Knowing what encourages a customer to buy from a company is at the core of any successful marketing strategy. A recent report from Feefo found that one important factor in a customer’s decision-making process was brand values. It found that 74% of all customers consider the brand values of a business before purchasing its products.
The customer reviews platform surveyed 2,000 people and highlighted that customers are paying more and more attention to how companies behave. In fact, it found that customers are now willing to walk away from companies if they don’t like what they see.
Customers are therefore showing they have the confidence they will be able to find what they need elsewhere. So, a company’s brand is consequently one way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, as well as encourage repeat custom, which is so key to a company’s success.
Feefo’s Marketing Director, Keith Povey, says:
“It’s been an incredibly volatile 12 months for businesses, which has seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, some aspects of which will have a long-lasting effect on how buyers think, act and spend. That said, our research shows that for those businesses that are agile and realign their marketing strategies, there are many opportunities to improve brand awareness, perception and loyalty.”
“Those that respond and act with the medium to long term in mind will see greater returns over the next few years than those that see this period as nothing more than a dip, due to external circumstances.”
What do consumers care about?
Bearing that in mind, it is crucial to realise what affects a brand and what customers are increasingly demanding from the companies they purchase goods from. The report found that significant factors consumers take into account include:
- Brands being passionate about the products or services they sell (34%).
- Sustainability ethics (33%).
- Transparency (33%).
The report goes on to claim that brands are able to influence a customer’s decision-making by leading the narrative between them. That means offering more choice so they can make an informed choice – so, choosing between buying imported or locally-produced goods, for example.
While that choice has always been a possibility (by shopping elsewhere), if a brand provides it they are more likely to gain custom. Customers are loath to have to shop elsewhere due to the disruption of routine and increased effort required.
Vic Heyward, Brand Marketing and Communications Manager at Bright, further underlines why knowing what affects a brand is so vital.
“Understanding what your brand truly stands for should be the motivation behind your core purpose, and brand values should authentically echo this. What’s the point in having a set of values you never live, or worse, never look at again?
“This newer focus on brand accountability for sustainable initiatives can feel daunting for some, especially if you’re not at the forefront of an environmental revolution. For brands like this, taking a step back to reflect on your brand purpose, code of ethics or CSR policy can be an enlightening experience and a way to further engage prospects and employees.”
Ways to promote a brand
Bearing brand accountability in mind, what ways can a company promote its brand in an authentic way? Garnering excellent online reviews is one method that businesses can use to influence customer decision-making.
The report found that 55% of consumers are influenced by such reviews. Additionally, having a good digital experience through a seamless, professional website is key. 38% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides this.
On the flip side, the report also highlighted what can act as a drag on promoting a positive image for a brand. The biggest detractors to a brand are:
- Slow response to inquiries (29%).
- Spam email marketing (29%).
- Annoying advertising (23%).
By minimising these instances and much improving a customer’s online digital experience, it looks like businesses can materially improve their success rate. Damien Fisher of the Fishtank Agency suggests ways to do this:
“Graphic real estate and call-to-action touchpoints are crucial to the customer journey and ultimately deliver on results. The product is good and the price point is enticing — so what will get the consumer over the line?
“When selling online, everyone is time-sensitive and with cyber-crime at an all-time high, visible trust recognition indicators, such as Feefo, are key validators to consumer perception and loyalty. Having chatbots visible 24/7 to answer any consumer queries without moving from page to page, as well as trigger points, such as email/sales numbers, helps deliver buyer confidence as it suggests the online retailer is happy to take calls and values customer satisfaction.”
Interestingly, brands are not often found to be strengthened through celebrity endorsement. Only 12% said if they like a celebrity influencer, it creates a positive view for them. In an age where so much money is poured into influencer marketing, which is now estimated to be worth $5.5bn and growing to $22.3bn by 2023 according to Markets and Markets (2019), that may worry many social marketing managers out there. However, Jonathan Emmins of Amplify believes this creates a great opportunity.
“Disenfranchised from politics, let down by celebrities and questioning brands’ ethics, consumers are looking for heroes who share and champion their values. This presents both an opportunity and a threat for brands as spending is an area where audiences know they can exert influence. Pre-pandemic, this trend was already on the rise, particularly amongst younger consumers.
“Amplify’s Young Blood research that targeted 18-35-year-olds highlighted a paradox where young people’s passion and stance on sustainability meant they aspired to buy Finisterre or Patagonia, even if at this early life stage they could only afford Primark or BooHoo. We’re yet to see whether it’s a temporary or more permanent change but facing the global challenge of the pandemic, consumers are more empathetic, aware of their impact on the world and open to change.”
His interesting comments reflect other important findings in the report. The report’s statistics show that customers do have strong opinions on how companies should behave. 57% of people surveyed admitted they think companies should be socially and environmentally responsible.
The report, therefore, concludes that customers are increasingly demanding ‘transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible’ businesses. As a result, companies need to spend time investing in their brand to ensure it conveys its purpose. Doing so will help consolidate a strong customer relationship which will translate into more sales from repeat business.
Povey concludes: “The report clearly highlights the need, and opportunity, for brands to invest more in defining who they are, what they believe in and how they operate. Effectively communicating this demonstrates how, by giving business to the brand, the customers will be supporting a transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible business. In other words, it is imperative to invest in creating a brand with a purpose.”
Interesting related article: “What is Brand Management?”