Did you know that more than 50 percent of shoppers will take their business elsewhere if they don’t have a good experience? People want individualized, personalized experiences from the brands they choose – experiences that technology has led them to expect from all their interactions. This ever-shifting landscape makes it hard for brands to know the right move to make. A fickle consumer means that a deep understanding of your brand, your category and your potential customers is essential to success.
The good news is that the market research space has grown more sophisticated, marrying a deft balance of technology with the curious mind of the market researcher. This new dynamic allows us to find accurate insights more quickly than ever before. One thing that the latest studies have unveiled is just how truly individual each shopper really is – consumer pathways to purchasing the exact same product can be as varied as fingerprints. We used to think of a singular shopper journey, but now we know there are multiple journeys. This knowledge can help inform how we proceed.
One way to come out on top in this new marketplace is by filtering out all the extraneous noise and really getting to “know yourself.” This is about finding ways to resonate with how consumers already view you. Brands won’t be successful if they simply try to fabricate a “personality.” The key is to have a realistic understanding of exactly how you fit in to the lives of your customers and potential customers, and to approach them with empathy and responsiveness.
What does this mean? One example that illustrates this understanding is the rebranding of Domino’s Pizza in response to customer complaints. The chain went so far as to incorporate the poor reputation of its product into ads, and promise that the company knew it needed to make something better. Domino’s executed on this advertised promise by rolling out new innovations and showing a dedication to its new brand identity on all fronts (including better tasting pizza). According to the Harvard Business Review, this worked. “Today, Domino’s is the second-largest pizza chain in the world, with more than 12,500 locations in more than 80 countries, and a share price approaching $160. It has moved from being the butt of late-night jokes to becoming a favorite of the stock pickers on CNBC.”
But where does a shift like this one begin? It can start with a few simple steps:
- Know Yourself: Understand not only where your brand lies in the marketplace, but also how consumers perceive your brand. As Socrates (we think) said “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” This wisdom will end up paying off with your discerning and changeable consumer.
- Be Yourself: Don’t try to be something you’re not – even if you’re trying to change, you need to base that effort in your current position in the competitive/consumer landscape. Dominos had to completely reinvent themselves due to an extremely poor position with its consumer – and they had to come right out and say it to the world. They couldn’t re-position the brand without changing everything from the ground up – from operational functions to marketing. And they did so transparently.
- Ignore the Noise: There’s a lot going on out there. The constant pace of innovation is tempting, but it pays to be selective and only pursue the avenues that make sense for your brand and help you better connect with your customers. They are looking for those “magnetic moments” when your brand perfectly aligns with their needs and circumstances, so make sure that those moments are apparent to them.
As a brand, when you know yourself, you are able to make better choices about everything. From which products you will develop to how you will connect those products with your customers through marketing, self-understanding provides guidelines to help solve the varied issues that arise in a technology and consumer-driven marketplace.