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Most important things consumers are looking for from your brand in 2018

By John On:17 January 2018

With 2018 now upon us, we look at five higher order things consumers are expecting from brands in 2018 and beyond.

document 9531 {{More collaboration}} If no man (or woman) is an island, the same applies to brands. While we look after them (as agencies, brand teams and companies) we don’t really own them. They are truly owned by the people who buy them and talk about them. If we are able to let go of the reins just a little and allow consumers into our process, we will see solutions that we could have never dreamed of. When you include consumers in this way and show them you truly value their opinion, you can create true evangelists for life. Get into the habit of listening more, being more curious and not being afraid to include others into your creative or planning process – you’ll be surprised what great outputs you’ll be able to achieve! {{More responsibility}} Let’s face it, brands and companies can get it really wrong sometimes. With quarterly targets hanging over our heads and the never-ending battle for market share, whether defending or attacking, we can forget that our brands do not exist in a vacuum. They originate within our society and are a drain on its resources. Consumers are increasingly expecting brands to be cognizant of this fact and act accordingly. It’s not just about not doing the wrong thing, it’s also about doing the right thing first. {{Innovation with a purpose}} We know that people love innovation. The idea that a brand would break new ground or achieve something amazing, just to meet their needs is so appealing. Innovation goes wrong though, when it feels like it’s purely for the sake of innovation. It’s all about how you spin it for your consumer. If it’s not meeting a real need that they have, it feels like just another attempt at money-grabbing. In our experience, consumers really dislike it when they feel they are simply paying a premium for a ‘pack upgrade’ or ‘design refresh’. Or, that something like a pack upgrade indicates an inevitable price increase in the coming months. {{Show consumers your real benefit}} Monetary value is one thing, but consumers want to know what the real benefit to them is for choosing to buy your brand. We know as brand custodians that we can’t always compete simply on price. It’s somewhat of a return to ‘marketing 101’ where consumers are looking for clear indications of what you are able to do better, cheaper, faster or in fact, pick any word ending in ‘-er’. With a market that faces ever increasing competition with new brands constantly entering, we have to show our consumers what we are doing for them. Tell a good story well and most importantly – be honest. This leads us to our final point. {{Honesty}} Consumers see through us. They know our tricks and they know the rules of the game. There’s nowhere to hide anymore and transparency is here to stay. We know that we can’t necessarily change internal processes, as branding and marketing teams, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be communicating about them honestly. It’s something consumers expect and appreciate. As far back as 2011, the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia exhorted consumers not to buy their jackets, unless they really needed to. Is your brand brave enough to find where this stance might be for you? Now that we’ve reached a new era of brand access and interactions between brands and consumers, we need to think about how our brands interact with people in new ways. At IGI, we find the best way is to imagine your brand as a person, interacting with other people. If what you’re doing or what you’re saying is not the kind of thing you would say to other people – you need to reassess what you’re doing. If your brand is now a ‘person’, in 2018 – they better act like a good one! {{Mugiejor A}}

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