Marketing is fast-paced. We all know that both brands and customers can change their needs and offerings from week to week. Everyone pivots, chasing the next desirable thing and leaving behind the old to become forgotten or, at best, vintage. Customers react to the market, media adapts and then we start it all over again. Understanding this is the sub-conscious layer of free-market economies, a good marketer’s instinct is to make the customer central to their strategic thinking and vision.
However, we live in different, extra-ordinary times and consumer values are shifting faster than ever before. The cycle of week-to-week has given way to daily adaption; and so, for me, a space businesses need to be thinking about is their brand purpose.
Consumers Look Beyond The Label Now More Than Ever
Information data sets and analysis are not there yet, but we anticipate the current pandemic crisis to have profound effects on speeding up a growing consumer trend. Consumers are increasingly moving away from making decisions based on, up until now, mainstay values of product selection and price. Instead, there is a trend of purchasers holding loyalty back and looking ‘beyond the label’ to understand what any company’s brand purpose is, and most importantly, whether it matches their own beliefs.
We can see this playing out openly today during this pandemic crisis in the backlash levied on brands who consumers consider to have handled Covid-19 challenges poorly. The damage to those brands could be felt for years, if not indefinitely.
Standing Out Through Your Brand Purpose
Marketplaces are crowded, choice is abundant and consumers can, for the reason above, be increasingly fickle, and rightfully so. They are king, but today the race for differentiation has never been more acute as we look for new ways to engage with customers.
In a recent post, I explained thinking about how this time represents a window and opportunity to review your brand strategy. Realigning your brand purpose could be your starting point; questioning whether your brand is future focussed and meeting the expectations of changing consumer (B2B and B2C) values.
Your New ‘Differential’ Competitive Advantage
Throw that round the boardroom and see heads spin – especially the FD’s – but there is a compelling rationale for realigning your brand fast against the current economic and political backdrop. Mark Ritson dived into the corporate strategic thinking require to push ahead whilst others pull back – it’s well worth a read.
This may be a challenge for your business, in fact, any business at such short notice, but it may well provide the marketing agility you have recently discovered you lack. As I also wrote about in my last post (A Sudden Need To Think Differently), just think how many companies have simply got it wrong in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Whilst it has flushed out the likes of Sports Direct as being a company with an arguably ruthless brand purpose, it has also seen a swathe of companies turn Covid-19 into a chance to serve. When this crisis abates, they will have bought significant brand equity and will be positioned best for the bounce back.
Now is the time to be giving. How can you add value to your customer’s lives today so that they might remember you favourably tomorrow?
Out With The Old, In With The New Human Customer Experience
Customer experience expectations are on the rise. The new marketing paradigm should be human experiences from human businesses.
In my view, the brands that will succeed most will be those who:
- lead on elevating their service
- who actively consider the human needs of their customers
- who look to build, value and reward relationships
- who create helpful interactions
Your Customer Brand Experience & Technology
Economics and political landscapes are complex enough, but it is also worth taking account of technology as you consider your brand purpose and realigning your organisation. What these challenging times have shown us is how omnichannel brand marketing is even more important than even digital evangelists had believed.
Wherever you move to, your digital business needs to come with you and be represented effectively across all your channels. Your business may well need a digital upgrade.
The Big Think: Capitalism Is Dead, Long Live Capitalism 2.0
Could it be that as consumer values and brand loyalty factors change, so do the rules of business and how companies operate in this country, and even globally, as representatives of the UK? Could it be, a new sustainable form of capitalism emerges?
My view is that commercially, economically and even socially, we didn’t learn our lessons after the 2008 financial crash. So many companies have been teetering on the edge and are now being exposed for being asset-stripped, debt laden and pension fund robbed entities – shadows of their former selves.
As shopped, voters and citizens, we have to take some responsibility as we chose not to act. We haven’t made a stand to address the wider commercial inequities out there that are leading to an unbalanced and overexposed UK economy – think the losing disadvantaged high street and many other small independent traders unable to compete with global players.
The reality today is the brand purposes of big economy driving business is centered only share price values, market cap and dividends at all cost.
My conclusion is that, as consumers, we can force companies to contribute to society, and businesses and brands must think fast and think differently to establish new ‘giving’ brand purposes if they want to survive, and just as importantly, if they want to thrive.
For advice, help and assistance in addressing your brand promise, why not reach out and have a chat with us? Let’s set it up.