The fundamental relationship between brands and consumers has changed. In a world of unprecedented choice, connectivity and transparency, consumers are demanding more of the brands they buy. Today, brand experiences matter when they have something to offer that consumers can talk about and share with one another. Share-worthy experiences have a life of their own, communicating, narrating, driving participation and haloing back to the brand, affecting brand perceptions and increasing brand value. Yet traditional brand-building tools don’t meet the behaviors of the modern consumer. Brands must find ways to immerse consumers in the brand story and help them find, share, communicate, connect and narrate their positive experiences. If you’re a brand worth sharing, you will be a brand worth buying. Below are 6 significant ways brands must adapt in order to become a brand that truly matters:
1. Manage cultural value to avoid going culturally bankrupt
It’s not new news that consumers want more than just functional benefits from the brands they buy. With the Internet, the consumer has access to a brand’s actions and behaviors, which has led to a rise in consumer preference toward brands they can call their “friends”—brands with values similar to theirs and that operate to a higher standard.
2. Stop being things and become more human
Two cliche statements that are true: People form relationships with people. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. The same holds true when it comes to brands. As consumers are becoming more social and more fragmented, they are demanding authenticity, relevancy and human connection from the brands they buy. This means a brand can no longer be defined by just a pyramid. Brands must embody qualities, ideas and beliefs that are more human – qualities like honesty, a set of guiding values, and having a sense of humor about themselves.
3. Focus on building cultural cachet to build brand equity
Brands must make the conversation interesting before consumers will engage. This means brands must stop interrupting conversations and become a part of their consumer’s culture and conversations – to become beacons for artistic and social pursuits – interacting, collaborating, entertaining or being useful to consumers within their cultural interests and conversations.
Starting to get some ideas? Check back in a couple days for three more ideas that will help you build a brand that matters.