Monday, May 12, 2014

Brand Managers, Stay Ahead of the Game by Watching the Shifts

Fueled by the ever-growing and expanding technologies and the web, consumers are now ever more involved as companies struggled to build their brand. Does your company understand consumers and their digital behaviors? Are you building brands around major touch points to really drive engagement? As a graduated student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and a former account who had worked on both branding and digital campaigns at OgilvyOne, I suggest marketers to read the following two articles. 

The first Article is iConsumer: Digital Consumers Altering the Value Chain by Ewan Duncan, Eric Hazan, and Kevin Roche from Mckinsey & Company's Insights and Publications. It’s no news that consumers are migrating towards digital, but what are the trends exactly? In their report on the digital consumer behavior released on April, 2013, entitled iConsumer: Digital Consumers Altering the Value Chain, Mckinsey identified six overarching trends in consumer digital behavior. 

The first is a shift in device from PCs to mobile/touch devices. The second observation is that there's been a shift in communication, as consumers are going from voice to data and video(Ex: Vine, Snapchat). The third shift is bundled content is now becoming more and more fragmented. Another shift, albeit not as apparent to consumers, is social shift from growth to monetization. Also, there is been a video shift from programmed to user-driven content. Last, there's been a shift in retail from channel to experience.

Source: iConsumer:Digital Consumers Altering the Value Chain

The second article that brands will find useful is Interbrand's "Branding in the Post-digital world" written by Interbrand’s Global CEO, Jez Frampton. As companies try to build brands in a highly digitized world, it is now evident to marketers that consumers and businesses co-create brands. In addition, consumers leave trails of brand opinions along the way as they go through their purchase decision journey, which will in turn affect the next consumer. The good news is, marketers now have the chance to be present at every touch point along the way. Digital should now be central to all brand building activities, as it is key to reaching and engaging consumers by making it possible to respond quickly. Both online and offline is now one ongoing experience that determines the company’s vitality.

Based on my analysis of the two articles and my observation of working closely with brands, there are three things that need to be implemented for brands:

1. Stay close to consumers - Changes may happen very quickly, be sure to stay close to consumers and invest in discovering insights such as the shifts mentioned in the first article.

2. Invest right - Ensure investments in channels and engagements are aligned with consumer behavioral shifts.

3. Make structural changes - Make changes within the company to align digital efforts.

Changes in the industry will happen very quickly and demand companies to strengthen their capabilities in order to continue to prosper in an all-digital world. Companies should also be investing in understanding shifts in consumer behaviors to build their brands and actions around their consumer understandings. Structural changes within the company should also be made accordingly so that digital efforts can be communicated and aligned across all sectors. When that’s all done, then your brand is ready to go.

Professional Summary
Janice Shieh
M.S. Candidate of Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill, Northwestern University. Double concentration in Brand Strategy and Marketing Analytics. A bit greedy so also on the Digital and Interactive Marketing concentration track. Previously worked at OgilvyOne Taiwan in the Account department. Specializes in Digital Marketing. 
Follow Janice on twitter: @janicew_shieh

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