Brand engagement, turning people into ambassadors for your brand, getting them to be social media Johnny Appleseed-s all SEEM like the holy grail in a social media world. Certainly, a marketer should position a brand in that magical way that creates a special “walk on hot coals” kind of love between customer and brand. Right?
Maybe not so right. At the last ARF shopper insights council meeting, OgilvyAction presented sobering statistics that about 40% of brand decisions are made in-store and 30% of category purchases are unplanned. Clearly, shoppers are often going through active decision-making processes where the game is NOT won or lost in the consumer mind but at the point of purchase. This is consistent with my own research from a prior life. So, what heuristics ARE shoppers using?!
The ARF will encourage a public debate about this. Obviously, engaged customers are much more valuable, but actually more sales probably come from consumers/shoppers who are considering you along with other alternatives. How do we balance these effects, reshape marketing objectives, especially in light of an unprecedented economic environment that has changed shopping patterns and preferences for national brands vs. store brands?
Now, we believe the debate needs to include more than consumer branding experts. That is why we have enlisted the help of anthropologists, behavioral economists, cognitive scientists, and shopper insights experts to figure this out. The debate will be center stage at the Advertising Research Foundation Annual conference, “ReThink 2009” on Monday March 30th and continue throughout the three days.
By coming to the annual conference, I think you will leave with a much clearer perspective on how consumer marketing builds predisposition and how shopper marketing can deliver the knockout punch.
Please help start the debate with your comments here and then come to our annual conference to watch the sparks fly.