It would be an understatement to say that a lot changed for brands in 2020. Rapid change and pivots have been a central theme of survival for brands during 2020 and now, with the commencement of 2021, successful brands will need to decide on whether these changes will need to stay as the new normal, or whether they need to consider a completely new path for the future.
One thing is certain, many of the dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour are here to stay and brands need to be more in tune with their customers than ever before. As we discussed in our Guide to Brand Research, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a major fast forward on some of the consumer behaviour trends that were slowly bubbling away. This includes the major shift to predominantly online shopping, learning and meeting and remote working.
The impact on behaviour has demonstrated the criticality of agility within organisations. Some brands were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and were able to capitalise on these changes; others tried to pivot and failed to meet these new consumer needs. Some brands sought to weather the storm and carry on with business as usual.
Adapting your business and brand to the ever-changing needs of consumers is not an easy task even in the most favourable of circumstances. Brand research can help determine the right path, and also ascertain how your brand is being perceived. Understanding customers’ needs and emotional drivers better will help brands to find the right positioning that connects on a deeper level. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, the behaviours, emotions and needs of your customers or clients have changed and now is the time to ensure you (re)connect with them on a deeper level.
At BrandMatters, we believe there are three guiding principles to finding a deeper connection with your clients/customers:
Whether you are dealing with new clients or existing clients, earning and keeping their trust is vital. There was a remarkable change in the trust landscape since the Edelman Trust Barometer launched in January of last year, trust in government had surged, making government the most trusted institution for the first time in its 20 years of study.
The Spring Update of the Edelman Trust Barometer report conducted to dip into the consumer trust sentiments during the pandemic, shows that 67 percent of respondents believe that those with less education, less money and fewer resources are bearing a disproportionate burden of the suffering, risk of illness and need to sacrifice as a result of the pandemic, and more than half are very worried about long-term, COVID-related job loss.
With the release of the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, it appears that consumers do not know who to trust. Edelman believes this is a moment of reckoning for organisations. Transparency and trust come to the fore. Investors and consumers have indicated that environmental and social responsibility factors must play an important role. Businesses must work with the government to ensure they put people before profits as more people struggle with the uncertainty of their financial futures and employment opportunities.
Earning trust comes down to transparency, a responsibility for brands to act ethically and with a purpose greater than profit. Having a strong brand positioning that is communicated and understood throughout the organisation will mean that the whole team can effectively deliver on this with each and every customer interaction.
Your brand positioning is what will set you apart from your competitors and guide decisions on how best to connect with your ideal customers/clients. A strong brand positioning is a key deliverable of brand strategy and will be the most important tool brands will have in guiding them through these turbulent times when financial pressures can tempt brands to swiftly change course.
We’ve worked with many brands to define their brand positioning. To understand the importance of a well-defined brand positioning, you can read some of our latest articles on the subject or view our case studies.
The customer experience will differentiate your brand from competitors. Delivering over and above the threshold of expectations will drive loyalty, repeat business and referrals. Brands need to understand what it will take to deliver on and exceed their customers’ expectations. It is not just at the time of purchase, but the entire customer journey that needs to be considered.
A brand is a promise kept, so ensuring your brand delivers on the promises you make is critical. Developing and implementing proof points that resonate with your customers is vital. Consistently demonstrating these proof points to your customers is an important part of your marketing strategy.
Delivery of your brand doesn’t end at the sale of your product or service. It is essential to continually measure and monitor your brand performance. At BrandMatters, we believe a customer-centric approach will help propel a brand forward and drive growth. Through our proven methodology, we gather customer, market and competitor insights, and then use this insight to develop winning brand strategies.
Get in touch to discuss how you can truly understand and connect with your customers in 2021 and beyond.