Challenges for brands in times of change
In a world where consumers are increasingly busy with multiple simultaneous tasks and must manage every second of their days, brands no longer work only to sell, but also to earn a lasting, loyal relationship with their public. The “time” factor is key not only to brands, but now for consumers as well, especially in our world of attention economics. To earn this loyalty, it is essential to clearly understand that today’s consumers participate, interact, suggest and, above all, demand more.
“Brands no longer work only to sell, but also to earn a lasting, loyal relationship with their public”
If we think about the three keys to marketing in relation to the challenges brands face today, I would say the first is a reaffirmation of the simplest rule: everything we do must place the consumer at the center. The second lies in understanding that what worked in the past will not necessarily continue to work in the future. Third is technology, which has allowed us to do much more than we could before, in less time and with a lower investment. Things have changed, but change is not necessarily bad; on the contrary, it is good and quite positive for those of us who are aware of the need to rapidly adapt to today’s demands.
For any brand, insisting on using the old processes means being left behind by the competition. Although we may be able to reach the same conclusions and identify the same opportunities, if we fail to modernize how we relate to consumers, it is more likely our messages will arrive late and will no longer be relevant to our audience. Now, with consumers at the center of everything we do, the most important thing will be to listen to them and be truly attentive to what they (both consumers and their communities) say. To achieve this, we must relate to them in the most natural way possible, as we would those closest to us. This implies developing more qualitative research to give us powerful insights we can transform into differentiating qualities. Deep consumer knowledge is the basis of any marketing activity’s success—even more so for the mass consumer market, where decisions are made faster and are usually based on what seems cheapest.
Creativity is also indispensable to maintaining and strengthening the bond with our customers. Today, ideas must be sufficiently fluid to thrive across all channels, including digital ones. Being attentive to needs and responding correctly, innovating with real ingenuity, both in products and services, will give us the ability to stay top-of-mind with our consumers. It is fundamental to understand that what works for one channel or outlet does not necessarily work for another.
Today, a brand must be more creative than ever, adopting a “personality” that allows you to talk to consumers, grow close to them, follow them and convert them—not in a day, but over time. Certainly, it is important for brands to identify the opportunities, insights and transversal motivators that will allow them to continue differentiating themselves in an increasingly competitive environment. Innovation is fundamental and has been a growth engine for the mass consumption business in Alicorp, for example. We must find new alternatives that offer added value over what consumers find in the market today.
“A brand must be more creative than ever, adopting a “personality” that allows you to talk to consumers, grow close to them, follow them and convert them—not in a day, but over time”
Achieving customer loyalty implies a real effort to accurately understand not only what they are looking for, but also how, where, why and when they are looking for it. At this point, paying close attention and gaining understanding is more challenging than ever, because everything has been supercharged with technology and networks. The ways we contacted consumers five years ago are radically different from what we use today, because the incentives surrounding consumers have changed: they have intensified, and their priorities are also different.
The great challenge of these times will be to turn media into a generator for transactions. We must leverage our available technology and different platforms’ power to reach our consumers and get them to notice our products. If we know when and how to contact them and we manage to turn this process into a virtuous cycle, we will have won their preference and loyalty.