Now, more than ever, brand strategy must extend beyond crafting a customer promise and a graphic standards template. Brand strategy experts must engage the consumer where they live and how they shop. Today’s shopper utilizes a sophisticated blend of Internet, mobile device and brick-and-mortar destinations. Trend analysts have coined the term “omni-channel shopping” to describe the phenomenon. But, in reality, shoppers do not think in terms of channels at all. They think in terms of brands. And brands that don’t market their products strategically only create confusion. For instance, it makes no sense when brands and retailers serve up “on-line only” deals. If a Samsung 40” flat screen is 30% off at Best Buy online, the same deal should be available at their brick-and-mortar. Why divide your brand? If a lamp on display at the Restoration Hardware store at the mall, you should be able to purchase it there and take it home. So why are you being redirected to their website and told about a $100 shipping charge? While most retailers and e-tailers are waiting for the customer to adapt to this mad, mad world, some businesses are using analytics to adapt to the customer.
Brands must detect and determine what’s the next best action for their customer through advanced analytics. Is it sending them a promotion? Is it offering them a discount loyalty card? Is it coaxing them to promote your brand via Social Media? The better you understand your consumers shopping patterns and values, the better your brand will speak to them.
Grocery chains are a great example of this. They have used their brand loyalty programs to capture customer analytics. Safeway’s doing a good job of this, as is Kroger. They’re eblasting personalized promotions based upon previous history. If a customer buys organic milk, chances are you’ll want to buy organic fruit. Mining customer data only improves customer loyalty.
Today’s brand strategist must embrace the omni-channel experience as well as the brand’s benefits. Brand strategy is about more than lockups and color palettes. It’s about connecting products to customers. Today more than ever.