Are consumers too demanding? Or are the demands making us better?
A Sprout Social survey found that people believe businesses can help unify them
53 percent of respondents said they feel connected when a brand’s values align with their own
Are the demands of consumers attainable? Have we found a way to connect and are the expectations reasonable?
The people advantage.
People are hoping for a connection, we buy into brands that align with our own goals, objectives, values and ideals, we feel a great connection when brands meet some of these goals.
As businesses owners grow and adapt more quickly because we are in front of our consumers on a regular basis, listening and responding to conversations and finding more ways to connect online and offline.
We are more divided than ever, connected to be disconnected. While we believe in some things, because of the media reach, we can easily grow support or be a part of a negative perception quite easily, making it more challenging for businesses, brands and people to attach themselves to some causes, that could benefit from the support.
The power advantage
Consumers have more power than ever before, the support, viral sharing and online comments can quickly elevate a brand and build recognition faster than in any other moment in time. The internet is a powerful tool and consumers know how to use it.
... consumers know how to use it. The demands have changed. Once upon a time if a business was closed, the contact was closed, now with online social media channels and chats, consumers are more frequently expecting all day/all night communication options, and when a business cannot deliver, a negative impression can be left.
The power of the customer review
Consumers understand the power of reviews, their opinion can travel far, affect the overall opinion of a business and leave a long lasting positive, and negative, review.
Businesses have to work harder to ensure that every customer has a great experience and are left with a positive opinion before leaving a business interaction, this has provided some exceptional increases in customer service, clarity and transparency.
Not all consumers are choosing a call, a quick faces to face opportunity to resolve an issue or misunderstanding, instead choosing to share their side of the story in reviews, rant pages, and by tagging businesses in their commentary.
The power of advertising
Times have changed, we are in a unique market whereas small brands can be as effective as large businesses with little or no budget. We have access to advertising that is custom designed for us (based on unique identifiers) and more actively helping us transition to a purchase decision. This is great for businesses, now we have the ability to reach our target audience without just 'throwing spaghetti at the wall' and hoping for the best. We now have greater confidence that our money is more accurately targeting our audience.
We have a better understanding of our audience because of the tools available to us now (analytics) making it easier to design communication methods and choose our media based on our consumer profile.
We are overwhelmed by choice and decisions, advertisements are everywhere, making it a challenge to keep pushing the limits and designing communication that will get the attention of our consumers.
We have more platforms and mediums to share our story and try to gain the attention of a consumer that now sees 100s of brands per day. Because of the overwhelming opportunities to advertise and the changing costs, we have to break through in new ways and make our marketing and advertising budget work for a long term strategy, not a quick blitz.
The power of social media
We all have a story and it is easier than ever for us to share our story and connect with our audience, especially with social media. Social media has made the world flatter than it ever was, allowing us to connect across the country, and world, further expanding our potential audience and opportunity for sales.
Being powerful on social media does not mean that with the biggest budget wins, its broken down by who can create the most engaging content, create the most fascinating stories and build a following or viral post.
We are all fighting the algorithms, the changes, flooded platforms and having to work twice as hard to build the same reach. While the budget to be effective may be the same, smaller businesses cannot always hire the talent and utilize the creative resources that large businesses would have access to.
According to a Sprout Social respondents, they wanted to see:
46 percent of consumers are interested in brands’ social good initiatives.
39 percent want to see features on employees.
46 percent want brands to create interactive social content.
37 percent believe brands should share user-generated content.
41 percent feel that brands should create private groups, such as what Peloton has done on Facebook
So what do we do?
At the end end of the day, we are all humans and taking a moment to recognize that businesses are made up of humans as well.
Smaller brands can be more nimble, respond and react to consumers and participate in current events a lot better than large brands, helping smaller brands stay more connected to their audience without waiting for approval from multiple marketing channels.
Businesses can also turn bad reviews into raving fans if handled correctly.
it can be easier for smaller brands to highlight their employees and help connect people to the makers, creators and innovators in the business, showing the people behind the brands - this can be overwhelming and time consuming in a Fortune 500 company.