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Tătaru Maria, IAA Romania Young Professionals Member Marketing

Customers and brands - A relationship based on elements of value

Living in today’s fast-paced world, full of opportunities, gives us the perception that time is insufficient to do everything we want. And, most often, it is. In this context, how do brands manage to gain our attention and our time? How do they succeed in gaining a place in our minds and hearts?

Our needs are in a state of permanent change and are diversifying at a growing rate. We take daily decisions to fulfill our desires and needs. But how many? Approximately 35,000 decisions per day, according to researchers at Cornell University. But on what do we rely when we choose and decide?

In general, we evaluate the products and services based on price and perceived value (Does it help fulfill our needs; How fast?; How much effort is required ?). Companies tend to focus on managing their prices to attract customers because prices are easier to understand and manage. However, gaining customers through a price competition is not beneficial in the long run, neither for the company nor for its customers. The perceived value of a brand is harder to define and measure. However, this is essential when it comes to improving offers, products or services, or to develop new ones. So, what do consumers value?

Currently, in an interconnected digital world, where the communication between brands and clients has become bi-directional, almost all of a company’s actions are marketing efforts. From online and offline communication to sales or customer care, all of them have an impact on the brand’s image, allowing companies to build a closer relationship with their customers through dialogue. And, because most of our decisions are based on emotions and we take them according to how we feel, the details make the difference. A framework must be built to facilitate the customers’ individual connection with the company's mission, and the details must be closely related to it and the company's values. The company mission and brand personality must be incorporated into all its actions to build a closer relationship with its customers, to make them loyal and create an authentic experience.

Bain is a recognized global consulting company and they have built a four-level hierarchy of elements that influences the customer’s perceived value, taking into consideration Maslow's pyramid of needs. Each level addresses one of four types of needs: functional, emotional, life changing and social impact.

In the right combination, these elements have an impact on customer loyalty, increasing their interest in brand testing and sales growth.

Their relevance in the consumer life depends on the industry in which the company operates and the culture and demographic data of the group. Customers become loyal to brands when companies manage to have a positive impact on their lives and succeeds in creating an emotional connection. However, it is hard to have a high score on all 30 elements. That is why it must be chosen carefully. Among the companies analyzed by Bain, the company that obtained a high score on more than 10 elements of value was, obviously, Apple: 11/30.

Here are Bain’s conclusions after an analysis of several companies:

• If a company manages to increase the perceived value for at least 4 items in this hierarchy, customer engagement is positively impacted

  • • There are elements that, regardless of the industry, have a greater impact on the value perceived by customers. For example: quality

• Companies with a good presence in the online environment are preferred by consumers because communication between them is facilitated

  • • Companies that build up more in the emotional area tend to have a higher NPS than companies that better serve their functional needs
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In the case of B2B sales, it’s considered that decisions are taken in a rational and objective manner. In reality, choices are more complex and may be subjective, or even emotional. The hierarchy of elements in this case looks like this:

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A strong organizational culture based on values helps build an emotional connection and long-term relationships with consumers. Values are the basis of human interactions. The same thing should happen between the brand and its community.

Earn the time and attention of your customers by offering them utility and adding value to their lives. Win their hearts through mutual values.

“Marketing is the art of creating a strong loyal tribe”

This article was written by Tătaru Maria, International Advertising Association Young Professionals Member, Romanian Chapter.

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