The idea of taking aspects of a lifestyle off the table for a consumer is the future of branding.
A few weeks ago, I had a great conversation with a friend about a recent car dealership experience he had. He has been shopping for a new American muscle car and has his eyes set on a charged-up Shelby Mustang. He’s not going to buy one though.
The reason? A negative Ford dealership experience.
It’s easy to forget how important each and every customer engagement is. Granted, that puts a lot of pressure on marketing and customer service / experience teams, but that’s the name of the game. Customers now have the opportunity to come to your business in one of a dozen different ways. The best brands understand this and show up, everywhere, each and every time.
I’ve been trialing some marketing software so that my team at DAGGERFINN can streamline a few tasks and stay organized across our client brand deliverables. I love the software but was jutting up against the end of the trial and hadn’t worked out a few aspects of the software. I pinged their LiveChat representative asking for an extension of my trial and Johnny didn’t even hesitate – ‘Here’s an extra 30 days, Kane.’ No friction.
Guess who has my endorsement for our firm’s next marketing automation software?
As face masks slowly turn into items of daily use across the globe, brands will use the opportunity to capitalize through design. Who doesn’t love a global design contest off the back of a once-in-a-generation health crisis?
Custom-printed company-branded masks as onboarding swag, anyone? At least until 2023.
An Emerging Opportunity
One thing that I need to get better at is calling my parents. They live in the UK, so I like to tell myself that between the time difference and our respective dog-walking schedules, I don’t have the time to call as often as I should.
It was my dad’s birthday last week, so I gave him a call to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday’ and to figure out what I bought when I clicked on the checkout upsell of 200 GSM cloth lining upgrade for his new pond liner. Like usual though, our call starts off familial and warm but quickly turn into a sales contest where he tries to convince me our firm needs his firm's Salesforce tool while I try to argue that his firm's need to unlock their full potential through strategic branding.
Really, companies of any size – and companies that start thinking about this stuff as they onboard their first dozen employees have a distinct advantage – set themselves up for long-term success when they think about a brand strategy, and more specifically, an employer brand strategy, early.
In an increasingly competitive world that is more and more dominated by the bridges of due diligence that inform our decision-making, i.e. Amazon, Google, and Facebook, product specifications and features become blurry and dissimilar. Brand then becomes a strong differentiator.
But brand is hard to measure and hard to figure out from an ROIC standpoint. So, break it down even further and get focused. Shift your resources to augmenting your employer brand. Build a great workplace, lower your turnover costs, bring down your cost per hire, and get the infrastructure and programs in place to turn the talent tap on.
Taking Things Off The Table
April marked the debut of several brand community concepts, including Staycation by Maude, Elliot’s Virtual Mall, and Take Care Market, to name a few. These are interesting from a strategic perspective, and something I think more brands need to think about and begin to execute over the next few years.
The idea of taking aspects of a lifestyle off the table for a consumer is the future of branding, in my opinion. As more and more brands flood the marketplace and true differentiators become harder and harder to discern, consumers will begin to place their trust in communities of products and brands, curated to match a customer’s lifestyle, and designed to enhance the customer experience while taking decision-making off the table.
Remember, customers don’t want more options, they want to be more certain in the choices that they are making.
Imagine purchasing a subscription to a community that took care of all of your healthy lifestyle needs – with this community incorporate brands such as Nike, Blue Apron, Peloton, Fitbit, and a few other high-end brands. Would you pay a couple hundred dollars a month to subscribe to access to a set number of items from those brands, curated to match your lifestyle? I know I would.
Take the decision-making process out of my hands. Show me which sports shoes I need, what I should be eating, how many calories I need to be burning, how often I need to be drinking water.
Brand communities have the potential to take over so many aspects of a consumer’s life. Fashion, entertainment, and home décor come to mind right away as frustrating – for me, at least – but necessary aspects of the human experience. Can great brands build great communities to help out? Absolutely.
In fact, it’s a brand’s responsibility to be there for the consumer, everywhere the consumer wants to be met. There is a massive unlock there.
Until next week,