by Chad Nicholson, VP / Business Strategy Director
Brands have a variety of ways to connect with modern consumers, and it's no longer simply about advertising, sponsorships or pushing content that you hope someone sees, engages with, and in a best-case scenario shares with others through social media. Though communications will continue to play a key role, modern brands must also connect with consumers through product, design, experience, and in many cases, their workforce—what we call brand impact levers.
So where will you see the greatest return on your investment? Unless you are one of the fortunate few who have the resources to develop, produce and activate ideas across all brand impact levers, you'll need to place bets.
With the help of Accenture and Jefferies Financial Group, we recently conducted a national survey among 2,851 consumers across five different industries (Apparel, Household Products, Packaged Food, Personal Care & Beauty QSR/Fast Casual) to help answer some of these questions. Of course, it’s not one size fits all. Each category or brand may have its own nuances, but for the sake of this paper, we studied and looked at the data in totality.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the most important brand impact lever is the product or service you are selling. Making sure you are delivering against baseline factors such as quality, reliability, consistency and value is a must. While these may not help win over the consumer, if you don’t deliver then you lose the consumer.
Next, our data suggests you should focus on brand experience. We know this can be delivered in many ways, and in future content pieces, we will dive into more detail regarding how, but for the time being, just know the easier you make it for consumers to experience and interact with your product or service the better.
The third impact area with the largest return on investment is your workforce. Of course, this is easier for brands whose workforce are on the front lies with the consumer (e.g., QSR/Fast Casual, Apparel) but it can be equally important for brands whose workforce isn’t on the front lines. Humanizing your brand and shining a light on your workforce’s passion and knowledge will pay dividends in the future.
Design is where we recommend turning your attention to next. This impact area is where you can start to set yourself apart from competition. The manifestations of your brand brought to life through colors, symbols and cues is an essential step in building brand equity and communicating who you are without ever saying a word.
Communications is still a critical part of connecting your brand with consumers. However, it might also be the most challenging to activate against. Knowing which tactics work best for your category and brand will be critical to getting your consumer to see you as helping rather than intruding.
Jun 03, 2019
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