We have long believed that brands that align their company promise with their customer experience are the most successful in the marketplace. Brand relationships are driven by functional as well as emotional elements, and customers’ experiences with brands need to deliver on both. While these principles are tried and true, the importance of prioritizing them at this time is particularly acute.
Over the past year, consumers have been faced with inordinate levels of uncertainty mixed with multiple challenges to their core beliefs and value systems. The pandemic, social justice challenges, and recent events in Washington, DC are all examples of profound challenges to the foundational beliefs held by American consumers. Though it is too early to fully understand the impact of these paradigm shifts, it is never too early for brands to understand today’s consumers and prepare for the future.
Our research has shown that despite the universal exposure of these challenges, the response and attitudes of American consumers resulting from COVID-19 are quite diverse. Our COVID-19 segmentation analyzed American consumers and found 8 distinct segments within them.
Despite the varied ways consumers are responding to the pandemic, a common truth across all segments is that consumers do, and will continue to, seek authentic brandsthat are the best at communicating and delivering on specific promises. As part of our Brand Atlas™ approach, we identify specific motivators of customer engagement and analyze those attributes in relation to a brand’s customers and competitors. The result is a detailed examination of those motivators or attributes which either add to, or detract from, a brand’s authenticity. Brands can follow this blueprint to achieve authenticity and leverage advantages to the competition.
UNCERTAINTY WILL REMAIN, AUTHENTIC BRANDS PREVAIL
Our research shows 74% of consumers feel “We will face more and more crises in the future” — indicating feelings of uncertainty may persist well into the foreseeable future. In times of uncertainty, the genuine article offered by authentic brands is most desirable. Now is the time for companies to understand how their brand promise and customer experience align. They will need to prepare for the changes to their brands, communications, and experiences required to deliver on greater authenticity.
Interested in learning more? Contact Chuck to discuss customer segmentation, brand engagement, and customer experience to ensure your brand is an authentic one.
Chuck White has worked in market information for over 20 years and is a thought leader on the alignment of brand and customer experience. Chuck is a VP of Client Services at Burke and works with clients across various industries to improve customer engagement, brand strength and drive strategic innovation.