The modern day brand and consumer relationship

Accenture Interactive's Fjord Asia Pacific general manager Bronwyn van der Merwe
By Accenture Interactive's Fjord Asia Pacific general manager Bronwyn van der Merwe | 11 June 2019

Consumer goods brands are fighting for the attention of consumers more than ever before. Key to their success is creating long lasting customer relationships and like with any relationship there is no one size fits all approach. The key lies in understanding your customer and creating an emotional connection with them which in turn equates to generating more loyalty and sales.

Successful brands are those that have built strong lasting connections with their customers and a deep understanding of their customers likes and dislikes. What makes customers tick depends on several different factors including life stage, mindset and context. However, common amongst all modern-day consumers are their allegiance to brands that can be trusted, are accessible to consumers and have a sense of purpose.

Modern Consumers like Brands they can Trust
From reports of tainted food to consumer data theft and other cyber breaches and social media scandals, trust incidents are becoming increasingly visible to consumers. The heightened transparency inherent in our digital world means trust is a highly flammable, ever-present concern.

Ultimately, trust is built on the traditional foundations of quality, consistency, honesty and delivering on your promise but it can be easily broken because of an event or circumstance. Accenture’s research The Bottom Line on Trust shows that if a consumer loses trust in a brand it can have a big impact on the companies’ bottom line. In fact, according to Accenture’s research, the global average percentage drop in revenue and EBITA caused by distrust was - 2.9% and -11.8% respectively. This highlights the need for companies to adopt a top-down culture that fully bakes trust into the company’s strategy, operations and broader DNA. Those who don’t are putting their future revenues at risk.

Modern Consumers Like Brands that are Accessible
Consumers expect personalised engagement across multiple channels with brands they trust. Products and services that are available to the consumer to purchase via multiple channels can create a more active dialogue with their consumer than those that are just available via one channel, such as a brick and mortar store.

For more discretionary categories like personal care and beauty, apparel and fast food restaurants, it is important for companies to invest in multiple channels to tell the brand’s story. On the other hand, household staples, cleaning products and packaged foods companies should focus on product quality, consistency and design to keep the brand top of mind for customers.

For example, Kellogg’s limited edition Caticorn cereal was initially made available for purchase exclusively on Sam’s Club’s Shopping via Instagram. Through social media, the consumer could easily make a purchase and experience the feeling of excitement that comes with a new product launch.

Modern Consumers Like Brands with a Sense of Purpose
Accenture’s 2018 Consumer of the Future Survey found that consumers are placing more value on brands that show that they are sustainable and align with their own values. This trend is being driven by the Millennial and Gen Z generations, who are increasingly affiliating themselves with brands that care about equality and environmental issues.

For brands aligning with their customer’s personal values can be a challenge. But these expectations also present an opportunity for companies to demonstrate competitive agility by building more authentic and connected relationships, involving customers, employees and the larger ecosystem of stakeholders to identify shared values and areas where the company can make a difference.

Such brands include Pepsi, Unilever and Nestle all of whom will begin offering their products through a subscription delivery service called Loop later this year. The unique service firstly delivers the product to the customer’s house and then provides a pick up service to recycle the used product packaging.

The consumer goods and services market in Australia is tough. The most successful modern brands will be those who build an authentic purpose for the not-so-typical consumer. Although there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to connecting with consumers, the virtuous cycle of trust, accessibility and purpose are valued by all consumer goods and services brands.

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