December 15, 2020
We have all heard the struggle: How can we attract new customers when we don’t know where they are, what they care about, or why they are not responding? Are people listening to brand messaging? Yes, but less, is the short answer. People listen when they choose to, versus being interrupted to consider it. They will stop and listen to a finely tuned, truly creative idea, but that does not mean following that idea to purchase. It never really did.
Cats not Dogs
The issue today is that consumers are no longer like dogs that follow the leader. They will not come when you tell them to. You cannot convince them. Looking for today’s consumers to behave like dogs is like waiting for your cat to bark.
The Old: Advertisers shouting carefully crafted messages at consumers who don’t want to hear it.
The New: Companies humbly listening to what consumers tell others about the value they believe you deliver. Then, continually incorporating appropriate innovations into products to earn consumers’ loyalty, word of mouth and share of wallet.
Consistent Positive Interactions
The values your company displays when anyone experiences your brand is who you are. If those experiences are inconsistent across their many interactions, then that perception also becomes part of who you are.
Competency is Key
Your competencies are what you do. They are the unique skills and services you provide and why people want to work with you. These include both the tangible and intangible benefits of a company.
The Value Delivered
The benefits your customer receives from you are ongoing and ever-changing. The value delivered has become the heart of any viable brand. Today that value must be immediate, visible and detailed:
- Making reservations at a nearby restaurant within seconds.
- Seeing the Uber car coming, knowing the name of the driver, his or her mobile number as well as the make and model to expect.
- Tracking a package and being pinged when it arrives.
First impressions are still important
Everything you do and say emits a perception. The way you dress, carry yourself and make eye contact are all cues. The same is true for the collective presence of a company. A successful brand is the set of expectations, experiences, memories, stories and relationships that, when collectively considered, mature into trust. A consumer takes all of this into account when deciding to choose your product or service over another.
Trust is at an all-time low. It’s hard for consumers to believe in anything. Increased competition has caused heightened awareness around authenticating what companies say and do. Customers ask, “Where have you done this before?”
“Prove it,” has become a common request. So even after determining who you are, what you do and the value you deliver, it is imperative to have the facts and experiences that back up your stated beliefs.
Positive, Relevant Experiences
While a brand is the emotional relationship between the consumer and the product, you must engage with consumers and build positive brand experiences. The deeper the relationship, the more brand equity exists.
Once your company exists in the mind of the customer and is trusted, then they may begin to listen.
Branding now includes more than messaging. Empathy, active listening, prototyping digital experiences—understanding what kind of brand experiences are most needed is the key influencer for success. These principles can also help build flexible organizational cultures poised to deliver more responsive solutions.
In the past, design occurred downstream in the development process and focused on making products pretty. Branding was clever messaging and visuals based on consumer insights. Today, branding encompasses human-centered interactions, processes and services. Designers are creating experiences rather than “branded” pages. Design thinking is not only a “concept” or “idea,” it’s also a method of meeting people’s needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable way.
Design is a vital part of transformation. Brands are evolving. Transformation moves with the times and the people they serve. To learn more, download Valtech’s latest whitepaper: Transformation As a Way of Business.