Case Study Outtakes: Prince Charming (Customer Relations Management)

The Problem: It’s difficult to be an archetypal character, appearing in several different stories–even when that character happens to be the embodiment of noble heroism. As one of the more popular stock characters in children’s fiction, Prince Charming found himself with a lot of work across several different media, including film, television, and print. On top of that, he maintains a grueling schedule of several command performances every evening when children across the globe ask to be told a story before they go to bed. (Funk and soul singer James Brown was famously referred to as “the hardest working man in show business,” but that’s only because they never considered Charming’s high demand.)

The greatest challenge Charming faced with this workload was keeping track of the varied needs of the adventures in which he was employed. It could very embarrassing indeed if he showed up expecting to kiss awake an enchanted princess, only to find that his task involved more dragon-slaying or climbing of golden hair.

Our Solution: Over the past few years, Marshall Creative has done extensive work with Customer Relations Management platforms, or CRMs. These platforms are specifically designed to provide both service providers and clients an interface that suits both of their needs, while keeping high volumes of data organized and easy for an administrator to access. We sat down with Charming and his royal retinue to explain to them how a properly calibrated and powerfully built CRM could help him meet his high volume of commitments. Possible features included:

  • A comprehensive database of people who had already tried on the glass slipper, allowing him to more efficiently work his way towards Cinderella.
  • A strategy for sending out newsletters that targeted only certain damsels in need, rather than all of them at once. We additionally suggested a partnership with a retail outlet such as Bed Bath & Beyond, and include a discount coupon code for anybody cursed by sleeping spells.
  • Easy-reference notes sections in the contact listing–no more mixing up Grumpy and Happy, or confusing one of the wicked stepsisters for the other!
  • A prominently featured feedback section so that new quests could be easily submitted for Charming’s review, approval, and prioritization. Also allowed for immediate two-way customer support by giving him a chance to make corrections on the fly any time he was notified that Daddy wasn’t telling the story right.

Why It Didn’t Work: Both the major strength and major weakness of a stock character like Prince Charming is that he’s wholly predictable. While he did show a great deal of interest in the tools that a customized CRM could offer him, he simply lacked the patience to work very hard on updating the system with new data as it came in. A creature of impulse, Charming tended to dash off with his sword and shield gleaming in the sunlight the very second he heard a cry for help, without thinking about ways to optimize his effectiveness on the journey or make sure that he could gather information from potential future leads. Management of a large client base is no easy feat, to be sure, but we figured that a man who had vanquished evil sorcerors and bested demonic beasts might be up to the task. In hindsight, perhaps it would have been best if we’d had the conversation with his magnificent lily-white steed–he definitely seemed to have the patience that his companion lacked.

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