Articles

Smart Brands Make Smart Consumers

In Strategy, Tools on March 27, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , ,

Consumers are no longer oblivious to the truth. They are now more active in seeking benefits beyond the ads. They are willing to pay a few more dollars just to get a genuine advantage inherent to the product. They are willing to buy and talk about the brands that have hidden advantages that they were smart enough to discover. An ordinary mother from the suburbs who blogs about her everyday discoveries is just as credible as the endorser paid to talk about your brand. So instead of counteracting these new consumer tendencies, brands must enable them to be even smarter.

I’ve already talked about consumer education before and how they extend communication beyond the tag lines/copies on ads. Brands should revolutionize not just their communication but their interaction with the consumers. Work with them and recruit them as ambassadors. The recruitment must be based on genuine belief in the brand and not some bogus endeavor. These types of efforts never last anyway and end up hurting the brand in the long run.

An example is how Nestlé launched a campaign on checking labels or the nutritional information normally skipped through by moms. How could they not? The back part of the packaging is usually a place of compliance and technicalities. It is full of texts and numbers of very small fonts. That part does not speak to the consumer. Yet, the Check the Label campaign extended consumer interface by facilitating the buyers’ understanding of nutritional content and value for money. The habit of checking the label might have been practiced across different products but pioneering the movement is attributable to the brand (or company).

It is not enough to be transparent with the consumers for it is a commercial and ethical (or legal) imperative nowadays. However, the truth can really be a disadvantage for a brand. For example, McDonald’s cannot deny that they have the healthiest foods but they managed to be transparent and enable consumers to make informed decisions at the same time. By launching a nutrition calculator, the power is given to the consumer to decide how much indulgence they are willing to take. It is not just about telling the truth, it is teaching consumers how to deal with it as well.

Below is a complete chart of everything on the fast food giant’s menu.

To sum up, crucial steps can be taken in making consumers smart with your brand.

1. Be transparent: Tell consumers significant truths about your product. It can be a hidden advantage, a new habit they can start, or a truth that can set rumors straight.

2. Manage how to deal with the truth: Brands must be the first to reveal and first to deal with information. But if consumers have gone astray in dealing with it e.g. switching to another brand, getting out of the category, or speaking ill about the product, then the truth must be set straight, public relations controls dissemination, and campaigns can be formed.

3. Getting smart together: Gather your brand believers and give them a venue to interact together and with your brand. Give a face to credibility by having a real person talk to the ambassadors regularly. Discover new habits and spot the ones that can be turned into campaigns. The key is to discover what works for the brand and initiate a movement.

Of course there are still brands and products we wish to be more transparent to us like insurance companies but then, that’s another discussion.

 

C) Copyright protected| BRANDS AND PITCHES 2012

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