Consumers Want Transparency
As shown in a recent study, millennials want brands to be transparent. Its more important to them over politicians and their friends and families. Millennials are socially conscious and aware of the current challenges facing the world and so they want the brands they interact with to be just as aware as them. They want brands to have a goal they can get behind, and a purpose they abide by. In a world full of fake news scandals and data breaches, the younger generation wants more honest interactions. People simply don’t trust most companies. But focusing on social engagement, brand transparency and perhaps even revamping the brand can help change consumer outlook.
Social Engagement and Brand Transparency
Social engagement depends on how much consumers want to interact with your brand. If your brand comes off as impersonal and unapproachable, you might find it hard to connect with your consumers. The best way relate is to know what they want from the companies they purchase from. Brand transparency goes a long way in reaching consumers. Just from the Sprout Social study it’s revealed that consumers want brands to admit mistakes and answer questions. Product pricing was in third, behind 10% of those top two answers. The report shows that taking a human approach to social media rather than using it as another way to promote traditional brand messaging works best. Having actual conversations with clients is especially important. Whether comments are negative or positive they should always receive a response, or acknowledgement. Not only does this personalize the consumer’s experience, but it also shows that you care about the input your brand is receiving.
Taking steps to blend this in with your overall company narrative can make this easier in the long run. If you put forth what your brand stands for and how it evolves as time goes on, then communicating that with customers on social media will be easier. A narrative also helps when you understand your audience. While it is important to create a brand with purpose, know who your audience is and what they will resonate most with. That’s what gaming company, Razer, is so good at and why their social media strategy works. Having a strong narrative not only creates brand loyalty with your consumers, but it also places you as a leader in the community. As a leader of the community, being transparent and socially engaged is the only way to stay on top. This could mean changing your entire brand itself, like how Dominos turned itself around from the lowest ranked to the most popular chain. Or Haagen Dazs’ efforts to remain relevant to a younger consumer base.
Keeping the Customer Happy
If a customer has a poor interaction with a brand on social media, they will turn to another brand that can provide them with better service. Consumers are also more likely to interact with smaller businesses because they believe that they are more authentic than traditional brands. Big brands are aware of this and find that a small business with close customer relations is more of a threat than other established ones. Customers are more forgiving of an independent business, especially if they are upfront about problems through social media or even directly through e-mail. That was the case with direct-to-consumer brands Glossier and Waldo.
Smaller businesses are better able to build the trust that is lacking with major brands. Brandingmag stated in their article that a survey showed 56% of people would be loyal to a transparent brand, and 76% would pay more for their products. People don’t care for brands that put profits at the forefront. They want to know what they are paying for, that includes the company as much as the product. But this means that brands need to also know how and when to communicate with their consumer in order to get the most reward. According to a report, brands tend to be too intrusive. Customers only want to interact with a brand when they initiate the contact, not when it is pushed in their face. This, too, shows authenticity through interactions and understanding the consumer.
Due to data breaches and misuse, consumers are far warier of companies and advertising. This is understandable due to the amount of data available on the average person across the sites used on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that consumers want brands to be more transparent about their practices when they are privy to all consumer data. Consumers simply want to patron companies they can trust, rather than companies that will exploit their money or give them defective products. Poor customer service and an inability to treat customers as individuals can make it seem to the average person that their loyalty is taken for granted. That is why we as marketers must understand our audience along all points of the consumer journey and make sure that they are taken care of. But it is also the responsibility of companies to deliver a product that will satisfy that journey and rectify any issues if the outcome is not positive.