Creating positive connections with consumers isn’t an end in and of itself -- the positive connections that brands forge have the potential to turn every consumer into a brand ambassador.
Turning consumers into brand advocates
What sparks that connection most? A global online survey of 350 respondents conducted during the first quarter of 2012 revealed which positive values consumers respond to in brands that will convert them into coveted advocates. Six choices were provided:
1. Makes my life simple
2. Creates opportunities for me to build positive memories
3. Engages me to make the most out of life
4. Engages me to get the best out of myself
5. Allows me to express my creativity
6. Helps me become a societal change-agent
Respondents said that the brands that ‘make consumers' life simple,’ ‘allow them to express their creativity,’ and ‘create opportunities for me to build positive memories’ were the top three drivers that build positive connections.
Consumers are not only asking for only the essential -- they are also lookiing for ways to bring some levity and openness to their lives.
Consumers now say that brands can help them express themselves. They want to create their own identities and communities through interacting with new products in new ways.
Building positive memories resonates across industries and geographies. Developing a new future, sharing and collaborating with others, having an impact and being heard allow consumers to connect positively.
When respondents were asked which brands generated the strongest positive connections, not surprisingly, Apple, Google, Ikea, Nike and Coca-Cola rose to the top.
Apple has intuitively responded to the emotions of consumers in new ways, developed tools to allow consumers to reinvent and express their identities, as well as store and build new positive memories.
Forging positive connections
Enabling positive connections is core to Google’s foundation; its mission to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ Google has managed to develop positive connections with consumers by anticipating their needs and offering tools to connect, express and simplify as a community.
Improving everyday life
IKEA was founded to ‘create a better everyday life for the many people.’ Simplicity is a founding principle at IKEA, apparent in everything they do from the way they work to the way employees relate to one another. The brand helps consumers navigate interior decorating and live smartly through showroom models, lifestyle products, and partnerships with creative thought leaders.
Inspire and innovate
Nike's mission to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world forges positive connections with its consumers and employees. NIKEiD is a great example of how the brand inspires consumers to express their creativity. This service, which can be accessed online or at NIKEiD studios, provides a customized experience for footwear, athletic apparel, and equipment ranging from color, materials, and performance, all the way to licensed team apparel personalization.
Instill moments of happiness
Coca-Cola is creativity and simplicity in a bottle inspiring moments of optimism and happiness, and refreshing the world is at the heart of its value proposition of “Open Happiness.” This consumer focused thinking started in 2009 with the Coca-Cola Freestyle, an innovative fountain dispenser that allows consumers to select from more than 100 beverages and even to customize their own beverage, creating a personal mix.
Connect with consumers
So whether your brand is an established player in its category or a challenger looking to win the top spot, think about ways you can connect with your consumers. Here are three key-takeaways:
1. Bring consumers a sense of levity by cutting out the superfluous, allowing them to be organized and lighter during the day, and re-engage them with a simple and clear positive message.
2. Allow your consumers to explore their identity through their creative expression – bring a sense of discovery, investigation and positive impact to your interaction.
3. Establish ways for consumers to build positive memories by interacting with your brand; whether that be through new channels and services or merely thinking about moments of connection and meaning. Brands that think about positive usage occasions are going to win.
As you continue to push your brands into the future, think about ways to positively connect with your consumers and allow them to positively connect with themselves and the world around them.