The idea of “the customer is always right” has made a comeback. Instead of accepting miserable customer service or inferior product quality as the norm, consumers have been given back their voice through channels like social media, establishing a two way communication with brands and influencing other consumers to take action, which has ultimately restored the consumer voice.
As this voice gets louder, a trend has been getting increasingly stronger. Consumers are becoming more socially empowered, educated and wanting more broad value from brands, rather than just a good product at competitive prices. This new trend is summarized brilliantly by Morgan Clendaniel in his Co.Exist article, “The Brands That Survive Will Be The Brands That Make Life Better:”
“[Consumers are] trying to get beyond ‘did this company make a slightly better product’ to the more resonant, meaningful question: Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting, and positive way?”
The article goes on to reference a Meaningful Brands survey conducted by Havas Media which spoke to 50,000 consumers in France, Spain, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan, India, and the U.S.—finding that only 20% of the brands that the surveyed consumers interact with have a positive impact on their lives. And these same consumers feel that 70% of brands could disappear entirely without them noticing.
Similar trend examples can be found in books like Spend Shift by John Gerzema, exploring the societal movements where consumers are embracing both value and values, and how consumer expectations and behaviors will continue to drive business decisions.
Good brands have already acknowledged this trend, and are listening to these conversations and applying that type of consumer demand into the products they create. Brands that are not able to respond to this type of trend by delivering this type of value will diminish and will be forgotten.
Your testing takeaway from all this…
Identifying what unique value a brand offers that their customers respond best to is key. This does not mean incentive, price, and guarantee testing. This means that you have to answer for your consumers, “How is this brand or product affecting me and the world around me from a psychological, social and environmental standpoint?” For the brand, answer, “How can I communicate this value best to my customer? What message (or messages) should I use to promote my brand’s product now, and for the long haul?”
This inevitably will be the differentiator of successful future brand & product. Implementing simple tactics NOW so that brands can start identifying their key messages will lead to successful campaigns in the future.
This does not need to come from pouring dollars and time into focus groups, or huge marketing brand launches with a “wait and see” approach. This can be done through simplified digital testing, for example: simple subject line testing, email content testing, search ad copy testing, landing page headline and content tests. Identify what is resonating best with your target customer. Then, build campaigns from there based on this messaging that supports this value. These small steps can lead to a larger invested brand voice promoting value that your customers will support now and in the future.
Of course, your brand must offer those compelling qualities first.