Brand loyalty and market shares in decline? For longer?

Loyalty decline, the result of not listening to people


Brand loyalty and market shares in decline? Start rethinking your strategy and business pillars. Nothing is the same, as when you’ve started back in time your business.

Brand loyalty and market shares in decline? Learn Catalina

Catalina is the new-breed of marketing-advertising-digital (platform) agency in the USA. The concept is simple: it connects packaged goods brands and retailers to reach consumers and offer them brand offers and solutions they want. No intermediaries, no old-school techniques.

When you select a relevant ad-offer, they take you from your home to the shop. Now picture this: since Catalina must make a living, they know consumer’s evolving purchase history and individual needs. For more than three-quarters of American shoppers!

There is a startup here in Greece trying to use the same mentality in kiosks (around 14.000 outlets all over the country). But they’re not even close to the sophistication that Catalina employs. Catalina uses statistics of consumers’ preference to create personalized, measurable campaigns that motivate high-value consumers to try new products, increase consumption, and stay loyal to Brands and Retailers.

Big names lose market share. Are you?

Recently, as I was reading in the Ketchum blog, Catalina reported that 90% of leading household goods brands in the US are losing market share. Is it a brand apocalypse? Going through some European statistics (ie. UK car sales, EU B2B manufacturing, even Marine insurance (a more ‘closed’ market)) there is a similar phenomenon.

It has nothing to do with the post-recession effects; it’s a simple disconnect between companies, products, and service organizations to consumer groups and buyers. Something is …broken!

Rework on your company’s pillars

If this true, what can business owners, marketers, and communicators -in any industry- do to help brands not just survive but thrive in this changing landscape? Here are few suggestions (take out two days from the office and think):

  • Revisit your Brand and offering
  • Stand for something purposeful vs. competition
  • Be selective which stars or cash-cows to keep or kill
  • Which product is expensive, which a commodity (low-cost)
  • Select what story and experience you market online
  • Prepare loyalty schemes in all portfolio
  • Revisit your value-exchanges, benefits, service
  • Rethink quality of partners and distributors in B2B
  • Train your team to connect with customers (off-and-online)
  • Rework the customer scripts, content, native ads, events
  • Use influencers and brand ambassadors
  • Train your staff in all functions for customer service

Transform your Marketing & Communication

Hire talent that will prepare you for the “What’s Next”, but give them a strategic business growth brief and monitor every day. No BS, sorry! Get rid of any practice and person that is for old-school/paid media techniques, and rather work on your own media first. Develop a PR activation that combines all of your actions as One Brand, One Experience, One Content narrative.

Stimuli to discuss and share

Tesla in recent years has built its reputation for quality and customer support by communicating with consumers on social media and its own blog. Last year, when Tesla was hit with negative publicity involving a Model-S fire, CEO Elon Musk was quick to address the issue in a blog entry and via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Tesla even published its email correspondence with the Model S owner whose car caught fire (with his permission, of course), so the public might better understand what happened.

Because of this transparency, customers feel like they have a personal relationship with Tesla. A great example of that occurred this week when two Tesla drivers submitted an open letter to Musk via a full-page ad in a Palo Alto, California, newspaper. The letter asked that Tesla make a few changes to its Model S.

Challenge accepted. Not only did Musk personally respond via Twitter, but he also said Tesla would indeed implement some of the suggested changes. If that doesn’t foster brand loyalty, I’m not sure what does. Whether it is effectively communicating its brand mission with consumers or publicly taking a stand against dealerships, Tesla Motors knows how to cultivate brand loyalty.

(source: USA today)

“Every contact we have with a customer, influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”

Work on Trust and Preference

Laugh as much as you want, but the widespread anti-corporate suspicion (no matter how small your company is) might steal sales and word-of-mouth. Bio-products, food, (imported) Chinese re-sold apparel, Services, and even Coaching sessions are not treated with absolute trust by consumer groups. If you want more on these check trust monitors like Edelman barometer, that are published every year.

Show consumers, in these troubled times, that you stand for worthy causes and that your company supports social impact. Don’t fake it as a marketing gimmick. Do it wholeheartedly and put it in your company’s processes (internally and externally). I was amazed recently to see that a big Greek retailer abided to the GRI principles and published their first sustainability report. Do you think that consumers aren’t interested in these things? You’re wrong.

Marketing wisely

Usually, loyalty programs are adapted quicker from affluent consumers (EU average). That doesn’t mean that middle-income won’t react. The contrary. Create value-based offers for segmented audiences.

For example, think changes in family togetherness. Family dinner was that sacred quality time spent together. But, as new household dynamics have emerged, sitting down together for a home-cooked meal is difficult. Instead, many families are getting their quality time today in gameplay, films and sometime soon gameplay on Alexa devices.

Reward customer for engagement

Be flexible. Organizations that can respond to real-time opportunities get the greatest ROI. Some clever copywriting and a tweet can win the day. Don’t simply reward through price-off, or coupons your engaged customer. Increase the value-exchange. Don’t forget, your competitor is one mouse click away.

Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart, self-respect and value-adding exchanges.

So, don’t betray the brand promise; you might be losing more market share and customers.

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