Beyond e-commerce: The way we search and research online is shaping attitudes towards brands
A beautiful creative idea executed in an above-the-line campaign can tick all the brand and ad recall boxes. But in this new reality, the next step is likely to be online so connect it all up, says Jen Davidson, because brand loyalty can disappear in two clicks.
A household crisis
Last Wednesday evening we had a household crisis – my son broke his tablet. Which is akin to saying his TV, YT and Games all disappeared in one tragic moment. Pre-Covid I would have dashed up to my local Westfield the next day and purchased my premium branded device, comfortable in the knowledge that the ugly warehouse nature of JB-HIFI meant competitive pricing. But I shop differently now, I buy local or I buy online.
So, I jumped onto Google search which promptly led me to Amazon. Within 10 minutes I had reviewed their extensive range, absorbed comments and recommendations from random strangers and purchased a new tablet from a brand I wasn’t familiar with. All done by 9.15pm. At 7.30am the next morning it was at my front door. WOW alright. Mission accomplished within 12 hours. JB-HIFI not open for another 90 minutes.
This shifting dynamic is consistent around the country. Ebay, Australia Post, Woolworths and Coles and a number of consulting firms have all reported broadly on the behavioural shift around digital. It's not just the e-comm nature of digital but the way we search and research online that is shaping attitudes towards brands.
The digital world offers so much choice that brand loyalty or retention is going to be a harder metric to achieve. Brands need a clear customer strategy that unites performance channels, above the media channels and owned channels.
Organising around the customer
When customers can go online and so easily compare products, the holy grail of top-of mind awareness in the offline world becomes somewhat redundant if the strategy hasn’t translated into a digital environment. How brands behave across every touchpoint on the customer path to purchase is key. Even more critical is how performance media (search, social and programmatic) aligns with traditional campaign media. A beautiful creative idea executed in an above the line campaign can tick all the brand and ad recall boxes. But in this new reality the next step is likely to be online; either a google search, a brand's own website or an online retailer. It's then up to your performance team to manage the next step on the path to purchase.
The digital world offers so much choice that brand loyalty or retention is going to be a harder metric to achieve. Brands need a clear customer strategy that unites performance channels, above the media channels and owned channels. In my own example, I went into my tablet purchase with a clear brand in mind. But I didn’t notice my brand on my journey. And in a couple of clicks there went my brand loyalty.
Everything is still disconnected
There are a plethora of technology platforms available to support the management of audiences and campaigns. Many companies are equipped with the ‘McClaren’ of marketing automation and yet campaigns and teams are disconnected. What that McClaren needs is a Daniel Ricardo; the driver of customer growth via data driven insights of new and existing customers. Make these new and evolving customer insights the centrepiece of all briefs. And then let the magic happen; charge your agencies and internal teams with developing an end to end solution.
Give your agencies the chance to do what they do best: create change in customer behaviours. Forget the fragmented approach and develop one media strategy that encompasses all owned, earned and bought touchpoints with performance channels the core of the strategy.
Give the dog a bone
Nothing in my little story is new news. We all know that digital is increasingly important, we’re all buying more online, Amazon is re-defining customer service and brand loyalty is harder to secure. Covid just accelerated all of the above. The biggest opportunity for clients is recognising this behavioural shift and organising a structure and a working rhythm to capitalise on these changes. Give your agencies the chance to do what they do best: create change in customer behaviours. Forget the fragmented approach and develop one media strategy that encompasses all owned, earned and bought touchpoints with performance channels the core of the strategy. And then a creative strategy that shows how the idea behaves across each channel. Customer Centric Magic.
My Covid resolution - stop and think
Sure it was forced and at the time felt more frightening than enlightening but the pause that came with those few hard months was a revelation. It made me just stop, think and define goals for my own business and my family. I’m going to make it make it annual thing. About now every year.
Specsavers head of market and planning, Shaun Briggs, needed a big brand hit to kick-start life after Covid. MAFS was hardly love at first sight. But it quickly grew – literally – as the brand, its agency AJF Partnership, and Nine’s Powered creative unit delivered a bespoke integration within weeks. For Briggs, “it’s been an eye opener”.