Why You Need to Switch to a Value-Based Brand
At a Tuesdays Together meet up (with the Rising Tide Society), something was said that really resonated with me. There’s been a shift, and a dramatic one at that, in the way we market our businesses.
Twenty years ago, consumers cared more deeply about the quality of the product (or service, but for the sake of not typing product or service a hundred times in this blog we’re going to go with products…) that they’re purchasing, than about who is producing the product. When marketing a business, it was best practice to show off a product, why it was the best, and what makes it different from the competitor’s equivalent product. Consumers wanted to make sure they were getting the best of the best of the product. But then there was a shift.
Now, many consumers care more about the face behind the company, and the customer experience, than they do about the product itself. Maybe this is because the playing field has been more leveled as far as quality of products – to a certain extent. Obviously, if you’re comparing a Louis Vuitton bag to an off-brand bag from Walmart, you’re going to have drastically different quality. But, if you’re comparing a “Made in Michigan” tee from Amazon, to one made by a small locally owned business, chances are – the quality is going to be pretty comparable. Or if you’re buying coffee from two locally owned coffee shops, you can probably get the same quality of coffee at both places, and they’d taste relatively similar. So, what then drives the purchasing decision?
Company values, owner values, and the personality of the brand itself play huge factors in the way we make purchasing decisions today. Many will blame Millennials for this shift in mindset. Recognizing and relating to brand values creates a sense of quality assurance. You know your t-shirt is just a t-shirt, but if the brand you buy it from boasts how they value environmental-friendliness - or that for each tee sold, they’ll donate one to a child in need – that t-shirt becomes more than a t-shirt.
Take TOMS, for example. “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.” Since 2006, the sale of these canvas shoes, while cute, comfortable, and decent quality, has provided more than 86 million pairs of new shoes to children in need (as of September 2018). Can you buy similar shoes from different brands? You bet! TOMS has inspired other companies like Sketchers to start their own charitable line (Bobs), that have the same look and feel as TOMS. But you can get shoes that look pretty much identical to TOMS for about half the price on Amazon… but those shoes aren’t going to help a kid in need. That’s a big part of why TOMS can charge what they do for canvas shoes. Consumers respect and relate to their brand, so they justify the expense. Supporting a company that gives back, that has good core values, that shares their story… those things make us feel good as consumers. We become part of something bigger than ourselves. There is meaning behind our purchase.
Another big factor in purchasing decisions revolves around customer experience. Customer experiences with your business will drive reviews. Reviews play a huge part in driving purchases. 90% of consumers read reviews online before visiting a business. Let’s talk about buying that t-shirt. When you walk into a boutique, you’re greeted with a smiling face. You chat with the owner, who is working behind the cash register, about her reason for starting the business and how she values ethically made t-shirts. As you two are talking, she wraps up your new top in cute boutique-styled packaging. She tells you how she traveled to the factory that produces the clothes she sells and saw how great the working conditions are for the laborers. She walks you to the door and thanks you for your business. She casually mentions that they’re on Facebook, Google, and Yelp and would love if you’d leave a review of your experience. So, you do just that. You hop on Facebook and leave a five-star review, going on and on about awesome the owner was and how great your t-shirt fits. You recommend the business to a friend, who also goes shopping. She has a great experience too, and the cycle continues.
Reviews play a huge factor in purchasing behaviors. It’s not just personal reviews that play a role though. 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal review. When consumers are looking for your business, they’re reading your reviews. They’re looking at what people are saying about not only your products, but also your business, the customer experience, and more.
Has your brand shifted to an experience and value-based marketing strategy? Or are you still marketing primarily your product (or service 😉) qualities? It may be time to reevaluate your marketing strategy.
We’re here to help.