The purpose of branding is to create a valued and lasting relationship with the customers, and marketers are increasingly shifting their strategies to include a customer-focused approach.
A recent study by eMarketer found that 85% of CMOs believe that creativity and big ideas that build the brand and create an emotional connection are going to be important in the future. No surprises there.
This Valentine's Day, there will be brands who will be passionately trying court customers to remain top of mind and to keep the flame alive—and for some there will be reciprocity. Brands that genuinely understand (and care about) the values, attitudes and behaviors of their customers will always have customers who’ll be brand loyal.
With love and connection on both sides, let's explore their relationship goals:
1. Short-term versus long-term commitment
In this fast-paced industry, it’s easy for marketers to prioritise short-term results (clicks) at the expense of long-term brand impact and even though it might push the sales up briefly it’ll be counterproductive to the health of the brand in the long term.
Adidas recently announced a shift from marketing efficiency to marketing effectiveness, admitting a focus on ROI led it to over-invest in digital and performance marketing at the expense of brand building. Adidas is now working on what the right media and attribution model is for it.
Discussions around brand health, brand strength and brand equity need to be had at the most senior levels in organisations to make sure that brand love stays intact and it never gets deprioritised for the sake of performance. For many, the promise of digital advertising is the wealth of information that comes with every impression they buy. However, all this data becomes virtually useless when marketers employ the wrong success metrics for their campaigns. What use is it to know your click-through rates if more than half of those clicks are fraudulent? How much do you really gain by optimising for lower CPM’s if your impressions are not viewable? Not in front of the consumer long enough or in the wrong geo, worse still running against the wrong language?
2. Consumer experience is the queen
When planning how to engage their audience, brands should look beyond the obvious channels and understand the nuances of what actually has an impact on how people think and behave. Connecting emotionally with people and changing their perceptions is a complex task, but it can be achieved with the right insights, strategy, and execution.
Today, customers expect relevant content in relation to what they’re doing anytime, anywhere and in the format and on the device of their choosing. It’s their journey that dictates your strategy. And in order to keep up with this new kind of “always-connected” customer, brands must embrace technology to deliver unmatched customer experience through relevant content and context.
Today’s consumers have access to an infinite amount of knowledge about a brand’s products, services, and reputations. Rather than looking at sales or marketing team for information about a brand’s product, consumers can find everything they need from review sites, social media, and Google searches. So, instead of interrupting consumers and hoaxing them into visiting a brand website or retargeting them when they are not in the right frame of mind to engage or more make a purchase, we need to increasingly meet the consumers where they want to be spending time and provide them with a suitable and relevant context.
3. Do not disturb
Customers who feel they have an emotional connection to a brand become loyal advocates, make repeat purchases and recommend the brand to family and friends. Instead of focusing solely on the technology solutions they offer customers, brands first need to build trusting, thoughtful relationships. With cookies crumbling and now Chrome committing to videos with fewer intrusive ads, contextual targeting and brand suitability will become more important than ever.
Advertisers will have to explore the context of the content and make sure that the ads that run are complementary to what the viewer is engaging with at the right time and in the right environment and in the most relevant manner. Ads running near relevant content will not deplete user experience and help them with the discovery of the relevant messaging. Transgressions on digital are and will be punished promptly but good behavior and practices are and will be celebrated more than ever. Interruptions will not find any favours.
There’s a lot riding on delivering positive customer experience. Be there for them – no matter how they reach out to you – be consistent, and build your brand through satisfied customers and not just think of connecting with them in terms of frequency capping and retargeting.
Laura Quigley is the managing director of Southeast Asia at Integral Ad Science