Posts Tagged ‘consumer education’

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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Articles

Consumer Education: Forming and Adopting Habits

In Tools on March 21, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , ,

Consumer education is one of the most powerful marketing tools. It is not just telling consumers what and why, it’s the HOW. With the advent of innovations making their way into the commercial world, educating prospective markets is a must to increase affinities of purchase. Moreover, century-old brands want to remain relevant among consumers across diversities by updating their products and moving past basic offers.

In the end, all brands desire to be understood and loved. Consumer education has the power to facilitate the formation of relationships past awareness. Based on my experiences and observations, consumer education is vital for the following:

1. Product Introduction: It can make the commercialization of an industrial product smooth. A great example is how Apple launches its new products and revolutionizes consumer imagination. Steve Jobs would sell not the technology or the gadget but the imagination that has come true. The launch captures the basic functions of the product and visually amplifies the features. But what’s great about Apple is that they let techies and the media get educated and excited first so that virally, these converts would spread not just the news of a new product but also educate the rest of the adopters.

2. Brand Relevance: A cookie is a cookie until you twist, lick, and dunk it. Yes, an oreo cookie has managed to sustain its existence by exciting consumers, old and new. Who knew that a father-son/ big brother-little brother/grandma- grand daughter bond could be formed over a cookie ritual? Yet, the simple campaign has managed to penetrate into every market with the same message. The habit has been so strongly linked with Oreo that in other commercials, there is no need to verbalize the message of TWIST.LICK.DUNK.

3. Product Usage: For products that are intrinsically complex, communicating simple instructions can be beneficial. It is not enough to insert manuals in boxes. Consumers need to see and hear how they should interact with your product. That’s why appliance centers bank on massive displays, instructional videos, and sales representatives. However, the message needs to be simplified in the first place so that it does not evolve into complex instructions when passing through several media. Three-point guides are good. Beyond that, the consumer shuts down.

Product usage may also come from consumer research and can be replicated for the rest to adopt. For example, a dishwashing liquid brand, Joy (P&G), found out that frugal mothers dilute a pack into a liter of water to maximize usage and lessen purchase frequency. Instead of antagonizing this seemingly detrimental habit, the brand amplified it into an ad and improved the formulation for a stronger concentrate. This is a good example of the Heath Brother’s point in the book SWITCH of highlighting what works and spreading it among the rest. Solutions need not be formed from scratch. It can be found among marginalized samples that have unknown efficient practices.

I’ve summarized learning points in crafting an effective consumer education campaign.

1. Simplify the product features and brand messages first.

2. Filter the messages and prioritize the hierarchy of communication.

3. Partner words with actions and/or visuals.

4. Plot your contact points and venues of communication.

5. Educate the ambassadors and opinion leaders.

6. Communicate/Educate efficiently and relevantly.

7. Leave room for interpretation, good interpretation for the consumers.

8. Track consumer conversion.

9. Analyze if consumer education campaign has strengthened brand attributes.

10. Determine if the campaign can be sustained and/or replicated.

Whether it’s for a product update or introduction, consumer education links brands with consumers. In forming habits among consumers, brands may play a key role as long as the message is simple, authentic, and touch on familiar thoughts and emotions.

 

(C) Copyright protected| BRANDS AND PITCHES 2012