In the digital age, how consumers engage with brands has changed considerably. This has meant that many of the brand and advertising strategies that worked well in the past have now become somewhat obsolete and unsustainable.
Let’s face it. Brand loyalty just doesn’t exist anymore. Consumers are far more promiscuous when it comes to brands. Their choices have expanded exponentially, and in the digital age, their ability to research through all stages of the buying process, right up to the moment of purchase is literally sitting right in the palm of their hand.
The days of brands ploughing the majority of their budgets into mass media channels to build brand awareness are over. Now days, mass media is only one small part of the puzzle. Touch points have changed in both number and nature, and this has required a major rethink around where and how consumers are spending their time, and what sort of stimuli they are best reacting to.
So, what do consumers want now?
Consumers still want a clear brand promise and an easily understandable offering of value. What has changed is when they are most open to influence. In order to understand this, brands need to be aware of the process that their customers are going through, what the different touch points are, and how they can best interact with them at different stages of the process.
For example, purchasing a new car is no longer as simple as seeing an ad on TV and then heading to the local dealer. Modern day consumers want real value, and a reassurance that the vehicle that they choose will both suit their needs and best reflect who they are. To identify the best match, they source and absorb information from multiple channels such as product reviews, sponsorships, endorsements, events and associations to name but a few. Importantly, channel selection needs to carefully match different stages of the buying process such as awareness, interest, desire, excitement, etc.
How do brands meet this challenge?
Based on having an understanding of their customers buying process, successful brands are designing and implementing multi-channel strategies that address the different identified touch points, and by successfully employing this method, they are keeping their customers on track and gently guiding them towards a purchase in their direction.