BY BRIAN COUCH | MARCH 17, 2021
Word of mouth is the oldest, but still reigning champion of marketing. Convince and Convert reported in 2018 that “83% of people in the US would be more interested in buying a product if it was recommended to them by a friend or family member”. It isn’t new news that consumers value a personal recommendation over all other endorsements when making a purchasing decision.
The Value of a Recommendation
If we value personal recommendations more than anything else when making a decision to buy a product or not, how does brand heritage impact our decision-making process? Is there still value in a brand name? Short answer, yes. A study by Convince and Convert states that prolonged exposure to a brand and its products can eventually win people over even if consumers are skeptical of the advertisements. There is a general consumer assumption that brands don’t have sustained growth or longevity unless there is consistent quality.
If you run a brand with consistent quality and brand heritage you are definitely in a place of strength versus much of your competition. However, brands can’t rest and assume there isn’t a need to evolve with consumer expectations and desires. Nike has done an excellent job of making use of its heritage while continuing to innovate and be a leader in the sports apparel and footwear markets. Innovation and personalization are the keys to continued success.
Personalized Experiences for Consumers
80% of Americans report being more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences according to a 2018 study by Epsilon. As a leader in Experiential Marketing, Soho creates opportunities for consumers to have these one-on-one experiences with our partner brands.
Accenture reported that 48% of people feel frustrated when brands fail to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. Many consumers look at brands as an extension of themselves. Delivering these individual brand experiences not only encourages sharing amongst likeminded peer groups but consumers will adopt the product faster if they have a personal connection to the brand or feel the brand reflects positively on their self-image.
As people return to hybrid and live events, brands will have the opportunity to create lasting memories with consumers that can be told and retold over time.
Stand for Something
Over the past year brands that took an authentic stand around social justice and environmental interests saw consumer loyalty and trial increase. Brand purpose went from a nice-to-have to a deal-breaker. Dazed Media reported in 2020 that 70% of Gen Yers and Gen Zers believe having a point of view is what makes a brand influential. Brands can’t hide behind great product anymore…they must take a stand.
Fashion brands have been early adopters of this mindset. Patagonia released a free, feature length documentary aimed at raising awareness about threats to public land and in partnership with Marcus Rashford, Burberry opened a group of youth centers in Great Britain.
Jordan Anderson says, “The most important thing (for brands) in 2021 will be being a part of the wider conversation-and making sure that they’re speaking with voice that makes sense”.
Build Real Relationships
The relationship between a brand and its customer has never been deeper. Consumers are inviting brands to be a part of their life in a meaningful way. Brands that step up to the plate and engage have the chance to increase sales through organic social/digital posts as well as paid trial generated by word-of-mouth from loyal consumers.
There is much to be gained by getting back out into the market and spending time with current and potential consumers. With the pandemic expected to improve going into the late summer and fall it is exciting to consider getting back out into the world and having meaningful brand engagements.