The challenge of contacting customers
Mexican writer Carlos Monsivais once said, “Either I no longer understand what is happening, or what I did understand no longer exists.” This expression seems to best capture the essence of the confusing times we live in.
How many new products have you bought lately? How many brands have replaced your preferred brands? How many companies managed to inspire more trust in their products? Certainly, very few have done the latter, despite companies executing their communication plans on a daily basis.
Things change quickly and although this is nothing new, few corporate communication managers have modified the brand’s strategies when communicating.
Currently, there are four generations (the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials) coexisting in the world, new technology is developed at a constant and accelerated rate, social networks grow and consolidate and there are many ways to consume content. This has caused cultural changes and dynamic times that have added complexity to our brands’ effective communication plans, forcing us to rethink our entire strategies.
We must do an in-depth analysis of similar demographic profiles because they most likely have very different motivations
We live in times of ‘infoxication,’ a term coined by Alfons Cornella to describe information overload and the need to always be online. We are exposed to an excessive amount of information every day but do not have enough time to take it all in. We jump from one thing to the other, never really delving into anything. And also in this sea of information, where quantity is mistaken for quality, you will also find brands trying to communicate and reach their audience.
The market makes it more challenging to communicate and understand how and when to contact the customer. We must do an in-depth analysis of similar demographic profiles because they most likely have very different motivations, consumption habits and social norms. Today society is heterogeneous, divided into unique communities and tribes united by values and specific preferences.
This means we must dig deeper.
To overcome the infoxication barrier and better understand customers, we must be credible and human. The brand must be coherent, transparent and consistently transmit its identity and values over time to gain credibility and garner trust. Nowadays, trust goes beyond being an added value to the brand. It is a difficult service to provide, but one that is highly valued by customers.
If we focus on the target audience’s attitudinal traits, fully understanding we can establish a link and interact with them consistently, we will earn a more human scale position, which will allow us to communicate as equals. People want to ‘feel’ that behind the brand is an actual person, and that the brand is willing to connect, inform, entertain and recognize.
Therefore, creating a brand message has a before and after. The relationship between the company and the customer now has equal weight on both sides. The distribution of power has changed: regardless of the size of the corporation, customers can simply choose to not recommend a brand and can easily ‘unlike’ the company’s Facebook page.
The brand must be coherent, transparent and consistently transmit its identity and values over time to gain credibility and garner trust
The brand’s message must exceed the product or service promise and contain the brand’s value, but this value must similarly exceed the institutional or corporate definitions. Consumers are questioning all brands, from fishing or clothing companies, about their social and environmental issues’ positions to see if they can agree with those values. The brand has to be accessible enough for the company to contact the customer through various channels at any time, to avoid being lost in the infoxication phenomenon.
To connect with customers, the real challenge is finding a timeless truth to tell about the brand.
We all have plenty to learn; especially in this constantly stimulated world where no one can take in another message.