Challenge: ECHO faced a consumer perception problem. This international company added its industry-leading outdoor hand-held power equipment to Home Depot stores across North America to make them even more convenient for professional users to access; however, even though their powerful engines and attention to quality did not change (in fact, it improved), the perception of the brand and product by professional users was that ECHO downgraded to a “consumer brand.” Despite lab tests and other industry proof to the contrary, it began losing its status as “the professional’s choice” to competitors not being sold in retail stores.
Solution: Taking advantage of Sensei Partner, Sam Fiorella’s expertise in the subject, ECHO hired Sensei to develop an influence marketing strategy to change brand perception, regain lost customers, and earn a new generation of professional users of outdoor hand-held power equipment.
Using the strategies outlined in Sam’s book Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers, we identified a select group of independent professional users perfectly suited to drive more of the professional-to-professional conversations that will change perceptions and re-introduce facts and ‘social proof” among professional users. The ECHO User Advisory Group was formed – an on-going volunteer group of industry leaders from across North America who were not loyal to the ECHO brand, to serve as both front-line advisors to product managers and independent voices for the brand.
Further, Sensei’s CXM Platform was utilized to create the ECHOMeansBusiness.com community, which is the technical foundation for a multi-year campaign to provide a strong peer-to-peer community for grounds and tree maintenance professionals. The aim is to offer industry and tool information and resources to help members grow their businesses and operate them more profitably.
Results: The program was just launched, stay tuned for initial results. In the meantime, 95% of the brand detractors engaged have stated that their perceptions about ECHO products were incorrect, have begun advocating for ECHO, and that they’d be adding ECHO products to the tools they use every day in their professional landscaping and arbor businesses.