May 3, 2012

Can Brands Meet the New Consumer Standards?

Chris Stutzman, a principal Forrester Research analyst, puts forth great and provocative thoughts in his recent Ad Age CMO Strategy article that represents a cursory look at the recent 2012 North America Brand Performance Study. (FYI: I’ve checked. This study is not available as it’s part of a longer-term research initiative.) But there are some interesting implications for brands and marketers from just this ‘tease’ from Mr. Stutzman. Here’s my take.

The four traditional key drivers of brand equity still exist…
but consumers have raised the ante across the board.
Brand credibility is now more akin to brand pride, brand leadership is more about “social good,” relevance is really much more narrow vis-à-vis “indispensable value,” and brand uniqueness is attained by “making consumers feel special” per se. Here is where it starts getting really meaty as follows:

There are differentiating “filters” consumers now use as qualifying traits for their
unconditional brand love: Trusted, Remarkable, Unmistakable, and Essential.
I want to elaborate on Essential, as I believe T, R, and U, are part and parcel. You know, sort a like a relationship…long term, that is. How can a brand – a product/service/etc. – become more essential? How can the brand become a meaningful, irreplaceable part of the consumer’s life every day? While ‘essential’ can be achieved through the actual product or service, that’s a little bit of a stretch for some, or the many.

In actuality, the entire brand equity ecosystem needs to be reconstituted via tangible propositions that can quickly flow through these “filters” – right to the consumer’s heart.
So why not consider delivering something of essential value (above and beyond your product/service) that really, truly matters in the long run? While Digital Brand Utility may not be the panacea for all elevated brand equity standards, it is an innovative marketing attribution medium worthy of deep consideration. Digital Brand Utility puts your brand smack dab in the middle of the consumer’s lives unmistakably…and their trusting hands…everyday. Remarkable it can be.

You can read the full article here.