Commentary

How To Drive Brand Value With Consumer Of The Future

Keeping up with today’s consumers can be all-consuming. They’re in control and expect their needs to be anticipated, their issues resolved, and their shopping experiences personalized — all at hyper-speed. But as millennials become the dominant consumer group, followed closely by a growing cohort of Gen Z peers, what’s the impact on consumer goods companies looking to drive up brand value?

Research from Accenture, Barkley, and Jefferies shows that the new generation of consumers are becoming “prosumers.” That means they don’t simply “consume” a brand’s product or service, but instead take all the information from every interaction — the communications they see and read, as well as their engagements with employees — and process it to evaluate their broad perception of the brand.

This makes having an authentic brand purpose more important than ever. By understanding what a brand stands for and embracing its heritage, its social values and its personality, prosumers are more likely to form an emotional bond.

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This brand “love” is the secret to driving up brand value. Indeed, it’s precisely how so many smaller companies have been able to capture big slices of consumer goods markets.

What makes consumers love a brand will vary with each individual. In fact, the sheer variety of consumer priorities and needs a brand now has to satisfy means it no longer makes sense to think of a “typical” consumer at all.

Consumer goods companies that want to build brand value in this complex landscape can do so by:

Treating personal data with security and sensitivity. The research highlights how concerned today’s consumers are that brands keep their personal information safe and secure. In fact, this is more than seven times as impactful as the other consumer levers a brand can pull, once baseline factors like value for money, reliability, and quality are accounted for.

Thinking beyond monetary benefits to reward loyalty. Whether it’s providing expert “how to” guides, personalized recommendations and subscriptions, or rewards for introducing friends or sparking new ideas, rewarding customer loyalty is over six times as impactful as the average brand lever.

For instance, one beauty brand invite customers to become “mavens” who play an integral role in developing products, from submitting ideas and crowdfunding innovations to trialing new products and offering feedback. It’s a clever way to create an authentic and “lovable” brand experience.

Identifying and using what makes you special. Every brand and category will have a unique set of characteristics that can be used to good effect. For example, the data shows personal care and beauty brands will most benefit from positive peer reviews and tailored customer service. Fast-food restaurants will need to accelerate their omnichannel personalized customer engagement. And companies marketing household staples like cleaning products and packaged food should be focusing on product design levers like style, design and format to help tell brand stories that resonate with consumers.

With so many levers to pull and so many different market and consumer demands to satisfy, the challenge for brands is to make sure they can meet consumers on their terms on the channels they want to use. Getting that right will be the key to building a modern and thriving consumer goods brand for the prosumers of the future.

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