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How to Use 6 Moments of Truth to Create a Strong Bond Between Customers and Your Brand

customers and branding

In the 1980s, Jan Carlzon, President of Scandinavian Airlines, introduced the concept of the “moments of truth� to his organization. In Carlzon’s words, “The Moments of Truth are the various points at which people connect with the brand.� Here is how to use six moments of truth to create a strong bond between your customers and your brand.

Moments of Truth

Carlzon believed that if you create a positive outcome at each Moment of Truth — then your business will be successful. That theory proved accurate when Scandinavian Airlines became one of the most admired industry brands, despite tough competition.

Since then, the Moments of Truth concept gained momentum as it rolled through sales, traditional marketing, and growth marketing that focuses on user acquisition and retaining customers, and turning them into passionate advocates.

Each brand uses it to build an emotional connection with customers at each moment.

Initially, only Carlzon used the concept of Moments of Truth. As the theory progressed, more brands, like Procter & Gamble, Google, and others, joined the movement, unveiling the exact Moments of Truth necessary to reach their users’ hearts.

Today, you will find countless micro-moments involved in the theory. In this post, I will discuss six significant moments at each step of the entire customer journey.

Without further ado, let’s explore what those moments are and how they will help you build a long-lasting relationship with customers.

6 Moments of Truth to Build a Strong Bond with Customers

1. Less than Zero Moments of Truth (<ZMOT): “I don’t know.�

People get on Google and research products or services before buying them. But a “before-Google� moment exists when something happens in the customers’ lives that lead them to go online and find out the answers or solutions.

This is the “Less than Zero Moment of Truth� (or “<ZMOT�). A brand must plant the idea of why potential customers need their product or service before they jump onto Google for more information. Call this the “awareness stage� when customers have a problem but are not aware of it yet.

To create awareness during Less than Zero Moments of Truth, you will require:

  • Data on who your targeted audience is
  • Data on which channels they hang out in the most
  • Content with search intent that fits well at the awareness stage, as well as fits the channel itself

For example, Femibion is a German pregnancy healthcare brand owned by Merck Consumer Health. Merck wanted to raise brand awareness by offering a free baby-planning book called Femibion BabyPlanung.

To sell the planning book would be challenging because mothers weren’t even aware that they needed a baby-planning book to demystify practical issues during pregnancy.

Merck took this challenge and worked with Facebook on a multistage campaign, targeting female audiences in Germany.

The campaign debuted with a cheeky series of carousel ads, presenting blissfully happy pictures of “baby-making places,� or particular spots where women might conceive a child.

The later ads possessed a more standard format, featuring the book’s image, accompanied by a call to action.

By the time the brand ended the promotion, the ads had a 35% increase in conversion rate. As a bonus, the company successfully generated 10K leads while decreasing their sample distribution cost by 2X.

Because Less than Zero Moments of Truth is just an awareness stage, you can’t guarantee leads. Generally, when users become aware of a problem or solution, their next step is to Google-it — which brings us to our next Moment of Truth.

2. Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT): “This is the problem. I need a solution.�

Here comes your favorite moment: When potential customers jump onto Google to find the solution or answer to their problem or question. They may find themselves fascinated by your product or service while on their journey.

The moment takes place before the consumer has decided to buy. At this moment, consumers also look for websites, reviews, and other confirming data before they make up their minds.

Google, itself came up with the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) in 2011.

ZMOT is a collection of multiple moments, also known as a “micro-moment,� wherein consumers go through multiple mini-moments before buying the product.

How does a Micro-Moment Play Out?

Picture this: A traveler is seeking a new place to explore. He runs into an ad for a Smoky Mountain resort on social media. He searches Google to see how the place looks and read some Google reviews; then, he asks friends and checks out YouTube to find worthy places around the resort.

In this case, the potential customer goes through multiple micro-moments before making fully informed decisions using all available sources.

The key here is to optimize each micro-moment that takes place along the journey, starting from when consumers go online to when they select the product or service, read reviews, compare information, and so on.

There are three steps to optimize each Zero Moment of Truth:

  • Find your zero moments: Imagine a customer’s journey, starting from going to Google with potential searches to consuming everything that comes along the way. Note every moment that takes place. Figure out ways to integrate your brand. For example, you can collect Google reviews from past customers to convince future customers.
  • Answer the questions that customers ask: Work on discovering all the questions those potential customers may ask and answer them in every possible way. For example, answer the question, “What are the best places to visit around the Eiffel Tower?â€� in an article or video format.
  • Adopt four parts of communication: There are four ways to communicate with your potential customers at the Zero Moment of Truth stage via content:
    1. Paid advertisements: Google ads or social media ads
    2. Owned content: Creating your own content to promote your brand
    3. Earned content: Winning online product reviews and social media buzz
    4. Shared content: Natural brand mentions, like people sharing your stories by word of mouth

Once consumers register your brand in their mind after repeated mentions in various micro-moments, they become ready to click “buy�—but first, they need a little nudge.

3. First Moment of Truth (FMOT): “I want to buy it but…�

Now comes the most sensitive moment.

First coined by Procter & Gamble, the “First Moments of Truth� (or “FMOT�) are the 3-7 seconds after the shopper has become convinced by the brand’s product or service. This is when brands have the best chance to convert searchers into buyers by bewitching their senses, values, and emotions.

Generally, these moments involve the customer reading a description or hearing a pitch to understand better how the product serves their needs.

Consider this: Dao Labs is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) creator brand for a Westernized audience. They wanted to make their medicine feel approachable, credible, and necessary for a balanced lifestyle.

The problem was when visitors arrived at their product page; they didn’t feel familiar with TCM. So, the brand started telling large stories wrapped in history, usage, and benefits clearly.

As a result, they built a product page that appealed to human emotions, values, and everyday health issues.

A good presentation with a little list of how your product will fulfill the user’s needs is all you will need to turn visitors into buyers. On top of that, allowing users to zoom in and showing multiple angles will increase their likelihood of clicking the “buy� button.

Once they click “buy� and finish the payment, this is where retailers typically drop the ball.

Your real journey to create strong bonds begins when customers purchase your product and reach the moment of the gap.

4. Actual Moment of Truth (AMOT): “When will my product arrive?�

Once consumers buy a product, brands lose control over the process (except for keeping customers informed). More importantly, no one looks after the emotions that customers go through when purchasing the product and when they receive it.

The time period can be as short as immediate product delivery, like an online subscription, or a few days’ deliveries for a physical product.

Amit Sharma, Founder and CEO of Narvar, call this gap the “Actual Moment of Truth� (or “AMOT�). This is where you have an opportunity to do more than send a shipping confirmation email. The actual moment of truth is where you have an opportunity to tell the customer that they made the best decision by choosing you over others.

Let’s take an example of cold cream to understand how to keep users entertained during the AMOT.

Let’s say a customer buys cold cream online from a brand. Along with the shipment details, the brand can offer suggestions on when to use the cream and how many times it should be applied. Maybe the brand can go even further by sharing tips on protecting their skin against chilly weather.

Regardless of your business, there are always Actual Moments of Truth that occur while the customer waits for the product to arrive. Find them and use them as an opportunity to deliver a more positive experience.

After customers receive your product and are enjoying the tips you have sent them during the AMOT, they will move towards a resulting experience. It is at this point when your product is expected to support your pre-purchase promises.

5. Second Moment of Truth (SMOT): “Let’s Use the product.�

When customers receive the product and start using it, it has a major impact on their satisfaction level. Hands-on product experience directly affects the reputation of a brand, as well as its audience reach. This is when customers subconsciously start thinking about whether they would like to continue a relationship with the brand or not.

Procter & Gamble coined this moment as the “Second Moment of Truth� (or “SMOT�), which is when customers start using the product.

Many marketers’ challenge is to ensure an excellent experience when everything depends on the product’s usage.

Why do you need content marketing?

  1. To provide targeted information to help customers use their products.
  2. To offer toll-free numbers to solve their issues instantly, for free.
  3. To help them return or fix the product as soon as possible.
  4. To send them how-to videos and user guides.
  5. To be accessible instantly to answer their questions.

By doing so, brands will potentially convert a one-time buyer into a fan. Even if your product fails to meet their expectations, you can always promise to live up to the next time.

When customers finish experiencing your product from the inside-out, they will mark the occasion by sharing their experience with friends, family, and online communities.

6. Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT): “Hey, I bought this product, and it’s…�

The instant customers get familiar with your product; they will run to their friends and online networks to share their experience with others. The intention behind this is their need for self-expression and their desire to notify others.

Procter & Gamble termed this as the“Ultimate Moment of Truth� (or “UMOT�). This is why customers provide feedback on products in multiple formats, like sharing with friends or colleagues, posting Google reviews and Facebook reviews, uploading YouTube videos, etc.

Shared experiences are like a snowball. Once it starts rolling down a long, snowy hill, it collects more snow on the way and turns into a big ball that can make or break your brand. The more people share experiences with others, the more people become aware of your brand. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the feedback that is shared.

These reviews will become discoverable and influential enough on search networks to beat all your SEO and branding strategies.

Sure, you don’t have control over how customers will experience your product and share their opinions about it online. But you can respond to them better and align their experience with their expectations.

The question is: How?

Let’s take a look at these foolproof steps to optimize the Ultimate Moment of Truth.

Step 1: Collects insights on customer experience.

Collect customer feedback from all places possible. You can use tools that offer brand mention services to inquire about places where people share their brand experiences. Keep track of customer call feedback and complaints to obtain a deeper understanding of the customer experience.

Step 2: Get a team involved

Decentralize your feedback efforts by allocating team members to take care of positive or negative feedback. This can include apologizing for defects and promising to exchange or refund the product, or thank you for an impressive review.

Step 3: Keep tabs on opportunities

Finally, instruct your team to stay focused on opportunities to take advantage of the ultimate Moments of Truth. No matter whether customers are too angry or unimpressed with your products to keep the relationship going, you can grab these opportunities to send offers that will make up for their disappointment or help them develop a good impression of your brand.

These optimized Ultimate Moments of Truth will complement the entire customer journey. Each shared experience, along with the brand’s response to them, will turn into a Zero Moment of Truth for each potential customer. In other words, the Ultimate Moment of Truth can be the Zero Moment of Truth for other customers who come online with lots of questions in mind.

And the cycle keeps going.

What you will realize is that moments of truth aren’t just moments. They are an experienced, fueled continuum.

Keep the flow going and come back to share your experience.

The post How to Use 6 Moments of Truth to Create a Strong Bond Between Customers and Your Brand appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Building a Viable Web Presence for Your Business

web presence business

In today’s digital age, any company that wants to succeed needs to have a robust online presence. A beneficial and robust web for your business can be a daunting task for small businesses, especially those that are too small to afford a marketing department. Here is how to build a viable web presence for your business.

Before tackling the world of online business, every entrepreneur should learn what the process of taking your business online involves.

Business Website Design

Your website exists to attract the attention of visitors and convert them into paying customers. Because of this, every element of the site must be chosen carefully. The home and internal pages should have a simple layout and be easy to navigate for first-time viewers.

Landing Pages

The landing page should not be overly filled with high-resolution photos or auto-playing videos. These elements can look impressive, but they can also take a long time to load.

Additionally, some people find animations and moving images distracting and annoying, making the landing page hard for them to read. Videos should instead be put on other pages, with links leading to them. Content management solutions are also available to speed up the loading of your website.

The landing page must be kept updated. If the company is running an advertising campaign or offering special products or promotions, the landing page needs to match that respective messaging. For example, if you own a dental practice running $99 teeth whitening ads on Facebook, then the page that they land on, after clicking that ad, should display that deal.


Poor quality stock photos can make a company look both cheap and unprofessional. Pay extra for high-quality stock photography, or capture your own.

Additionally, people tend to think emotionally before they think logically. It is, therefore, a good idea for website pictures to evoke emotions that make people want to buy the product or service being offered.


Most potential customers view testimonials as a significant factor in making their purchasing decisions. The best customer testimonials should be featured prominently on the company website. Video customer testimonials maybe even more effective.

Prospective customers should never be presented with long lists of choices. They tend to make people feel overwhelmed. A business website should only use shortlists of simple choices.

Any keywords that are used in company advertising should also be used on the company website. It makes the company easier to find online, and also makes it appear more professional.

Because most customers use some mobile device to get online, a business website should be optimized for mobile device users. Images and menus and such should be small enough not to require a lot of scrolling or resizing.

The website should be extensively tested before it is made public. Different people, who had nothing to do with creating the website, should try to use it. Delaying a launch to get the website working perfectly is better than rushing out a website with serious bugs.

When Building a Business Web Presence, the Blog Design Matters

The company blog is not a place to put advertising. Nothing will repel prospective customers faster than seeing that the company blog is nothing more than a platform for advertising. Blog readers want more than ads; they want a blog to have some kind of added value. This is an important part of modern online business.

The blog should give readers useful information, and even content that is meant just for fun. It should address topics that prospective customers care about. This will draw first-time readers to return over and over again, and draw them into exploring your site further.

The idea is to create a community centered around the blog.

Some of the blog posts can involve products and services that the company offers. However, this should always be done in the context of telling the customers a larger story, perhaps about how they can solve a common problem, or even something funny that happened.

Blogging is a long-term investment of time and effort.

It takes dedicated time to develop a large body of high quality, original content. It also can take time to develop trust with the blog readers. However, with some persistence, the company blog can become a major revenue booster.

Steady blog readership means a steady percentage of readers going from the blog to the company website and making purchases. Web content never sleeps; it is at work 24 hours a day, drawing in prospective customers and turning them into paying customers.

No programming skills are needed to start a company blog. There are a lot of free blog hosting sites online. They are usually easy to use, and it’s easy to link to them from the company website. A minimum of one article should be posted to the blog every month.

Setting Up Social Media for Your Business

Social media presence can also increase sales, blog readership, and web traffic, and even build up a pool of positive reviews.

Before your social media presence can be established, however, one or more sites must be selected for it. The various potential social media sites that are under consideration should be researched thoroughly.

Both individual and company profiles and pages should be read, particularly the comments. Every social media site has its own culture and set of customs.

Some kinds of behavior are considered acceptable there while others are not. The proper etiquette should be understood before anything is posted.

A business social media presence should have some depth to it.

There needs to be more information than can be found on the company website, something that can engage potential customers. This is the place to give the company something of a personal touch, something to make potential customers care. A business social media site is a place for the business to engage with people on a social level.

Who will manage our online presence?

There needs to be at least one person (maybe yourself) whose responsibility includes managing the company’s social media accounts, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. A company social media site is a place where customers will go to ask questions and make requests.

Engaging with these questions and complaints quickly and professionally will make the company look viable.

Commenters should be engaged on any reasonable topics they discuss. They should be given assistance and useful information even when it is not directly related to sales.

Questions should be asked when appropriate, to make the company seem friendly and interested. Every post should be examined carefully before it is made, to make sure that it does not accidentally offend anybody, or make the company seem foolish, unprofessional, or antagonistic.

Marketing Online

There are three primary strategies for advertising online: search engine optimization, pay-per-click, and content marketing. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a way to improve the company website’s search engine ranking in search engines such as Google.

Most users never look past the first page of results when looking for a place to shop. This means that it is important to get ranked on Page 1 for the keywords that matter to your bottom line. SEO is a critical long-term strategy for any business.

PPC or pay-per-click advertising uses keywords to determine which ads viewers see on search engine results pages. In other words, when people enter specific keywords, paid ads related to those keywords appear on the results page.

These ads are paid based on the number of people who click on them. It is a viable way to generate immediate sales if executed correctly. Setting up the ads is typically requires the services of a professional or agency to maximize ROI or return on investment.

That digital marketing company will optimize every facet of the campaign, including A/B testing and running experiments on different channels to find what converts the best. Jay Nanda has written about A/B testing in “A scientific approach to better digital marketing” for the company oshyn.

Content marketing involves creating quality online content that is designed to send traffic to the website.

Creating a site with quality online content that brings traffic to your site can involve blogging and events.

For example, an online hobby store could create a web resource about model making, including tips, pictures of popular or well-constructed models, instructions for painting, and even a model discussion forum.

The point of content marketing is to create a valuable online resource that anyone with that interest will want to use all the time. When descriptions of the products needed for the interest are mentioned, they can be company products that link back to the company’s product pages.

Content marketing tends to be a long-term strategy, as community building takes time. The significant advantage of this approach is that it requires little money and can be developed when convenient.

The internet is a critical tool for all modern businesses.

The process of getting a business online should be commenced sooner than later. Your competition may already have a 10-20 year head start on you, so be patient, it may take some time to build properly, but the rewards will be there for your business in the end.

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