If you’re like me, then once the bell tolled 2017 in, the recent indulging quickly converted into motivating goals … time to take action. The new year gives us the opportunity to do a ritual health check and put a plan in motion and like most successful strategies, start with the end in mind.
What do customers want? How do we find out? As an insight advocate, some of the answers can be found in data and research, but those only tell half the story as snapshots in time. Connecting the insight to the ever-changing, multi-touchpoint, Omni-channel, 24/7 external customer landscape is where the real magic happens. And over the last 60 years there has been a real power shift from the Don Draper era of aspirational brand advertising, to engaging retail theatre, channel proliferation and shopper promiscuity, through to the ultimate Customer Experience. We live in an age where we have gone from being an analogue society to a digital one in the space of only 20 years, and we’ve only just begun…
The business world has many theoretical models that help us capture the customer journey in order to capitalise on them. The reality is that we are all someone’s customer and when in that mindset, no matter what the category or sector, the journey is a lot simpler and can be summed up in 4 stages. Here’s a self-assessment to unlock success:
1. Are you fit for Branding? Social media has changed the game in how brands communicate with the consumer and vice versa, so the start point has to change. It’s no longer about brand planning, but about seeing your brand through customer eyes – where you will gain valuable insight that could open up valuable opportunities. Stop bombarding your potential customer with brand awareness and promotions, and start hearing customer needs to invest in brand content that will help them.
Be the brand that listens.
Nike’s Instagram has 66.9m followers, why? The answer is simple, because we want to be inspired to ‘Just Do It’. Whether it’s improving your game on the court, getting into the right headspace to perfect your technique, or just need a push to hit the pavement for the next 5K, Nike is there every step of the way.
2. Are you fit for Browsing? Once you have built the rapport with your potential customer, he or she will naturally want more content and be curious enough to go a bit further on the journey with you. So where are customers perusing these days? Research tells us that 2017 will see 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be coming from video, with 1 billion active users on YouTube alone. Your potential customer wants to hear your story, and what better way to emotionally connect with them then through your words, pictures and sounds.
Tell a story.
Apple is said to be the UK’s no. 1 brand storyteller, inspiring and interactive.
And if you are the owner of an Apple watch, there was nowhere to hide on January 1st when you were alerted to the New Year Challenge. Sometimes resolutions are kept.
3. Are you fit for Buying? Securing the sale is the ultimate goal in the customer journey, but the path is no longer linear. Today’s consumer has global information access 24/7, even at the point of purchase so the sale is still up for grabs. Mobiles are the new shopping accessory with 82% of smartphone users turning to their device for advice. And 1 in 4 shoppers have changed their mind while still in the queue after consulting the web. This is not a threat, but an opportunity. Be transparent and assist the customer on their journey by means of live information, tips, reviews to tip the sale in your favour.
Turn the Smartphone into a sales tool.
Sephora, the beauty retailer, is using mobile phones as a ‘magnet’ to drive in-store traffic and deliver a better customer experience. The company has designed its App to provide shoppers with product information and advice, stock levels at your local store, purchase history, and reviews.
4. Are you fit for Blogging? Whatever your motive for sharing information, expect a reaction. And like it or not, good and bad ‘word-of-mouth’ spreads in real-time, so better to be part of the conversation than just hear about it. You can then use your digital touchpoints to engage your customer. After all, 75% of people who contact a company via social media expect a response within an hour.
Act in real-time.
Canadian yoga brand Lululemon has a large fan base across its digital platforms, and their marketing team use it effectively for "relationship-building, just like we do in our brick-and-mortar stores. It's also about creating a hub for health that's more than just our products."
So it’s time to stop selling the brand and start creating the possibilities…
We collaborate with strategic leadership teams to design customer-centric story selling that: Get brands listed, Convert Browsers into Buyers, and Unlock Commercial Growth.
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