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Why Stripping Away Traditional Channel Structures is Imperative for Success

Why Stripping Away Traditional Channel Structures is Imperative for Success

Brenda Khumalo

Managing Director Collective ID

BrendaK@collectiveid.co.za

We live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing, so in order to remain relevant it’s imperative to stop “marketing” to people.

Brands should start thinking how they can create an environment in which consumers advocate brands to each other, otherwise known in the traditional sense as “word of mouth”. Thanks to technology becoming an ever-increasing part of our lives, word of mouth has morphed into “word of social media”.

With technology almost always at their fingertips, consumers are moving away from the traditional channel structures of information gathering. Consumers are becoming more in control of what they want, when they want, and how they want it. The reality for marketers is that this principle applies especially to advertisements.

This is why marketers need to gain consumers’ interest via a more personal method of communication.

The question is, “how”?

Goodbye Monologues, Hello Conversations

Consumers have become more multi-functional due to mobile and online content, and brands need to understand this. To adapt to this behaviour different communication channels must be integrated as one, and brands need to speak with the consumer and not to them.

With a more personalized method of communication brands stand a chance to gain and maintain customer relationships.

Another important factor is the consumer journey. Brands that understand how consumers experience the process are better able to target and integrate into consumers’ lives and become more “moment focused”. Increasingly, brands are stripping away the traditional channel structure and filling this gap by understanding consumers to better personalize communication.

It’s also important to remember that the number of adverts consumers are viewing daily are constantly increasing. To combat this, brands can better engage by providing real, up- to-date information that consumers can understand and relate to. By doing so, brands showcase that they are more personal thereby enabling a dialogue with the consumer instead of a monologue.

Connecting with Consumers

A sad but true fact is that a growing group of consumers are spending more time in the digital world than socializing with people face to face. Ironically, consumers are also looking for more meaningful connections when engaging with brands.

Cell phones have become such a part our lives and are more than a mobile device or an attachment.

Cell phones represent an emotional connection where some people are so hooked to this connection that they are constantly checking it during the night instead of getting a good night’s rest. Beyond the extreme, the majority of people, especially millennials,

tend to look at their cell phones immediately when they wake up.

For 71 percent of people, their last activity before they go to bed is to look at their phones. This statistic is significant because it shows that consumers, especially the younger generation, is constantly connected – from morning to night (and even during the night). One of the driving factors is that cell phones are no longer just for communication: ordering food, lifts, getting directions, watching the latest trending video, listening to music – is only a pocket or purse away, whether consumers are at work or at the dinner table.

Shifting Towards Shared Experiences

People are influenced and affected by interactions in the digital world. Stripping away the traditional channel structure allows brands to modify communication methods in a deeper and more personal way. This is why brands need to engage and remind the consumer of who they are. This can be done with strong branding campaigns that are based on collective emotional connections because consumers still want that feeling of engagement and to be connected to one another. Shared experiences are an effective way for brands to achieve this.

Personality is also an important element for a brand, as it can guide the identity of the consumer and what they stand for. A brand’s personality needs to be consistent with that of their audience. With clearly communicated brand personality, consumers can better connect and build a relationship.

Brands that understand how consumers think and act are able to break through the clutter. Being able to really understand the consumer journey enables brands to build customer-centric communication around bespoke customer journeys – as it should be.