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Digital is changing consumer behaviours and expectations.
The key question is how do businesses leverage marketing effectively for creating growth and loyal customers?
Brands that dominate in their markets share a few things in common - they are innovative, they have a unique brand presence, they are relevant and authentic.
In this digital disruption era, consumers are looking for genuine experiences and interactions. Consumers don’t want to simply buy products and services, they want to relate to their favourite brands.
What does it mean to be Authentic?
Simply put, authenticity is about integrity, accountability and standing by your values.
How to create Authenticity
Align your Vision
Your brand vision and goals must be clearly communicated internally and aligned with what you deliver externally. Your brand promise should be reflected across every customer touch point.
Create Customer Value
If you want to dominate in your market, you not only have to deliver on your brand promise but you have to go beyond customer expectations and create excellent customer experiences.
According to Winston Churchill, "the price of greatness is responsibility."
To be a leading brand you need to be accountable when things don’t go as planned. Have strategies in place to resolve customer service complaints or product issues.
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.
Amazon, the retail giant, has more than 310 million global users. Most people claim to shop on Amazon because it is easy to find products and speed from click to delivery. Amazon also provides after sales customer support online and resolutions for customer issues.
Your brand persona and communications should be consistent across all customer channels. Your brand “look” should be easily identifiable. You can be slightly flexible and tweak your messages according to the type of platform you are engaging in.
What you want to avoid is creating the wrong type of brand attention and end up sparking a social backlash. This happens when your brand is not in alignment with your vision and customer expectations.
Pepsi and 'Lady Doritos'
In the Freakonomics podcast, Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi explained PepsiCo was considering releasing "Lady Doritos" and brainstorming women-specific snacks. She explained in the interview, "as you watch a lot of the young guys eat chips... they lick their fingers with great glee...Women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public..."
This conversation ended up sparking ridicule and jokes across social media. PepsiCo issued a statement to confirm they were not creating gender specific Doritos - "We already have Doritos for women – they're called Doritos."
Make an impact with Strategic Collaborations
Be open to collaborating with Business Partners, Social Media Influencers, Consultants, Digital Experts and Agencies to gain momentum where it matters most.
Evaluate what specific goals you want to achieve and work with the right talent or partnerships to help you achieve your objective.
Influencer marketing will continue to be effective in 2019.
Influencers have trust and attention from their audiences. They strive to maintain a credible relationship with their follower base. A good practise from both sides is to be upfront about paid sponsorships.
You don’t have to engage Hollywood stars, musicians or top athletes to create an effective Influencer marketing campaign. Niche Influencers who have the attention of your target market can be very effective in getting your message out there.
Collaboration for Social Causes
Investing in social causes is an effective way for businesses and brands to make a genuine impact within their communities and globally.
According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers globally will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue.
Adidas, one of the leading sports brands, launched a campaign to raise awareness and promote the prevention of plastics from entering into oceans.
Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create “Parley A.I.R. Strategy - Avoid plastic wherever possible, Intercept plastic waste, and Redesign your life."
Adidas plans to have its UltraBoost running shoes made out of Parley Ocean Plastic.
Consumers expect brands to be relevant and engaging. This is especially true on social channels that are already saturated with information. Top brands create engagement by creating valuable experiences.
NYX Cosmetics is a leading beauty brand that has an impressive online following, including more than 13 million Instagram followers. The NYX Cosmetics brand is visually appealing with a vast library of real images that gives its audience a “feel” for what their products look like on different users.
Post Relevant Content
Your content should be personalised according to the channel where you are engaging your audience. For example, your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, should have tailored content strategies.
Your blog posts, articles, website content and video content, should be interesting with the latest information related to your brand and also market trends.
“The power in authenticity, whether in your brand or person, is that it leaves no questions unanswered. People know where you stand, what you’re made of and what is important to you." — Jason Falls
To build long-term brand value, create customer experiences that are valuable. Brands that make life more enjoyable and easier seem more genuine.
Consumers are already busy and lead hectic lives. Make it is easy for them to research your product, get answers to questions, leave comments, share information with friends and engage with your brand.
Building trust means you have to be open and responsive. If a customer shares a negative experience, take steps to address the issue immediately.
Consumers are getting busier and more digitally engaged. This is increasing the desire for experiences and interactions with brands that are authentic. The right marketing strategies are key for creating brand value and customer loyalty.
Get in touch with me to learn more on how you can make an impact in 2019.