By: Kathy Menis, SVP of Marketing, Signal
Everyone has a favourite brand — those go-to companies that we rely on again and again to find what we want and buy the things we need. We can’t even imagine living without them.
Of course, we do business with many brands, not just our favourite ones. Sometimes we’re attracted by an ad or special offer, a recommendation from a friend, or the buzz about a hot, new company in our constant search of something better and different.
But often, we interact with a brand once or twice and don’t find a really good reason to go back again. Most of the brands in our lives don’t succeed in moving beyond a merely transactional relationship to forge a lasting bond with us — and eventually we forget about them.
Creating true brand infatuation is a huge challenge in today’s fast-moving, digital world. It’s up to marketers to turn consumers not just into customers, but into loyal advocates. Disruptive brands are constantly raising the stakes by changing consumer expectations — and are reaping considerable financial rewards along the way.
As a result, marketers everywhere are under pressure to put the customer experience at the top of their priority lists this year to elevate their game.
So we set out to learn what consumers love most about their favourite brands, and what other brands can learn from it. The new research study from Digital Ascendant and Signal asked 500 U.S. consumers about their most beloved retail and travel/hospitality brands. Here are just a few of the things we found out:
1. Consumers’ favourite retail and travel brands are redefining what loyalty means. Consumers love brands that are laser-focused on recognising them as individuals with unique preferences and needs to help make their lives better. These brands understand that being customer-driven means using all of their customer data and insights to make every interaction about them. For example, 82% of consumers say their favourite retail brands take friction out of their lives by making it easy for them to find products and services that are right for them; 70% of consumers say their favourite travel brands make it easy for them to find offerings that are right for them.
2. Capturing the customer’s affection requires changing the way you interact with her. Consumers are interacting with popular brands across channels and devices, and they expect omnichannel experiences that are seamless rather than disjointed or irrelevant. Two-thirds of consumers say they are loyal to retail and travel brands that provide consistent shopping and booking experiences as they move from smartphone to laptop to physical locations like stores or hotels.
3. Consumers reward the brands they love with a larger share of wallet. Brands that succeed in building genuine relationships with customers enjoy competitive advantages that help drive the bottom line. For instance, 84% of consumers are likely or very likely to try new products from their favourite retail brands, while 84% are likely or very likely to recommend the brands to their friends and family. On the flip side, more than 40% of consumers will stop doing business with brands that deliver substandard customer experiences or make it hard to find what they need.
In short, becoming your customers’ favourite retail or travel brand means meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations. You can compete with the world’s most popular brands by delivering individualised experiences and contextual relevance at scale across devices and channels. First, you need to unify your brand’s cross-channel data and take a strategic approach to customer identity. Identity resolution is the prerequisite capability for engagement across the many touchpoints, from web to store to contact centre, where customers experience your brand.
Remember: every touchpoint and each interaction is an opportunity to share the love with your customers.