Share of market, share of wallet, share of mind, etc. As brand marketers we monitor these numbers closely. However, do they really matter? Keeping your brand alive is not about a percentage in your monthly performance dashboard – or any other number for that matter. As Byron Sharp said: ‘what you should care about as a marketer is the mental and physical availability of your brand’. Or, translated into shares, it is all about ‘share of life’.
Here are five ways to become a ‘share of life’ brand for your consumer:
1. Your consumers are changing and they won't stop
As a marketer, you are not in control any more; consumers are. And they are evolving at the fastest pace ever seen. Consumer expectations are influenced by disruptive companies, such as Amazon, which has opened a fully self-operating retail shop, or Tesla, which has disrupted the entire car industry.
Time to get hold of the so-called uber shoppers and to start offering them relevant products. It’s all about customer insights and continuously reinventing your brand accordingly. Think about Diapers.com focusing on making parents’ lives easier by offering the fastest and most uncomplicated way to buy baby products, offering a great customer service and building a relationship with them in ways no other brand has done before. So, take a step back, listen to your consumers and find out how they are evolving and what they really need.
2. Home is where my touchpoint is
Every brand is trying to work its way into the consumer’s home. Be aware or be square: the times of mapping just one customer journey are long gone. What is the point of tasting an instant soup that was dropped into your letterbox if you cannot buy it immediately after? Would you rather wait in traffic, search for a parking spot and stand in line with your pack of instant soup or order it via your WiFi-connected personal assistant (which lists the cheapest price in a few seconds) by just saying the words? The path to purchase is continuously becoming more complex. Finding a place in the consumer’s home is all about creating new touchpoints to shorten the path to purchase.
Marketer, get back in the driver’s seat and unleash your creativity! Get to know what drives consumers to your brand and what ways there are to fill their basket with your product. Be bold and dare to adapt your strategy accordingly.
3. Data Mania
We are desperately looking for data and ways to obtain more of it. But why? We want to become a part of our consumer’s life. Data is our way of creating that unbeatable customer loyalty that we marketers are desperately looking for. Why do we choose to buy our bread at that same bakery every Sunday or prefer to go back to the salesman who sold us that really nice watch last time? Because they know what we are looking for and they offer that extra personal touch. Data empowers us to recreate a similar approach through all touchpoints (while still considering the importance of human contact). It enables us to scale personalised experience the way a traditional grocery shop used to. However, stop focusing too much on collecting data. It’s all about connecting the right data to gather relevant insights. Once you have found out what your consumers are actually looking for, they will hand you their data on a silver platter.
4. 'Life curation': key driver of e-commerce success
When aiming to succeed online as a brand, creating a platform and an automated lead-funnel process to get people willing to buy to your webshop is only step 1. There are more steps for making your brand stand out from the crowd and convert leads into buyers and satisfied customers into returning ambassadors.
Step 2 is all about being a ‘life curator’. It is not sufficient merely to offer the best user experience around single core products only. No. The difference is made when you as a brand offer total life solutions that go beyond the typical ‘put in basket’ experience and ‘people who bought this also showed interest in’. Get to know your customers better before they start their product journey. Do this by interactive live chats or chatbots that dig deeper into the true consumer needs and offer all-in-one solutions – just as an experienced store assistant would do in real life. Is it just a new pillow you need or do you want to create a cosy home with fragrances, candles and music? Does an ‘all-in-one microwave meal’ really make you happy, or is it rather a healthy meal package with dummy-proof instructions and an inspirational cookbook with tips for your breakfast tomorrow morning and at the weekend. When your responsibility as a brand shifts from pure ‘product brand’ to ‘life brand’, true connections and enlightened consumers are created, complete with emotional connections that go beyond the appraisal of a fluently filled shopping basket experience.
Step 3 is about customer care: delivery and aftersales service. The importance of human contact as differentiating factor has never been bigger in a world morphing increasingly into a digitised society. Embrace the fact that more upstream processes can be automated nowadays, and convert your team into a service delivery team with, for example, Net Promoter Score as a bonus-driving incentive KPI. The importance of moments of truths more downstream grow enormously, because face-to-face contact will become more and more rare. Train your people into product & service experts, with a concierge mindset: meticulously driven to create value through personalised value creation.
With the era of all things digital, question marks arise around the approach retailers should take to transform their shopping environments into interactive experience centres. According to the Yearly Marketing Survey 2017 conducted by The House of Marketing, 96% of respondents stated that in order to build a strong brand, a consistent customer experience needed to be delivered. When implemented correctly, the following two tactics can truly make the difference and both drive traffic to store and push sales, both within as across categories:
Almost any flat surface can become pixelated and therefore become a new touchpoint to create education and entertainment for your shopper. Shop windows can show real-time promotions with differentiated targeting depending on who is passing by. In-store screens can navigate people to the right product and even glass windows in refrigerators can be transformed into live broadcasting screens. The question as such is not what, but where & when? Ask yourself the question of how your shopper should navigate ideally through your shop and act accordingly. Stop wasting time and money on printed Point-of-Sales material and start taking steps towards a flexible, digital and interactive environment that can switch consumers’ attention from their own digital devices to yours.
Life is a game in which you are the player. With Facebook investing heavily in augmented reality and digital avatar worlds, the border between the physical and digital reality will shift into what already goes by the name phygital.
Entertainment will be omnipresent and the need for engagement will grow accordingly. As a brand, be aware of this shift and find out how you can translate your brand essence into a phygital action plan. Define the emotions you want to create and find the appropriate touchpoints to do so. Strengthen the connections and go the next level. Because unlike games, there are often no reset buttons when it is ‘game over’.
Inspired by the speakers on Gondola Day 2017