We’ve moved from a one-size-fits-all economy to a mass customization economy, and we can examine the effects in many different aspects of business. The attention of marketing has since shifted from features to benefits, to experience, to tribal identification.
Selling has evolved from “what it has” to “what it does” to “what you’ll feel” to “who you are.” For certain industries, features and benefits are still extremely important— however, personal identity is on its way to surpassing them. A consumer’s personal identity and the brands they choose now go hand and hand.
Identify With Your Tribe
This has a lot to do with the rise of social media and digital marketing. Consumers are able to post, tag, and comment on the brands they like and share it with their own community. Consumers are identifying with brands, which allows more traction and interest to build around the brands who are doing it right— by connecting with and putting the consumer first.
So how can you align your brand with your consumer, put them first, and grow a loyal following?
Consumers are at the Center of it All
Let’s talk about the idea of consumer-centric marketing. Consumer-centric marketing is when businesses align all of their processes with the consumer in mind. It comes with the belief that "your success begins with knowing your consumer". It’s being able to answer the question —"what makes our customers different and unique?"
Businesses are losing out when they choose to focus solely on their selling, or their products, or their success. The focus needs to shift to the buyer. What is the consumer trying to accomplish? Where and how do they operate? What do they care about?
The digital world has made it easier than ever to connect with your consumers. However, it’s also made it easier than ever for consumers to do their own research, be informed, and make a decision on exactly what they want. They can access all of your competitors with their fingertips. This is why it can be exceptionally useful to adapt a consumer-centric marketing strategy.
Cultivate the Cs
To set yourself apart and encourage a consumer to want to identify with your brand, we can look at your content and your community and go over a few tips and tricks in growing your brand.
Content: Consumers are on search engines and social networks sifting through digital content and seeking knowledge that will help them in making buying decisions. What kind of content would your consumer be interested in? Create content that is human and tells a story. Podcasts, how-tos, infographics, and informational content that is aimed to educate the consumer is highly effective. Think about the customer journey and where they are on it. Share content that your consumers would be interested in as well as create content that has ‘shareable’ potential.
Community: Create forums, offline events, Facebook groups, the list goes on — but the key takeaway is that consumers want to be a part of something. Making them feel like your brand is also a community is an influential way of persuading them to identify with you.
According to McKinsey, peer recommendations generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Your consumer is a major opportunity in building your brand. Loyal consumers are better than a consumer that came back a few times. Loyal consumers don’t just want to buy from your brand, they prefer it. When creating your marketing strategy, think critically about this. What does your brand say about a consumer's personal identity? Another tip to take into consideration is the involvement of ‘influencers’. Reaching out to influencers that are 'on-brand' can put you in front of your target audience with some backing. Influencers who identify with you will help spread that feeling and inspire others to want to identify with your brand as well.
In 2020, placing the consumer at the forefront of your marketing strategy will propel you forward and make you the top choice of your industry. Make the consumer your priority by creating content and a community that they would want to be a part of. The result? A loyal brand following.