Reflecting on the Frontline News Story, Crossing the Bridge into New Markets: How to get into a New Market, I couldn’t help but think of my personal experience in my previous life in the Electronics industry some years back. As our article explains, identifying your brand’s humanity is about living and breathing the brand as a marketer to allow the next phases to be successful. Phase 2 and 3 are really mere research and strategy. But Phase 4, creating a human connection, is what really makes the difference in the success of the strategy.
With all the data available about consumer behavior and demographics, pinning down the perfect consumer or the perfect flavor-label-channel combination to be successful is fairly easy for any brand in the same category. Some key differentiators might be the marketing budget or the speed to take action, but we, as an industry, often leave out the most important variable in the equation: the human connection to the brand. In other words, the passion that will drive a single human or a group of humans to buy the product and then promote it organically. That connection with a brand’s humanity starts with the head strategist before funneling through the pipeline until it makes its way into the consumer’s shopping cart. Reflecting on my previous life, I could always see when the most successful markets accepted my product, strategy, and POP materials, and coincidentally when they had a higher market share, because their consumers were in love with the brand; the local product demonstrators were in love with the brand; the merchandisers were in love with the brand; and every person in the pipeline was a die-hard advocate of the brand. Regardless the formal title or label, die-hard fans are human and became brand advocates by having a great experience with the brand in the location where they can actually interact with it, whether at a store, a friend’s house, a festival, en la casa de la abuelita, or a party. You see, the number of times a person physically interacts with a brand is higher outside of the store than media outlets.
Thus, everything, from the changes in consumer behavior to socio-political environments and the global economy, affects how consumers perceive, accept/reject, and use your brand. The one-way message of advertising and social media can really only develop so much awareness and communication. The real commitment happens in the day-to-day interactions consumers have with your brand, especially your brand representatives. A good promotional team makes all the difference because humans can be influenced by humans and converted to a follower or a die-hard fan through exciting or memorable interactions. So, it seems, the question we need to ask ourselves is: does your agency provide the humanity needed to communicate the uniqueness of your brand?