail when you misinterpret all areas of your audience as one and the same. This mistake is heightened for those who operate communities, as they tend to believe that a shared location means shared values and beliefs.

Demographic information isn’t isolated to geographic location but also includes race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and political identity. You can understand your audience on a larger, more in-depth level by assessing all components of demographic information. By avoiding homogeneity, you can shape your communication efforts to include and gain support from all members of your audience. Your audience’s support can help your community withstand the test of time.

Conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis.

A S.W.O.T. analysis assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an entity. Many mistakenly believe that this kind of analysis is only applicable to businesses, but a S.W.O.T. analysis is beneficial for anyone looking to develop a plan or strategy, including communities. Conducting a S.W.O.T. analysis can help your community grow in ways that it hasn’t considered before.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal, things that you have some control over and can change. If you follow the two previously mentioned tips, you’re sure to have audience communication as a strength. However, it’s important to understand that the presence of strengths doesn’t make your weaknesses disappear.

Opportunities and threats are external. Typically, there’s little to no control of these factors. You can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you can’t change them. The COVID-19 pandemic is surely a threat for businesses, non-profit organizations, and communities around the world. However, sometimes threats can present us with opportunities. For example, your community can take this time to strengthen its internal operations by addressing other needs that it’s brushed off. 

Reach out for help.

Survival is difficult as is, but when a force as powerful as COVID-19 is acting against you, it can be difficult to even see survival as an option. Don’t let this scare you! By following this survival guide, you can ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to thrive during these times. PivotPath understands that implementing change isn’t always easy. Contact us for a free consultation today. Our team of innovative creatives can help your community carry out this survival guide.

Top Tips to Creating Customer Loyalty

Happy April and International Customer Loyalty Month!

International Customer Loyalty Month is an extremely important month for organizations and businesses to make an extra effort when creating a loyal customer base. Customer loyalty is essential to any business, as it can increase revenue, drive repeat business, and defend against competitors. 

Continue reading for the top tips to creating and retaining customer loyalty.

Build better communication:

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but communication is broad. Consider what elements of communication will help you reach your customers and maintain their loyalty.

First, your organization needs to be present for its audience. Communication efforts must be frequent and relevant to ensure that your organization, message, and products are not forgotten. You will achieve a loyal customer base when you consistently deliver valuable and enjoyable experiences to your audience. Demonstrate consistency in your communication through monthly newsletters, social media, events, promotions, and more. Consistent, positive, and valuable communication tactics will improve your customer relationships and increase loyalty. 

Consistent communication is great, but without listening to your customers, your communication lacks value and meaning. Meaningful relationships that result in customer loyalty are built on effective listening. The best way to determine what your customers want is to listen. So, take the time to look at feedback, read reviews, and understand your customers’ points of view. According to Microsoft, 77% of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback. Customers will show loyalty to you and your organization if you show loyalty to them and their points of view. 

Create a customer loyalty program:

Creating a customer loyalty program is one of the best and most effective ways to increase a loyal customer base. Because loyalty programs are built around rewards and benefits, they prove to be effective when increasing loyalty and interest. According to smallbizgenius, 75% of consumers say they favor companies that offer rewards. People want to feel celebrated and seen. Customer loyalty programs help your organization highlight and reward customers that have been committed to your brand, and offer incentives to continue their commitment.

Customer loyalty programs can feature:

  • Games
  • Tier Systems
  • Points Systems
  • VIP Benefits
  • Hybrid Programs
  • And many more!

Though they differ in structure, all of these programs include benefits or rewards to incentivize loyalty to your organization. Consider researching the above customer loyalty programs to find out which one is most fitting for your organization. 

Be authentic and transparent:

Your organization must be authentic and transparent to build strong relationships and gain loyal customers. People do not want to connect with brands that are impersonal or machine-like; they want a relationship with a brand that resembles a real person. Your authenticity shines when you share your values and mission to create a meaningful brand. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 64% of customers say that brand values are the #1 reason why they create a relationship with a brand. Being authentic and explicitly sharing and showcasing your brands values and beliefs will help your organization make loyal customers.

In addition to being authentic, your brand needs to be transparent and honest. Honesty is the best policy, even in business, so be upfront with your customers when things do not go as planned or a mistake is made. Customers will be loyal to your organization when they know that you are not hiding anything from them or deceiving them in any way. No one likes to be wrong or make mistakes. However, the truth is appreciated, and remaining honest with your customers will show them that you value their relationship, thus promoting loyalty.

Make life easy for your customers:

People tend to engage more when it requires little effort, so do not make your customers work hard to engage with your brand! Engaging with your organization should be effortless and enjoyable. A good experience will grow customer loyalty exponentially: according to PWC, 73% of consumers say a good experience is the main factor that influences their brand loyalties.

Be flexible and anticipate problems to make your customers’ experience easy and enjoyable. Be reasonably understanding of each customer’s circumstances so that their experience with your organization is as effortless as possible. For example, if you have a customer that was unable to adhere to your 30-day return policy because of the weather or being out of town, be understanding and flexible to their situation. By making it easy on them, you are making it easier for your organization to build customer loyalty and increase retention. 

Though Customer Loyalty Month is during April, customer loyalty should be an effort that carries throughout the year! Creating loyalty takes time, so do not hesitate to ask for help. PivotPath is here to provide you with the best marketing services without the high costs of traditional agencies. Letting us take on some of the responsibility will help you put more time into what really matters: your customers and their loyalty and commitment to your organization.

5 Signs Your Agency Needs a New Logo ASAP

A logo largely defines how consumers will perceive a brand. In other words, it can make or break a brand’s success. Here are five signs that your agency needs a new logo ASAP.

It doesn’t reflect who you are.

Branding is the representation of your agency as a personality. An effective logo design must communicate who you are.   

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What makes you different?

Imagine your brand as a person. What does that person look like? What does that person sound like? Develop your design with consideration for how you want your brand to be perceived. 

It doesn’t consider all aspects of visual communication.

A brand’s logo is easily the largest component of its visual communication. 

Visual communication involves using visual elements to tell a story. For instance, the color, shape, form, place, proximity, and typography of your design should readably illustrate your agency’s identity. Is the shape distracting? Is the font readable? Ask yourself these questions. Ineffective visual communication can cause potential consumers to deter.

Its colors don’t communicate.

Color influences perception. Color theory recognizes that each color communicates a different meaning. Once you understand who your brand is and what it looks like, your logo should include colors that reflect that identity. 

Warm colors like red and yellow evoke action and urgency, whereas cool colors like blue and green communicate peace and calm. When using more than one color in a design, it’s important to understand that some colors work together, while others do not. 

It’s not consistent. 

Your logo must be consistent across all channels. 

All of your branding materials must have your logo on them, from your website, to your social media, and even your letterhead. A brand compromises its credibility and the trust of its audience when it fails to consistently display its visual identity.  

It doesn’t motivate.

An effective logo will add value to a brand and influence its audience to engage with the brand. 

Your design should communicate the emotion and personality of your brand in efforts to persuade. Your brand’s image can motivate your audience to act. Audiences are more motivated to act when they identify with a brand. Motivating action will bring more business, and more business will bring consumer loyalty, which is crucial for a long-lasting presence.

Restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult.

Branding involves creating an image that markets. A logo motivates consumers to recognize and engage with a brand. 

If you’ve read this far, the odds are that your agency needs a new design. It may sound overwhelming, but restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact PivotPath for a free consultation today, our team of innovative creatives can help your agency develop a logo that is sure to entice your audience and promote growth.

Effectively listening to your audience is essential

In marketing, it’s our job to communicate to our audience, inform them, and engage them, right? Yes, but there is more to it. As marketers, a large part of our job is listening.

Effectively listening to an audience is essential to the growth of any organization or business. It helps to cultivate relationships, build rapport, increase loyalty, and better direct development, leading to a stronger, more sustainable business. But, how do you listen effectively?

Continue reading to learn how to be an effective listener and why it will benefit your business.

Why you should effectively listen to your audience:

Build meaningful relationships-

Your audience and customers want to feel truly understood and heard. According to NewVoiceMedia, feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services. By genuinely listening to your audience, you are shifting the communication from one-way to two-way, which promotes meaningful relationships.

Increase customer loyalty and retention-

Listening to your audience can help you create meaningful relationships, which can benefit your business in many ways. First, it helps your business increase customer loyalty and retention. When making a purchase or investment, 64% of people find the customer experience more important than price, according to Gartner. Your audience is more likely to remain loyal to your business if you listen to their feedback, and provide them with a relationship and experience that they value.

Build rapport that leads to referrals-

Another benefit of listening to your audience is building a rapport that leads to positive referrals. Customers are not afraid to share their business experiences with friends, family, and even strangers. With the unlimited reach granted by social media and the internet, a customer’s experience never goes unnoticed. According to Extole, 83% of customers are willing to refer after a positive experience with a business. The more you listen to your customers, the more they value the relationship with your business, which will make them more likely to refer others to your services or products.

Better direct your marketing efforts-

Many of us remember being told to listen with “ears open and mouths shut” so that we could learn in grade school. Although it may seem like a child’s lesson, it’s applicable to many aspects of life, including marketing. When you take the time to listen to your audience, you are able to learn more about them: their likes, dislikes, behaviors, and attitudes. This information can be used to better your marketing efforts, customizing them to your audience to get the best reaction and engagement. You can also implement direct suggestions or feedback from customers. This will help improve your business, cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience, and show that you care about their feedback.

How to effectively listen to your audience:

Take part in active listening-

First and foremost, it is important to understand the difference between listening and active listening. When someone chooses to actively listen, they focus on what the other person is saying and try to fully understand the other person’s point of view.

Active listening is essential when communicating with your audience because it helps to show that you are genuine and that you care about what your audience has to say. Actively listen by focusing on what your audience is communicating to you. If given the opportunity, repeat their communications back to them to ensure that you fully understand what they are saying. This will show your audience and customers that you are trustworthy and are invested in their ideas.

Participate in social listening-

Social media is a very important resource when it comes to effectively listening to your audience. Your audience will take to social media for a variety of reasons: to compliment, criticize, complain, or to ask for help. Because of this, social listening a very important thing for your organization or business to partake in.

According to Hootsuite, social listening is the process of monitoring social media platforms and channels for when anyone, especially your audience, mentions your brand, competitors, products, and more. By social listening, a business is able to gain insights into what their audience is thinking and understand what is being said about their brand.

Rely on analytics-

When businesses and organizations consult data, they are using trends in their audiences’ behavior to infer their audience wants, likes, dislikes, and needs. Analytics like website traffic, social media engagement rates, email open and click rates, CTA response, and many others are pieces of data that allow you to listen to what your audience wants.

Understanding the importance of analytics and using the data to listen to your audience will help your organization identify big-picture ideas that can influence other, more specific areas of your marketing strategy.

 

As shown, listening to your audience is vital to the success of your business or organization. But, listening takes time. PivotPath offers a wide range of services that work to effectively listen to audiences. Contact us today for a free consultation, so we can assist you in your listening efforts. PivotPath understands that listening leads to meaningful relationships, and meaningful relationships lead to growing success.