The Best Thing You Can Give Your Customers: Access

Access to something that is not readily available is a powerful way for a brand to build a unique value proposition for customers. It sounds easier to do, though, than it is to actually do. Our job as marketers is to always think about ways to increase the value proposition for our goods and services. Here are a few possible areas to consider providing access to:

1. Information: Offer insights or perspective that will help to make patients’ lives easier.

2. Care: Aggregate information for simple and easy access that will improve patients’ knowledge and understanding.

3. People: Facilitate the interaction or congregation of people with similar interests.

4. Technology: Use technology in products or services that makes tasks easier or faster.

5. Gatekeepers: Identify the barriers customers encounter and offer wisdom to either help overcome or work around them.

6. Celebrities: To increase excitement, incorporate celebrities in events or communication when they are relevant to a topic.

7. Good health: Share resources or teach people what they need to know to acquire the resources to manage their health.

8. Education: Cut through the clutter of information and deliver knowledge to the right people at the right time.

9. New experiences: Put your brand into an experience that matters to customers as a way to drive engagement.

10. Clean and natural resources: Tap the motivation that people have to support and protect their immediate environment. Share what your company does to contribute.

Let’s look at a brand example where access made a profound difference in a company’s perceived value proposition. The financial crisis of 2012 hit brands like Citibank hard. Despite an increase in ad spending, they could not stabilize the health of their brand, particularly in New York City. Like many financial institutions, the level of customer trust in Citi had eroded significantly. So they took to the streets to address the problem, literally. The objective of the Citi Bike campaign was to bolster Citi’s value proposition by giving customers access to something they care about.

Create Memorable Experiences

Over 6,000 bikes were made available at more than 300 Citi Bike stations across the city to turn ordinary trips into delightful experiences that help people to discover New York. Citi created a website and app to offer access to bike-friendly routes along with biking tips to make the most of the adventure. The bike sharing initiative produced a significant measurable uplift in brand preference as well as an increase in new credit card and bank accounts compared to a decline in the rest of the country—during this same period.

One more point about the Citi Bike program worth noting is this: The connection it creates to a memorable experience. When we attach memories to something, it becomes worth treasuring. No amount of Citi billboards around Manhattan can accomplish this level of connection to the brand that the bike experience produced.

A deep nexus exists between access and value that marketers need to pay attention to—the ideas they embody are worth seeking out. Find out what your customers want and give it to them.

  • Donna Sturgess

    Donna Sturgess is the President and Co-founder of Buyology, Inc. and former Global Head of Innovation for GlaxoSmithKline. Her latest book is “Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive.” Follow her on Twitter: @donnasturgess.

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