Whoever gets closer to the customer wins
Table of Contents
Of all the marketing phrases I’ve read, these words from Bernadette Jiwa stuck with me the most. These words in the era of peak internet could not be truer today.
To get into building brands in the 2020s, we should look at how companies built their brands before the internet. This way, we can understand how massively different the game is now, and to better understand the approach being used by young marketers today.
Pre-internet to Web1 era, branding is more controlled and deeply embedded in the marketing process. It is the companies who dictate the narrative around their brand through advertising on TV, print, radio, and early read-only websites. Communication is one-way.
Nowadays, Web2 completely changed the game. The rise of new ways to communicate online has now made it easier for everyday people to talk to the brand about their concerns, questions, and even feedback. The communication is two-way.
The evolving internet also allowed customers to talk to each other about the brand easier than ever before. Back then it could be from friend to a friend or a colleague to a colleague. Nowadays it could be from a stranger sharing information about the brand. It is also easier to access bits about the brand through online reviews, blogs, and even virtual demonstrations of the brand’s product.
The companies have less grip on the narrative, giving the consumers’ thoughts more power.
A repeat of history… but on steroids #
The thought of having less grip on the narrative and more power to the consumer is a repeat of the events that led to the French revolution which (fun fact) inspired the birth of sociology as a field of study.
During the industrial revolution, people started to move from their farms to the cities for better opportunities. The closer distance of people to one another in cities allowed the exchange of ideas and information. People empathized with each other. Their shared experiences formed communities and their pain united them to question the systems in place at the time which ultimately led to the French revolution.
The internet also gave people avenues to exchange ideas and information and be united in support or against something, but unlike the first industrial revolution, it’s more accessible than ever. The internet also made it easier for new brands to enter the market and compete with big companies.
It is anybody’s battlefield now.
Building the august brand #
We know that in this day and age, brand-building is a two-way street. With this, we can now define brand as not a registered trademark or the logo alone but also the associations attached to the trademark. These associations include everything your audience associates with the trademark, their thoughts and opinions about your brand.
To maintain a unique and favorable image and reputation for your brand, you need to understand the people who use your product or service, and how they form their opinions. This way, you can influence the thoughts and opinions they will have about your product or service.
The way to do this is to relentlessly know every moment and aspect of your target audience’s Ask deeper questions like:
Where do they hang out? Virtually and in-person Who do they listen to? The influencers, the thought-leaders, the people they follow What do they believe in? The ideas they subscribe to.
This way, you will know how you can approach your target audiences better and you can be positively present in their lives during the times that matter.
Be in a relentless pursuit of understanding every aspect of customer behavior and preferences. Be relentlessly and legally customer-obsessed so your brand can keep them close.
As your audiences become closer to one another you also have to be closer to them, closer than your nemesis.
Be that brand that resonates with your customers better than your rivals because whoever gets closer to the customer wins.