Millward Brown - Shopping: Not About Product or Place, but interaction

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1 Millward Brown: Point of View Shopping: Not About Product or Place, but Interaction Marketers want people to get closer to their brands, but retailers have always owned the direct relationship with shoppers. Retailers diligently research shopper needs, motivations, and behaviors to find ways to improve the experiences of people visiting their stores, but they do this more for their own benefit than for any individual brand (save their own private labels). For brand marketers, influencing a retailer is not an easy thing to do. It feels like inviting yourself to someone elses party. So, as it becomes more and more difficult to get a good return on investments in brand communications, what other options do brands have to influence people as they shop? The good news is that there are indeed many options available. It is a simple matter of Ccile Conar making the most of the very meaning of the word commerce, which Websters defines European Qualitative Manager Millward Brown as social intercourse: interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments. Trading goods, then, is [email protected] about human interaction. To succeed, marketers should focus on leveraging opportunities www.mb-blog.com to directly interact with people. The Clue Train Manifesto made the same point when it From ancient bazaars was published online in April 1999. Written by four experts to todays street on the then-nascent Internet, the Manifesto described the new reality of online communication. Markets are markets, shopping conversations, reads the first of the 95 theses. The malls, and online beauty of that observation resided not only in the way marketplaces, people it predicted the extraordinary rise of social media and renewed interest in word of mouth, but also in its ability like to interact. to remind us of a simple human truth that we had somehow forgotten on this side of the globe: At its core, shopping is a deal between two people. From ancient bazaars to todays street markets, shopping malls, and online marketplaces, people like to interact. Its All About Real and Genuine Human Needs In the thousands of daily face-to-face conversations that our qualitative community has around the world, we get an understanding of the needs, wants, and motivations of shoppers. Across the globe, we have noticed similar forceful trends. As the world becomes more

2 Millward Brown: Point of View Shopping: Not About Product or Place, but Interaction 2 There may be overlooked opportunities to draw shoppers into your brands space, whether thats a section of a store, an aisle or a shelf. globalized, people long to feel at home. As products continue to be produced on an ever-more-massive scale, people yearn for personalization. As our environment becomes more digital and complex, people appreciate personal warmth and engagement. Brands can capitalize on these trends by offering shoppers products and experiences that are personally relevant in an environment thats warm and hospitable. Beware of the Turbulence Zone Create Your Own Store In their book Creating Passion Brands, Helen Edwards and Derek Day define three zones of brand perception: the zones By creating its own store, a brand builds its own ecosystem. of mediation, discovery, and intimacy. The Zone of Intimacy is But more importantly it fully leverages human contact at the place where people are physically interacting with brands: every stage of the shoppers experience: hospitality, care, holding the packages, reading the labels, sniffing, tasting, or engagement, reassurance, confidence, involvement, and touching the product. This is the zone where brand perceptions local proximity. Examples of brands that started trading their and images are most intensely felt, experienced, and built. goods via intermediaries and then created their own stores The authors say that here brand contact is voluntary, sensory, are numerous, including Sony, Apple, Lego, Nike, Nespresso, and direct. The brand is there because the consumer wants Hershey, and Microsoft. it to be, and its sensorial qualities taste, colour, fragrance, feel, sound, weight, atmosphere are strongly perceived and Sometimes only one flagship store is sufficient. The main noted. objective is to create memories. The store has to alter a guests sense of reality through its effect on his or her experience of Of course a brand has control over the sensory qualities of space, time, and matter. It must transform the act of buying the product, but if it is sold through retail intermediaries, it into something much more interesting, thus demonstrating does not have direct interaction with shoppers. Consequently, the real generosity of the brand. a big opportunity to make a real and memorable difference is lost. But theres a solution that has proven to be extremely If you think that only big brands can afford such a privilege, successful: Create a unique shopping environment around there are many alternatives to it, including corners in your brand. This can facilitate the direct interaction that can department stores and mobile kiosks smartly located. These build the virtuous circle of trust that leads to shopper loyalty micro-stores can create a unique brand environment on and profit. a small scale, but more importantly they will make direct interaction possible. The famous Ladure French brand of This shopping environment may be a store in which you macaroons recently decided to sell its products in Orly Airport deliver your brand directly to your customers, but for many in Paris. Designed with the brands tone and style in mind, brands thats not feasible. Even so, there may be overlooked the kiosk actually looks like an 18th century cart, from which opportunities to draw shoppers into your brands space, travelers can select a last-minute gift or a treat to transform whether thats a section of a store, an aisle, or a shelf. their dining experience up in the air. 2010 Millward Brown

3 Millward Brown: Point of View Shopping: Not About Product or Place, but Interaction 3 Add Services Personalization Another successful proposition is to add services on top Consumer help lines are an example of a personalized service, of your current business model that is, provide some but brands can also offer their customers opportunities to additional benefit in a customized way. Product delivery is one personalize their products. Some brands have succeeded in option, and here we have another example from France. In making this a point of difference. On its Web site My M&Ms, Paris, Evian now offers a home delivery service, smartly called the M&M Mars company allows people to not only choose Evian Chez Vous1 or Evian at your home. the color of their candies, but also to create their own tiny messages on them. Other examples include Apple, which Home delivery may not be an innovation per se, but when gives people the chance to engrave a message on their iPods, it comes to bottled water, its a perfect match. Who likes to and the U.S. Postal Service, where individuals can design and purchase bottles of water from the supermarket? Theyre print their own customized postage stamps. heavy to load in your cart, onto the counter, and then into the car (if youre lucky enough to have one). Besides, water is Use Your Voice Carefully often located in the most unattractive place within the store Under ideal circumstances, you are taking great personal care (i.e., close to the storage area). Home delivery may not stop of your valuable customers and enriching their experience people from switching to tap water, but it does add a more in a memorable way. But what happens when something personal touch to the water-shopping experience. goes wrong with your product? Often that is the only time people will have personal interaction with your brand. Dealing Its time to reinvent the way we sell by reinstating with problems effectively is critical to maintaining high levels the indispensable human touch at every corner of of customer satisfaction, and that task can be especially our brands. challenging when it must be handled over the phone. Many other forms of valued-added innovation are possible. Weve all experienced those maddening moments when you In 2006, Nike teamed up with Apple to launch their Nike+ have to make one menu selection after another, hold for the initiative, which was made up of the Nike+iPod sports kit, the next available agent, and listen to a message stating that your nikeplus.com training Web site, Nike Sports Music on iTunes, call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes before as well as apparel and accessories. The kit not only enables users to track their running statistics but, in combination with the training site, allows users to upload their stats and engage with a vast community of runners online. Launching other types of services can be as simple as adding a toll-free number to a package. At Thanksgiving and Christmas time in the United States, Butterball operates the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, which helps close to 100,000 cooks each year with their turkey preparations. The UK company Dyson prints the telephone number of its helpdesk on every one of its vacuum cleaners to make it easy for customers to call for help when they need it. 1 http://www.evianchezvous.com/ 2010 Millward Brown

4 Millward Brown: Point of View Shopping: Not About Product or Place, but Interaction 4 Last Call for Reinvention The call for human touch and interaction is indisputable, and it will deeply redefine the way products are sold. We see it already, and as paradoxical as it may seem, the trend is apparent even in technology.2 Take Amazon, for example. In comparison with physical bookstores, it has a disincarnated relationship with its clients. Yet from the very start, Amazon creatively integrated readers expert comments and peer recommendations into its system, and recontacts customers with new releases or products that may be of interest to them. So what are we waiting for? Its time to reinvent the way we sell by reinstating the indispensable human touch at every corner of our brands delivering the promise, dealing ever getting to speak to a live person. And when the answer with problems, establishing personal contact, and genuinely that person provides sounds too pat and rehearsed and ends looking after people. with were sorry, a moment of truth has been transformed into a moment of pain. Crisis hotlines offer a lesson here: With To read more about shopping and human inter- a tone of voice that is firm and empathetic, they offer people action, visit www.mb-blog.com. assurance that they will be listened to. Tone of voice adds a great deal to a message. It takes a human If you liked Shopping: Not About Product or Place, voice to infuse [words] with deeper meaning, said the poet but Interaction, you might also be interested in: Maya Angelou. So shouldnt voice be the first hiring criteria Putting the Shopper Back Into Marketing for helpline staff, as it is for any presenter on a radio station? Making the Most of the Moment of Truth If you think thats foolish, let me take it one step further. Peter Simpson, founder of First Direct, the first online bank in the Make Friends, Dont Pitch Them UK, puts prospective call center operators through an unusual Are 70 Percent of Brand Decisions Really Taken test. Banking is easy, he says, but talking isnt. So he asks In-store? the applicants, What would you say to a lemon? and hires the ones who are most convincing at appearing to engage in Share this POV: conversation with a piece of fruit. 2 See BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2010 2010 Millward Brown

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