Today our customers have easy access to unlimited sources of information. As a result, their needs change quickly based on their current information, and marketers no longer meet their needs; we create a demand for a condition they never knew they had.
The consumer is a 4. o version of their predecessor, and we must adapt to their programming so that we don’t become irrelevant.
So how has the consumer evolved
In the early days of marketing, the consumer had no awareness of a brand as much as what product could provide a solution.
The best product was the one that provided the best solution. So if a company sold tractors, the consumer would study the technical specifications of the products to identify the best solution.
Most of the information about a product came from the company that sold the product.
The market was not very diverse, so the company marked the product around the solution.
Consumer 1.0 wanted a product, and that was the only relationship they had with the company
The 2.0 Consumer evolved from a period of increased competition. As more companies entered the marketplace and consumers started to have options.
The customers developed favouritism based on brands rather than just the purpose and function of a product. They became fussier about things like colour, finish and the status of buying one brand over the other.
The company created the idea of brand positioning to show how its product was better than the competition. The public needed to be persuaded toward a preference, and brands made features and options to swing those preferences.
Markets became segregated by social, economic and geographic influences.
Consumer 3.0 had higher demands. Segmentation by demand brought a sense of obligation to companies to make consumers feel a part of the brand.
Brands developed personalities that helped the faithful feel more connected and involved. Customers wanted a sense of belonging and involvement in a brand’s development and culture.
CEOs became rock star celebrities, showrooms resembled lounge rooms, and products felt more like religious services. It’s the error of pre-release, sneak previews and crowdfunding.
Consumer 3.0 does not just want a solution; they seek a brand that understands them and has empathy for their feelings about their relationship with a brand.
So as Consumer 3.0 evolves into 4.0 we have a critical element that changes everything: technology.
They are a segregated market with high social demands that have been turbocharged by digital transformation. They want a sense of belonging to a personable brand that understands them through a more digitalized relationship.
Brands need to seek exposure and demonstrate their products or services in the space where their customers live, and that’s online.
Social media is a massive part of their lifestyle. It’s where they catch up with friends, learn new things and experience new experiences. They want to communicate and do business where they are most comfortable. Innovative companies expose their brands, educate their markets, build trust and make sales on the most convenient platform for today’s consumer’s lifestyles.
It’s where they get their information.
They interact with friends and family, find out whos playing at what pubs, and who has their birthday this weekend. All the information they need is right there on social media; they will also want to make consumer decisions online. For example, they form opinions on their sister’s new boyfriend online; why wouldn’t they research their next car on the same platform?
They have online experiences.
It’s not enough for companies to pitch their products; you must give them experience. Can they relate to your brand, the hero in your story? Did you make them feel smarter, happier or cooler than before that experience?
- relate to your story?
- align with your values?
- feel part of your tribe?
- did they feel trust?
Change it up…
You have an opportunity to change the game, especially if your competition is still trying to slam your customer into a sale through impulse buying and heavy discounting; today’s consumer wants more.
Get a little closer.
What connections can you make with your followers? How can they feel connected to your brand; are they supporting locals, backing an important cause, or identifying with you on an emotional level? Let them get to know your team.
Tell your story, a glimpse into your day at the office. Ask for suggestions, and offer prizes to the best. Find ways to become part of their story, and let them tell a story about you.
Make them a team members, value their opinions and speak to them often. Reward them for their input. Become a part of their online community.
Collaborate with “their” brand.
Today people are more aware of their own personal brand, their style, reputation, and appearance. It’s important to them, and it’s crucial to how their followers see them.
Innovative brands will see themselves collaborating with their customer’s brands. Become a brand they want to endorse as part of their lifestyle. Then give them the online tools to be part of your brand; you should see every customer as a potential influencer for your brand.
Provide “Next Level” Customer Service.
Consumers don’t want to be associated with brands that will embarrass them. And social media can create some devastatingly embarrassing moments. Make customers proud of your brand with outstanding customer service. Humanize your online prosses, even if it’s automated.
Provide a wide variety of contact channels and solutions. They are investing more than just cash; they are investing emotional connection and reputation into your brand. Make them feel important and heard.
They will reward you for your effort, integrity and connection.
Brands who are getting it right.
Get some inspiration from companies becoming the brands consumers want to be associated with.
…is a jewellery brand that empowers its customers to share their styles on social media and features them on the website. It is genius how they grew their influencer marketing by providing a platform for customers to show off their brand; created Gothic’s jewellery. Their customers create their SEO content. This is nothing but a win for Gothic and its customers.
…is a brand that explores every opportunity to let its followers feel part of the brand. From the way it sets its Instagram up so every customer can become a star to the Volunteer Community that empowers its community to feel so great about the brand.
…created a space for people to share and feel a sense of belonging, “LEGO Ideas” is a hub where fans co-create, innovate, and collaborate. Members share product ideas and vote on submissions from others. With input from their biggest fans LEGO has been able to launch new fan-created products every quarter
Here are some things you should consider.
- Start a Facebook group to cultivate a community for your customer base and followers.
- Use social media to encourage your customers to share their experiences and concerns. Be enthusiastic about their praise and authentic about their problem.
- Consider a members section on your website where customers and fans can collaborate, learn and connect around your brand.
- Identify your most passionate customers and create content around your combined stories, experiences and successes.
Something else you should definitely consider.
If you want to ensure that your business is ready for the next evolution of consumer, make sure you hit the button below to arrange your free 45-minute consultation.
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