Consumers have access to so much information that the amount of time spent on pre-purchase research is limited only by interest in the product category itself, or the amount of money they are planning to spend. Yet whilst time spent may be dictated to by level of interest, how they spend that time, the sources of information they turn to and the advice they take, is influenced greatly by the devices they own.
Sustaining brand relevance with the connected consumer
The digitally-empowered consumer behaves very differently to those who are still yet to plug in, and brands have to work hard to catch up. Sustaining brand relevance means an increased focus on the consumer, enhancing and enabling their experience, delivering a consistent experience and message across all media and purchase channels to ensure brand messages are reinforced rather than diluted.
The digital revolution can be likened to a runaway train for some brands. It’s very hard to board now it’s on its way and, even if you have a seat already, it’s a far from comfortable ride with the emergence of new devices – and the ways in which consumers interact with them – acting like yet more unpredictable junctions in the track ahead.
The biggest shift over the past few years has been the smartphone explosion. With approximately 30percent of the world now constantly connected – researching purchases, comparing prices, shopping via mobile and sharing comments with their network and beyond – the implications for brands continue to be huge.
That the Internet has had a dramatic impact on other channels is well known, however this still plays out very differently around the world. In a market like Sweden where more than 9 out of 10 people have access to the Internet, only 31percent of people regard TV ads as influential, whilst almost three-quarters (74 percent) will go online to find out information about a product seen elsewhere. Compare this to Indonesia, where Internet penetration has only reached 16 percent and the majority of Internet access is via a mobile device. Here, TV plays a far larger role, with 96 percent of Indonesian Internet users regarding it as influential – even if they are surfing the Internet on their phone as they watch it. An opportunity exists for brand owners in both of these markets to deliver impactful, integrated campaigns, but it can only be exploited with a sound understanding of which devices consumers use, when, why and how. Constant connectivity has made consumers more vocal than ever before and this wordof- mouth influences decision-making everywhere.
It has never been easier for the connected consumer to report on a bad experience, in real time, whilst feelings are still raw. And these comments, reviews and criticisms have an effect – with 52 percent of people saying that a single negative review will have an impact on how they feel towards a brand. Many brands have learnt that this shift in the balance of power towards the consumer requires an overhaul of marketing approaches, with the flexibility to respond to opportunities – and threats – in real-time a significant driving factor in maintaining a positive reputation.
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, (TNS Global)